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Game 16 Preview: Chatham vs. Orleans

by Cooper Andrews
Thursday, July 04, 2024

Game 16 Preview: Chatham vs. Orleans
Independence Day in Chatham kicks off with a parade in the morning, but the nightcap is the Anglers’ second straight matchup against Orleans. The two teams will meet at Veterans Field after Chatham decimated Orleans 12-1 Wednesday in Eldredge Park — clinching the A’s first winning streak of the summer.

As the Cape Cod Baseball League season nears its halfway point, Chatham currently sits at third in the East Division. The Anglers hold a playoff spot with a 7-8 record, which is three games ahead of the Firebirds who are in last place and out of the postseason. A playoff appearance would be Chatham’s first since 2019.

Here’s what to know before Chatham (7-8, East) takes on Orleans (4-11, East) on July 4 at Veterans Field:

Probable Starters

First-year manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger’s squad plans to start Jacob Weaver (Austin Peay) for the third time this season. The righty is 0-2 with a 8.53 ERA through 6.1 innings pitched along with posting a 1.89 WHIP. He did improve from one start to the next. Weaver followed up a June 18 start versus Hyannis where he allowed four earned runs in two innings by striking out two batters with just two earned runs against Harwich on June 24.

Michael Foltz Jr. takes the mound for the Firebirds Thursday. The southpaw from George Washington boasts eye-popping numbers across three games (two starts) with Orleans thus far. Foltz Jr. leads the Firebirds with a 0.00 ERA and has just a 0.62 WHIP — only four hits allowed in 13 innings of work. As part of a Orleans pitching staff that’s given up the fewest runs in the CCBL, Foltz Jr. is among the Firebirds’ headlining hurlers.

Chatham Players To Watch

Eli Paton (Grand Canyon) joined the Anglers’ roster ahead of their matchup Wednesday versus the Firebirds. He slotted into the two-hole in Sheetinger’s batting order for his debut. Paton went 1-for-5 at the dish, highlighted by an RBI single in the seventh inning to give Chatham a 6-1 lead. The infielder enters the summer with the A’s following a very productive spring at GCU. He hit at a .319 clip while bashing eight homers and slugging .509.

Kyle Lodise (Georgia Tech) is primed to make a big impact versus Orleans for the second night in a row. The infielder drilled a bases-clearing double into the right-center field gap in the first inning, which brought three runs around to give Chatham a commanding advantage early. Lodise finished 1-for-3 while taking a pair of walks and driving in a season-best three runs. This summer, Lodise is batting .262 with 11 hits and five RBIs.

Orleans Players To Watch

The Firebirds possess one of the most dangerous bullpens in the Cape. It’s led by Harvard right-hander Sean Matson, who was the 2023 CCBL Most Outstanding Reliever of the Year with Orleans. Matson throws fastballs in the upper 90s along with blistering off-speed pitches. He’s lived up to the hype in his second CCBL season so far, posting a 0.00 ERA across six appearances while striking out seven batters.

Meanwhile, Colin Tuft is one of the Firebirds’ most consistent players at finding the basepaths. His eight walks are tied for first on the team, and his .361 OBP ranks fourth on Orleans. He’s only batting .179 with no homers and one RBI, but the Tulane product still elicits concern when reaching base. Tuft’s four steals lead the Firebirds, who’ve swiped the fewest bags in the CCBL (11).

Number To Know: 28

Chatham has scored the second-fewest runs in the CCBL, totaling 61 through its first 15 contests. However, the Anglers are still a long way from last place. Orleans’ 33 runs scored in the same time frame is the lowest total in the Cape — with a 28-run gap between the ninth and 10th highest-scoring clubs.

For an A’s team which often finds success from their starters on the mound and through their bullpen guys, offense has been tougher to come by. Orleans’ pitching staff poses a major challenge, yet Chatham may not need to plate a litany of runs to notch a victory.

Last Time They Played

In the two clubs’ second meeting of the season, Chatham downed Orleans by 11 runs. The Anglers defeated the Firebirds 2-1 on June 20 in their first game against Orleans in 2024, and made it two wins in a row Wednesday.

Lodise’s three-RBI double capped off a four-run first inning for Chatham — its most run production in the first frame in any game this season. While an efficient five-inning, one-run performance by starter Griffin Herring (LSU) set the Anglers up for success. Ike Irish (Auburn) tattooed a two-run tater in the seventh inning to all but clinch an eventual blowout.