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Hyannis dominates Chatham early, A’s fall 11-0 via run-rule

by Cooper Andrews
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hyannis dominates Chatham early, A’s fall 11-0 via run-rule
A violent flip of the hips from Zach Yorke in the lefty batter’s box sealed a victory for Hyannis. It was only the first inning.

Yorke slammed a three-run home run to put the Harbor Hawks up 3-0 over Chatham, which never found the scoreboard. Yet the long ball, allowed by A’s starter Jacob Weaver (Austin Peay), wasn’t the concern for first-year manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger.

“It’s not the home run that kills you,” Sheetinger said postgame, “it’s the two walks before it.”

Miscues flooded the box score for Chatham (2-2, East) Tuesday in its 11-0 road loss at the hands of Hyannis (4-0, West). Anglers pitchers issued seven walks. Their hitters only took two. Three errors were committed. There was traffic on the basepaths, but nothing to show for it. They were the ingredients for a lopsided scoreline, and the A’s were just another victim of Hyannis’ early reign in the 2024 Cape Cod Baseball League season.

“Man, they’re definitely riding a heater right now,” Sheetinger said of the Harbor Hawks. “They’re certainly feeling confident about themselves and rightly so.”

Chatham entered McKeon Park with a daunting task — facing a team which led the CCBL in nearly every statistical category through three contests.

The Harbor Hawks had put together a sizzling team slash line — batting .297 and slugging .374 with an on-base percentage of .416. Their combined OPS (.790) sat at 71 points higher than the next closest team (Bourne) heading into Tuesday. To add insult to injury, Hyannis only let in five runs during the span and totaled the best run differential in the Cape (+20).

Since he arrived in Chatham, Sheetinger has repeated the sentiment that he doesn’t care who he plays. His guys treat every game the same way. No extra attention. No fear. No limits.

“Any given day, anyone can win,” Chatham right-handed pitcher Titan Hayes (Austin Peay) said on the Anglers Extra Postgame Show, echoing Sheetinger’s mindset. “It’s the best competition in the U.S. right now.”

Still, the Harbor Hawks’ buzzsaw generated as much steam as possible.

“They set a tone,” Sheetinger said of Hyannis. “And we were playing catch-up the rest of the ballgame.”

The Anglers were on the wrong side of run-rule territory within four innings. Hyannis starter Ryan Dromboski tossed a scoreless gem through 3.2 frames, striking out four. All while Chatham couldn’t limit the damage on the defensive side.

Sheetinger said that Weaver struggled to locate his off-speed pitches. His outing lasted two full innings, in which he allowed five earned runs off four hits. The opening frame was where the most damage was done against him, though. Weaver let up a pair of walks and Yorke handled the rest — putting Hyannis up 3-0.

Chatham initially responded in the top of the second, though, via back-to-back singles from Aiva Arquette (Washington) and Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh). Will Gasparino (Texas) stepped to the dish with no outs and a pristine chance. Yet disaster struck. He hit a dribbler to the mound, Dromboski threw Cantwell out at second base and Eric Snow gunned down Arquette at home for a double play. A Ty Dalley (Mercer) groundout ended the opportunity for good.

The bottom half of the second saw Hyannis plate two more runs off a sacrifice fly and a Weaver wild pitch. After just two innings, Chatham trailed 5-0. And its deficit continued to snowball.

A scoreless third inning was followed by a difficult fourth. Hyannis left no doubt. Chatham gave up five runs, while only one was earned. The Harbor Hawks displayed their prowess finding the bags, taking three walks from Tanner Franklin (Kennesaw State) and using a Cantwell error to load the bases with two outs. Jon Jon Gazdar ripped a two-RBI double into left, and Zach Yorke drilled a two-run single to cap off the inning.

Just like that, the Anglers were down 10-0 entering the fifth.

“You start to recognize those moments where if you give free bases away, really good teams find ways to make you pay for it,” Sheetinger said.

Chatham went down one-two-three in the top half to Hyannis reliever Steve Solorzano, even with the seven-inning run-rule looming.

The A’s mistakes piled up as the Harbor Hawks impending victory grew clearer. With runners on first and second and Titan Hayes (Austin Peay) on the mound, Gazdar trickled a ground ball to Kyle Lodise (Georgia Tech) at shortstop. Lodise stepped on second with ease for one out, but his throw to first squeaked under Cantwell’s legs.

Lodise’s error caused Parker Brosius to round home and put Hyannis up 11-0. The A’s were left in desperation mode in the seventh inning, needing two runs to make sure they didn’t lose due to the run-rule.

However, Gasparino and Dalley suffered two straight strikeouts to start the frame. Back-to-back knocks from Campbell Smithwick (Ole Miss) and Lodise gave the A’s one last gasp, though Ike Irish (Auburn) struck out looking to Hyannis’ Jacob Moore to end the game prematurely.

The loss sets the stage for Chatham’s first true response to adversity under Sheetinger. Tuesday’s result draws no comparisons to its game two loss to Yarmouth-Dennis. But Sheetinger’s tranquility remains intact.

He just hopes to learn, and move on.

“I mean you can’t get lost in the loss, just like you can’t get lost in a win,” Sheetinger said. “You don’t buy a ticket on a rollercoaster and live up and down.”