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Arquette’s 3-run blast powers Chatham past Hyannis 5-2, game ends in 5th inning due to fog

by Cooper Andrews
Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Arquette’s 3-run blast powers Chatham past Hyannis 5-2, game ends in 5th inning due to fog
It’s been a long time coming for Aiva Arquette.

The star Washington shortstop entered his first year in the Cape Cod Baseball League with high expectations. He was fresh off a season in which he batted .325, belted 12 home runs and accumulated a .958 OPS. Huskies head coach Jason Kelly even prophesied that Arquette would become one of the best players on the west coast in the coming years.

His first eight contests with Chatham were solid. An average above .300 and 10 hits provided a blueprint for a potential reckoning. Yet Arquette hadn’t tallied an extra-base hit in that span — leaving much to be desired.

That changed Wednesday.

Facing Hyannis starter Luke Nichols, Arquette wasted no time with runners on first and second in the bottom of the third inning. He connected on a first-pitch fastball, driving it well above the center-field fence for his first home run of the summer.

“Extra-base hits are going to come,” Arquette said postgame. “Just keep finding those hits, keep filling those holes and the gaps will eventually come.”

Arquette’s blast put the Anglers up 5-1. It was more than enough of a cushion for a game that ended prematurely.

On a night where Veterans Field was smothered in fog — which caused the game to be called a full contest in the fifth inning — Arquette sifted a ball through the thick steam to put the Harbor Hawks on the ropes early. Pure power from Chatham (5-5, East) carried it to a 5-2 home victory over Hyannis (5-4-1, West) as the Anglers avoided a three-game losing skid. Arquette and John Bay (Austin Peay), each blasted homers through the contest’s first three innings while Chatham’s pitching staff posted clean performances across the board.

Though as fog continued to flood the outfield of Veterans Field, Anglers manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger along with Hyannis skipper Mitch Karraker and the umpiring crew met at home plate following the top of the fifth inning.

Initially, they determined that the game would go under a 15-minute delay. But they eventually regrouped and decided to end the contest, which led Chatham to notch a win.

“It continued to get worse and worse, and the darker it gets and the lower that fog gets,” Sheetinger said of the decision to end the game early. “The biggest concern we all had was safety, you just want to make sure you’re not putting these guys in a position where something bad happens because of (the fog).”

Lefty hurler Griffin Herring (LSU) started for Chatham after being away from the team for more than a week due to participating in the MLB Draft Combine. Herring didn’t have his sharpest stuff early, though. He issued two walks and hit Wallace Clark to load the bags for Hyannis.

Michael Dattalo made Herring pay, floating an RBI single into shallow center field for a 1-0 Harbor Hawks’ advantage. But Herring K’d both Anthony Silva and Nick Groves to end the first frame without allowing severe damage — despite tossing 36 pitches.

Ashton Larson stands at second base in a fog-filled Veterans Field amid Chatham's 5-2 win over Hyannis / Photograph by Ella Tovey

Hyannis’s Nichols put together a drastically different first inning. He struck out Austin Overn (USC) and Ike Irish (Auburn) as part of a perfect frame, and he only needed 11 pitches to do it. Herring answered by giving up just one baserunner in a scoreless top of the second, leaving Bay, the designated hitter, to issue an early equalizer.

Bay, who entered Wednesday as one of two Anglers’ players with an OPS over 1.000, pummeled the third pitch of his first at-bat over the right-field fence. The 376-foot opposite-field shot was Bay’s team-best third homer of the summer, and tied the game at 1-1.

Sheetinger said postgame that the team held a productive meeting prior to the game, which allowed them to make proper adjustments at the dish. The manager saw a difference in his players’ mindset during practice, and it came to fruition versus Hyannis.

“For those guys to be able to get in the batter’s box with a better plan and get their swing off the way they needed to was huge for us,” Sheetinger said.” The ability to hit those balls hard, that stuff’s been building over the last couple weeks and it’s good to see them get rewarded.”

Right-hander Brian Zeldin (Georgia) entered out of the bullpen to start the third, making his Chatham debut. Zeldin gave up a two-out double in the right-center field gap, where Overn appeared to lose the ball in the fog, yet he escaped by striking out Silva for a clean inning.

Overn had no trouble seeing when he charged toward first base to begin the bottom half of the third, however. The center fielder dribbled a slow ground ball to Jon Jon Gazdar at second base, unleashing his speed to beat out a converging Nichols, who couldn’t cover first in time.

A wild pitch from Nichols allowed Overn to coast into second base. Then, Overn trusted his speed once more, flying to third base amid an Irish at-bat for a sliding steal. To add insult to injury, the throw from Hyannis catcher Manny Garza sailed left of the third baseman Clark as Overn galloped home with ease — giving Chatham a 2-1 lead.

The early traffic on the base paths spurred by Overn materialized a four-run third frame for the Anglers, capped off by Arquette’s three-run tater to deep center field.

Meanwhile, Zeldin continued to shove. The Georgia reliever’s SEC talent comfortably translated to the Cape as he racked up five Ks through two innings of work, which kept Hyannis trailing by four runs heading into the fifth. Zeldin allowed a sacrifice fly in the top half to make the score 5-2 Chatham, though Zeldin kept Hyannis’ production to a minimum.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth, a 15-minute fog delay ensued and both sides eventually agreed to call the game early. As awkward of a victory as it may have been, the Anglers got ahead early and were rewarded for it.

“We have been crushing it on every front so far,” Sheetinger said. “This has been such a dynamic group of good dudes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains, sometimes you get fogged out when you’re up 5-2 and you get to get off your feet two hours early.”