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Chatham falls to Bourne 10-3, drops 3rd straight game

by Zak Wolf
Saturday, June 29, 2024

Chatham falls to Bourne 10-3, drops 3rd straight game
Chatham’s first matchup with Bourne on June 17 was unique. The Anglers struck out 19 times and registered just two hits, yet they came out with a 5-1 victory.

Twelve days later, Chatham more than quadrupled its hit total (10), yet its offensive output paled in comparison to the first meeting. An early flurry of three runs in two innings provided some hope for an improved offensive outing. But the Anglers went the final seven innings scoreless, leaving 10 players on base.

Chatham’s (5-8, East) lack of offense once again came back to bite it, falling to Bourne (4-8-1, West) 10-3 for its third straight loss. During its losing streak, the A’s have scored just seven runs, while their opponents have combined for 26. Against the Braves, Chatham produced two hits past the third inning while Bourne’s aggressive baserunning provided key runs.

It didn’t take long for Chatham to produce better at-bats than its 8-2 loss against Yarmouth-Dennis Friday. Austin Overn (USC) started things off with a double into the gap in right field. Jett Johnston (Texas A&M) and Ike Irish (Auburn) both drew walks, with the latter coming on a nine-pitch at-bat.

Despite loading the bases with nobody out, Bourne starter Tucker Novotny limited the damage. John Bay (Austin Peay) popped up behind the plate. Though Aiva Arquette (Washington) drove in the Anglers’ first run with a sacrifice fly, Johnston was caught stealing to end the threat.

The Anglers’ lead didn’t last long. Jack Penney knocked a lead-off single off starter Evan Chrest (Florida State). Ethan Conrad soon put runners on the corners with one out. Conrad then stole second as Campbell Smithwick (Ole Miss) attempted to throw him out, allowing Penney to tie the game. Braden Holcomb knocked in Conrad on the ensuing at-bat to put Bourne in front.

Chrest eventually got out of the inning. He forced Garrett Michel to ground to Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh), who exchanged throws with Kyle Lodise (Georgia Tech) to convert a double play.

For the second straight inning, Chatham threatened. Ashton Larson (LSU) shot a lead-off single the other way, advancing to second on a passed ball with Lodise at the plate. The shortstop seemingly hit a routine grounder to Nick Roselli at second base, but a wicked bounce took the ball into the outfield, allowing Larson to score.

A Cantwell single put runners on first and third, then a Smithwick RBI base knock put the Anglers back in front 3-2. Overn utilized a drag bunt to load the bases with nobody out for the second straight inning, giving the Anglers a chance to blow things open early.

“We did a good job squaring up pitches that were in the zone, as simple as that sounds, (we) just did a good job of seeing pitches,” Chatham manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger said of his team's early offense.

But the Anglers couldn’t capitalize, with Johnston floating a ball to Michel at first, who easily converted a double play on Overn. Irish was struck out looking by Novotny on the ensuing at-bat.

The seesaw continued in the bottom of the third as Chrest allowed Penney and Conrad to reach base. Conrad laced a ground ball to Lodise at short, who couldn’t field it as Penney scored, making it 3-3.

Two straight fly balls to Overn brought home Chris Stanfield as Bourne re-took the lead. The Braves added another run when Clay Grady lofted a ball over the infield.

Bourne didn’t show much power, but its timely hitting along with its four steals was enough. Nine of the Braves’ 10 hits were singles and their first double didn’t come until the bottom of the seventh inning.

The small-ball offense provided a lead for Tyler Fay. The hard-throwing righty entered in relief for Novotny to start the fourth. Outside of an Overn two-out single, Fay breezed through the Anglers’ order.

Chatham brought up the heart of its order in the fifth but gave Fay no trouble. The righty wasted no time getting into his windup, often catching the A’s hitters off guard. Arquette did reach on a single and Larson made solid contact, but it was directed right to Grady.

Sheetinger didn’t attribute Fay’s pace to his dominance. He simply put that he pounded the zone with strikes and got ahead early. Fay rarely allowed hitters to draw two or three balls which afforded him the chance to attack Chatham’s hitters.

“If you don't show up and get your swing off early, you're gonna play in his (Fay’s) hand. He did a great job in commanding the zone,” Sheetinger said.

Garrett Payne (NC State) replaced Chrest for his first appearance of the summer in the bottom of the fifth, tossing a scoreless frame, keeping the A’s deficit at two.

Despite its early flurry, Chatham’s offense remained quiet during the middle innings. Fay pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, fanning five batters and walking one batter.

Sheetinger emphasized postgame that the Anglers need to do a better job of adjusting as the game goes on.

Without recording a hit, Bourne extended its advantage in the bottom of the sixth. Two one-out walks from Payne put men on first and second. Penney chopped a ball to Lodise, firing to Arquette. The second baseman attempted to turn the double play, but his throw took Cantwell off the bag. An error from Lodise the next at-bat brought another run home, putting Chatham behind 6-3.

Chance Cox (Austin Peay) stepped on the mound the next time Bourne came to the plate, but he instantly ran into trouble. A walk to Conrad set the stage for Holcomb to drive him in with a double in the gap. Grady chopped a ball to Lodise. An easy throw to Cantwell produced the second out, but Holcomb didn’t stop at third. He rounded toward home, sliding in safely under Smithwick’s tag.

The aggressive play all but ended Chatham’s hopes of coming back, placing it in a hole for the third straight game. The Anglers dropped their previous two games handily, but their most recent bump against the Braves was their second-largest defeat of the season.

For Sheetinger, the message hasn’t changed. He still trusts his team and knows they're playing hard despite the results not going their way.

“This is part of the league. When it gets you down, it wants to keep you down,” Sheetinger said. “For us, we just got to keep playing our brand of baseball, getting back to some winning ways and turn it around.”