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Y-D bats around in 3rd inning to hand Chatham 8-2 loss

by Cooper Andrews
Friday, June 28, 2024

Y-D bats around in 3rd inning to hand Chatham 8-2 loss
Four-hundred foot home runs are a rare feat in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The wood bats, the at times swirling wind and the adjustment to the vast array of top-of-the-line pitchers often keep contact inside the park, or just over the outfield railing.

Much to Chatham’s chagrin, none of those factors mattered to Y-D’s Ethan Petry.

Petry forced a 2-0 count against Anglers’ starter Drake George (Lewis-Clark State College) with runners on first and third base in the third inning. George’s ensuing delivery was a high heater for Petry, who turned his lower half and barreled a towering fly ball. Left fielder Will Gasparino (Texas) didn’t have to turn his head. There was never a doubt.

The 400-foot three-run homer from Petry increased the Red Sox’s lead to 5-1. It capped off a five-run third inning for Yarmouth-Dennis (9-3, East), which never relinquished its advantage to hand Chatham (5-7, East) an 8-2 defeat. The Anglers suffered their second loss in a row to a division leader, first falling to West foe Wareham Thursday and then to Y-D of the East.

“Any lead in this league is really tough to come back from,” Chatham manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger said postgame. “You gotta have quality starts … You’ve gotta have some instant success to try and push back a little bit.”

Stacking quality at-bats is Sheetinger’s persisting message to his A’s squad. Yet Friday against Yarmouth-Dennis, Chatham continually got behind in the count and struck out 12 times. The Anglers were held hitless from the third inning until the eighth, unable to retaliate after the Red Sox batted around in the third frame.

In the first inning, both starting pitchers were in control. Mainly utilizing a blistering sinker, Y-D’s Dylan Vigue forced Austin Overn (USC) into a 4-3 groundout then registered two quick Ks. George found similar success, tossing just 12 pitches and eliciting three outs in the air.

Drake George (Lewis-Clark State College) winds up for a delivery amid Chatham's June 28 contest at Yarmouth-Dennis / Photograph by Ella Tovey

Following a Jayden Davis (Vanderbilt) strikeout to start the second inning, the Anglers’ bats hardly made any noise up until that point. Each time a new Angler forced an out, constant communication spilled throughout the dugout, providing advice to find the one player who could break the early spell.

That player was Ashton Larson (LSU).

Larson nailed a double to right field that one-hopped the wall, putting Chatham in business. Even though Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh) got caught looking at strike three, Gasparino took a page out of Larson’s book.

He pounded a much-needed double into right-center, scoring Larson and giving the Anglers a 1-0 lead. It was Gasparino’s first hit since his Cape League debut plate appearance on June 16 against the Red Sox — where he belted a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning.

Another clean inning for George set up Chatham’s offense in the top of the third. But Vigue went right back to confusing its hitters. The Michigan hurler issued a 1-2-3 frame with all punchouts, increasing the A’s offense’s K total to seven through their first 11 batters.

While Vigue made guys miss, George allowed hard contact. The Red Sox’s bats finally got to George in the bottom of the third.

He let up back-to-back base knocks from Cameron Kim and Will Tippett, with the latter coming on a bunt. Brady Neal drove in Kim off a double into the right-center gap and Easton Carmichael brought Tippett home on an RBI single.

Carmichael’s tally made it 2-1 in favor of the Red Sox, and Petry’s long three-run blast quickly put Chatham down 5-1.

George didn’t shy away from there. The right-hander still managed to throw 4.2 innings with three Ks, keeping Yarmouth-Dennis at bay for all but one deadly inning.

The Anglers, meanwhile, couldn’t create consistent scoring chances versus Vigue. The righty gave up four runs in his first appearance against Wareham. He emphatically responded Friday, though, tossing 5.2 innings of nine-strikeout, one-run ball.

“He’s just a really good arm, man,” Sheetinger said of Vigue. “I know our guys were talking about how his slider was really good, his cutter was really good. He just did a good job of moving the baseball and anytime you’ve got good hitters who are having trouble squaring baseballs up, you’re going to be successful.”

Through six frames, the only inning in which Chatham registered a hit was the second. A new pitcher in Chase Anderson gave it an opportunity to find a rhythm. The A’s had ducks on the pond in the top of the seventh via an Ike Irish (Auburn) walk and a Cantwell hit-by-pitch. Yet Anderson forced Gasparino into a 5-3 groundout, quelling the chance.

Right afterward, Yarmouth-Dennis put Chatham away.

A’s reliever Hayden Murphy (Auburn) faced trouble in the seventh, allowing a single to Carmichael and a double to Petry. Cade McGee stepped to the dish and drew a 3-2 count. On Murphy’s pay-off pitch, McGee pulled a high fly ball to the left-field corner that Jett Johnston (Texas A&M) initially looked to grab, but he was left watching the ball float over the fence.

All of a sudden, Chatham trailed by seven.

John Bay (Austin Peay) answered McGee’s three-run tater, lacing an eighth-inning pinch-hit double to left field. It ended the Anglers’ drought of 20 batters in a row without a hit, which began during the second frame.

Bay later came around to score on a passed ball, cutting Chatham’s deficit to six. At that point, however, unless it was gaudy production, it was simply too little, too late.

Sheetinger said his message postgame was centered around not letting rough outings impact the succeeding game, imploring his guys to wash the stink of defeat off.

“When you lose a couple in a row, you start to let that bleed into the next day’s batting practice and I just want to make sure these guys have enough resolve and hopefully enough maturity to just go, ‘You know what, a day is a day,’” Sheetinger said. “You’ve got to make a conscious decision to not bring the last game with you.”