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Game 18 Preview: Chatham at Falmouth

by Cooper Andrews
Saturday, July 06, 2024

Game 18 Preview: Chatham at Falmouth
The Anglers are back on the road following two straight home contests, set for a matchup against Falmouth to begin the weekend. Chatham’s played its best baseball of the year since having two days off from June 30 through July 1, winning each of its last four games.

Most recently, the Anglers won at home 4-2 over Cotuit. Shortstop Aiva Arquette demolished a first-inning two-run homer to left-center field (his second home run of the summer) to put the A’s ahead early. Tyler Kozera (UCF) pitched 4.1 innings in his first start of the season, allowing just one run to set a stable foundation for Chatham’s ensuing victory.

Now the Anglers, who rank tied for second place in the Cape Cod Baseball League’s East Division, square off against Falmouth — which holds the worst record in the West Division. The Commodores are coming off a 7-6 loss to Brewster where the Whitecaps came back from a 6-0 deficit.

Here’s what to know prior to Chatham’s (9-8, East) road matchup at Falmouth (5-12, West) Saturday night:

Probable Starters

Liam Paddack (Gonzaga) will make his third start of the summer for the A’s. Paddack, a 6-foot-4 lefty who played on Chatham in 2023, currently posts a 5.40 ERA across his first two appearances of the year, in which he’s tossed 6.2 innings. He shined on June 20 at Orleans, racking up 5.1 innings of work and K’ing seven Firebird batters while giving up just one run.

For the Commodores, they will trot out Gage Wood in the righty’s first start of the summer. He’s made four appearances with Falmouth this year, boasting a solid 2.25 ERA in eight innings pitched. But his strikeout numbers are impressive. He’s rang 14 batters up, averaging just under two strikeouts per inning.

Chatham Players To Watch

D1 Baseball projects Anglers’ catcher Ike Irish (Auburn) as a top 10 pick in the 2025 MLB Draft. His start to the summer for the A’s was slow yet recently, Irish is showing why he’s so highly-regarded as a prospect.

He nailed his first homer of the summer on July 3 versus Orleans, a towering two-run shot that neared 100 MPH off the bat. Irish’s OPS sat below .700 for much of the season but now, he possesses a .787 OPS with a .286 batting average and 16 hits.

Though, someone who’s slowed down recently is John Bay (Austin Peay). Chatham’s home-run leader (three) has seen his OPS dip from more than 1.000 to .876 over the last week. Bay packs a punch and contains an aggressive mentality in the box. Even through his small slump, he’s still second on the A’s in slugging percentage with .511. It’s only a matter of time before Bay starts sending balls over the fence with consistency again.

Falmouth Players To Watch

The Commodores’ Luke Gaffney garners the most consistent playing time, and is one of their most consistent hitters. He’s accumulated a .328 batting average, knocking 20 hits while driving in 11 runs — the latter two of which are team-highs. Gaffney is mostly a singles hitter, though. Eighteen of his hits have gone for one base, and he’s yet to hit a homer thus far.

Jaxon Willits, however, is Falmouth’s on-base machine. He reaches base at a .518 clip, ranking as the best total on the Commodores. Willits has worked 12 walks along with batting a scintillating .381, which also leads Falmouth. The Oklahoma product is one of the Commodores’ most high-level prospects, as he’s the former No. 2 overall shortstop in the state of Oklahoma and comes off a freshman season where he posted an .888 OPS.

Number To Know: 3

Falmouth has blown the most save opportunities in the CCBL with three. It’s 2-for-5 on save attempts, a rate carried by lefty reliever Parker Coil, who’s 2-for-2. However, Francis Ferguson, Ethan Phillips and Cam Tilly are a combined 0-for-3 in closing chances.

With Chatham’s offense taking new life as of late, it may prove fatal for the Commodores’ bullpen that’s susceptible to collapses. Players like Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh) have delivered late in games consistently over the A’s last three games. There’s not a better team to do damage against late than Falmouth.

Last Time They Played

The Anglers downed the Commodores 9-2 at Veterans Field back on June 22. It was first-year manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger’s first-ever matchup with former Chatham manager John Schiffner, who’s Falmouth’s bench coach.

Bay and Overn each crushed three-run homers to give the A’s a commanding advantage. Overn’s came in the second inning to put Chatham up 3-0, while Bay’s occurred in the eighth for a seven-run Anglers lead. Chatham equaled Falmouth’s hit total with 10, yet the two big blasts created major separation on the scoreboard.