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Austin Overn drives in 5 runs, Chatham defeats Falmouth 9-2

by Zak Wolf
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Austin Overn drives in 5 runs, Chatham defeats Falmouth 9-2
Austin Overn went back to the drawing board following an uncharacteristic 0-for-3, three-strikeout performance in Chatham’s 7-4 loss to Brewster.

His timing was off all game, which led to an early exit. Will Gasparino (Texas) replaced Overn (USC) in the top of the fifth inning. When Overn got home, he watched the film of his at-bats. The center fielder observed closely and noticed he was late to a lot of pitches, prompting an adjustment heading into Saturday.

Overn’s shift paid off in a big way as he drove in five runs, the most by any Chatham player this season, helping the Anglers to their fourth win of the season.

“Just figuring out the timing was the main factor,” Overn said.

Overn’s outburst boosted Chatham (4-3, East) to a 9-2 victory over Falmouth (1-6, West) at Veterans field. He blasted a three-run homer in the second inning while knocking in the Anglers’ first five runs as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead. The offense provided starting pitcher Drake George (Lewis-Clark State College) with a hefty cushion to go five scoreless innings as the Commodores never got within less than four following the third inning.

Outside of the 11-0 defeat to Hyannis, Overn has led off each of Chatham’s games this season and to great effect. A three-hit performance in the Anglers’ opening game has been the catalyst for Overn’s usage at the top of the lineup.

The lead-off man went to battle with Falmouth starter Colby Guy in his first at-bat. Overn fouled three straight balls to load the count full. He drove the eighth pitch deep into left field, but Jayson Jones was positioned to make the catch.

Despite the flyout, Overn felt he made solid contact and confidently strode back to the dugout, before blurting a message to manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger:

“I hope I see that pitch again.”

The A’s loaded the bases following Overn’s flyout on two singles and a walk, but back-to-back strikeouts from Aiva Arquete (Washington) and Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh) ended the promising inning, creating an eerily similar feeling to when the Anglers left 11 men on base the previous night.

Yet once Overn got another bite at the apple in the second, he made sure the Anglers weren’t as wasteful. Overn got the pitch he wanted and blasted a 1-0 fastball deep over the left-field fence to put them up 3-0.

“It’s just interesting how the game has a way of coming back around to see if you can make an adjustment and see if you learned your lesson,” Sheetinger said of Overn’s home run. “...I think it was an eye-opening moment for him. The game’s gonna come back for you and it did and he showed up.”

The next time he strode to the plate, Overn wasted no time stepping into the batter's box. A quick half swing in the box was all he needed to set himself as he confidently stared down Falmouth reliever Riley Stanford, who replaced Guy the batter before.

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Overn quickly attacked Stanford. He slapped a first-pitch fastball over shortstop Jaxon Willits into left-center field to score Kyle Lodise (Georgia Tech) and Landon Stripling (Florida), bringing home his fourth and fifth RBIs to provide the Anglers with a 5-0 cushion.

“I haven’t had a five-RBI day in a while so getting that under my belt in the Cape is huge,” Overn said. “Hopefully that swing that I felt today could play out for a while and see how it goes from there.”

Chatham capitalized by scoring in its third frame in a row, increasing its lead to 6-0. John Bay (Austin Peay) reached on his second hit of the night, eventually making his way to third via a steal and an Arquette fielder's choice. A passed ball from Stanford then scored Bay.

The comfortable lead gave George plenty to work with. Sheetinger said the righty “had all four of his pitches going” as he allowed minimal traffic on the base paths. The first trouble he faced came in the top of the fourth.

Jones singled up the middle to load the bases with nobody out. Eventually George locked in. First came a Dylan Carey strikeout followed by a force out at home after Cantwell fielded a grounder at first. Karson Bowen proceeded to chop a ball to Arquette at third who set himself before firing home the third out to escape the jam.

One more inning of work was all George needed as he exited with six strikeouts, just one walk and zero earned runs in five innings.

Following its six runs across three innings, Chatham’s bats were quieted. The Anglers went over three innings without a hit, but Falmouth’s offense was mostly held in check.

The Commodores did get on the board in the sixth. An errant Arquette throw allowed Jones to reach base, then a two-out single from Christian Martin off Tanner Franklin (Kennesaw State) scored their first run.

Franklin trotted out for his third relief inning in the seventh, but Falmouth put runners on first and second with one out. Luke Gaffney chopped a ball to third, which defensive substitute Jett Johnston (Texas A&M) fielded, touching the bag easily, but his attempted throw to first sailed wide of Cantwell as Zion Rose scored.

Two pitches later, Donovan LaSalle drove a fastball into center, but Overn quickly charged it. The centerfielder fired a strike right to Ike Irish (Auburn) at home to tag out Gaffney as Chatham maintained a 6-2 advantage.

The Anglers proceed to put the game to bed the ensuing inning. Gasparino and Irish reached base through a bunt and walk, respectively, putting runners on first and third base for Bay with two outs.

The left fielder fouled the first pitch back, but didn’t spoil the second. He drove a ball deep down the left field line which landed just inside the foul pole. Bay’s second home run of the season put Chatham up 9-2.

Bay may have capped off the win in style, but it all started with Overn at the forefront. Coming off just the second game in which he hadn’t reached base all season, Overn made the necessary changes and it showed in a big way.

“We're trying to get these guys to recognize, you can't be more than who you are. You have to trust who you are and let that play,” Sheetinger said.