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Game 20 Preview: Chatham at Wareham

by Zak Wolf
Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Game 20 Preview: Chatham at Wareham
Chatham did the improbable last time it took the field. The Anglers came back from a seven-run deficit to defeat Harwich 13-12. They trailed by six heading into the eighth inning before scoring four runs to cut the Mariners’ advantage. Two more scores in the ninth tied the game at 11-11 and forced the game into the 10th inning. A sacrifice fly from Campbell Smithwick (Ole Miss) eventually ended what was a more than four-hour marathon.

“That was one of the ugliest baseball games I've ever been a part of. And also at the same time, one of the most beautiful games I've ever been a part of,” Chatham manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger said postgame.

Following an off-day, Chatham travels to Wareham for the second time this summer. The Anglers defeated the Gatemen on Opening Day via run rule, but since then they’ve won 13 out of their last 17 games. Wareham stands atop the West Division and will provide another test for the A’s.

Here’s everything to know ahead of Chatham’s (10-9, East) showdown with Wareham (13-5-1, West) Tuesday:

Probable Starters

Brian Zeldin (Georgia) is set for his first start of the summer with the Anglers. The right-hander joined Chatham’s roster on June 25 and has made two appearances since, totaling a 1.50 ERA across six innings of work.

He excelled in his last outing, which came on July 2 versus Brewster. Coming on for Karson Ligon (Mississippi State) in relief, Zeldin tossed three scoreless frames with two Ks and just one hit allowed. His performance gave the Anglers’ offense enough leeway to come back from a 1-0 deficit and defeat the Whitecaps 2-1. Zeldin recorded the win for his efforts.

Darin Horn will step on the bump for Wareham. Horn has one CCBL appearance under his belt, where he pitched four scoreless innings. The righty out of Coastal Carolina was dominant, letting up just three hits and walking a single batter. Horn also struck out five batters. With Coastal Carolina, Horn made 38 appearances across his freshman and sophomore seasons but was unavailable this spring due to injury.

Chatham Players To Watch

Smithwick came up clutch for the Anglers Sunday. He didn’t enter until the eighth inning as a defensive replacement for Ike Irish (Auburn) behind the plate. Smithwick helped start the rally in the ninth, drawing a walk to put runners on first and second. He later scored the tying run before coming up clutch in the bottom of the 10th. Smithwick has been an efficient hitter with Chatham this summer, registering nine hits in 30 at-bats and driving in four runs.

John Bay (Austin Peay) was another key component to Chatham’s comeback. Following Smithwick’s walk, Bay came up with runners on first and second and nobody out. He slapped a ball into the gap in right-center field to extend the game. Bay has been one of the best power hitters in the CCBL, totaling a .549 slugging percentage and .959 OPS. His 11 RBIs are tied for second on Chatham.

Wareham Players To Watch

Triston Gray has consistently produced for Wareham this season. Gray leads the Gatemen with three home runs and 15 RBIs this season. He’s struck out just nine times while recording a .821 OPS and a .468 slugging percentage. During the spring with Fresno State, Gray batted .296, hit 10 home runs and drove in 52 runs.

Another efficient hitter for Wareham has been Brandon Summerhill. The center fielder's 20 hits are the most of any Gateman and he’s one of just nine players in the Cape League to reach that mark. Summerhill was a Pac-12 All-Conference selection with Arizona in the spring. He batted .324, recording 18 doubles and 59 RBIs.

Number To Know: .808

Wareham leads the league in OPS at .808. The Gatemen are the only team in the league with an OPS over .800. The next closest team is Hyannis with a .745 OPS. Five Wareham players have an OPS above .800, led by Bobby Boser, who’s .992 OPS is third in the Cape League. The Gatemen hold one of the best offenses in the league, scoring at least six runs in the last four games.

Last Time They Played

Wareham defeated Chatham 9-2 at Veterans Field on June 27. Austin Overn (USC) scored on a passed ball in the first inning, but Wareham went on to score nine of the next 10 runs. Summerhill crushed a grand slam off Pierce George (Alabama) in the second inning to put the Gatemen up for good. Summerhill finished with a game-high six RBIs.

Chatham did produce one more hit than Wareham (nine), but was unable to convert its chances, leaving 10 runners on base. Aiva Arquette recorded an RBI single in the fifth inning to cut Chatham’s deficit to two, but Summerhill doubled in the next frame to make it 6-2. The Gatemen received three more insurance runs late on to seal the win.