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Weaver's solid start not enough in Chatham's 4-2 loss to Y-D

by Zak Wolf
Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Weaver's solid start not enough in Chatham's 4-2 loss to Y-D
Jacob Weaver had been unhittable through four-plus innings — literally. The tall, lanky right-hander hadn’t allowed a hit to Yarmouth Dennis in the first 15 batters he faced. His off-speed pitches often induced soft contact and often fooled Red Sox hitters.

Y-D entered with one of the most dangerous offenses in the CCBL. It leads the league in home runs (23) while its lineup is littered with elite hitters. Yet Weaver (Austin Peay) easily dispatched them through the first four frames, until Gavin Gallaher stepped to the plate.

Gallaher fell behind 1-2 with Phoenix Call standing on first base. Two straight balls loaded the count prior to three foul tips from Gallaher. The North Carolina product finally got a pitch to hit, driving a ball deep to right-center field. All Ashton Larson (LSU) could do was watch it fly over the fence as Y-D finally broke through.

Weaver’s solid start wasn’t enough as Chatham’s (10-11, East) fell to Y-D (15-6, East) 4-2. The righty kept the Red Sox to one hit across five innings, walking just two batters and striking out three. Yet the Anglers' offense faltered by leaving 14 runners on base. They went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position and struck out 13 total times in their second loss to Y-D this season.

“They’re young, they’re learning, again, those moments are gonna come up again and again,” Chatham manager Jeremy “Sheets” Sheetinger said of his team's missed opportunities. “But you just got to commit to get your best swing off hunting a pitch you can handle.”

Weaver got off to a comfortable start despite going just 2.2 innings in his last appearance. He plunked RJ Austin, the second batter he faced, but got Wehiwa Aloy — the Cape League leader in home runs — to swing and miss. Easton Carmichael soon popped out to end the inning.

Weaver’s confident pitching bled into the second inning. The righty doesn’t have overpowering velocity, with his fastball sitting at 91 MPH. Weaver utilized his sinker and slider to induce weak contact from Y-D’s hitters. Andrew Martinez and Ethan Petry both hit slow choppers to the first and third base sides. To close out the inning, Weaver got Call to bite on a slider in the dirt.

“He saw that there were things that they were hunting that weren't showing up and he was just using his pitch arsenal to his best ability,” Sheetinger said of Weaver.

Chatham looked to make noise following Weaver’s one-two-three frame. Larson drove a double into the right-center field gap, advancing to third on an error. Y-D starter Sean Youngerman walked Kyle Lodise (Georgia Tech) and Luke Cantwell (Pittsburgh) to load the bases with two outs.

Ashton Larson (pictured, No. 44) slides home safely following a wild pitch as one of Chatham's two runs against Y-D / Photograph by Ella Tovey

Austin Overn (USC) came up with a chance to put the Anglers in front, but failed to do so — a common theme throughout the night. Youngerman attacked Overn with high heat, eventually retiring him to keep it scoreless.

Y-D’s dangerous lineup continued to be held in check by Weaver. Charlie Saum drew a full count, yet Weaver forced him into a fly ball prior to a first-pitch pop-up from Drew Burress. The hardest hit ball came from Austin, but his grounder was straight to Aiva Arquette, who stepped on second for the third out.

The Anglers threatened for a second straight inning following Caleb Stelly’s (Louisiana Lafayette) first hit for the team. Stelly swiped second base and took third after a throw into center field. Once again, Chatham couldn’t take advantage. John Bay (Austin Peay) and Larson were Youngerman’s latest strikeout victims as he closed out his outing without allowing a run.

A second three-up, three-down inning from Weaver made way for Y-D’s Pablo Torres to take over on the mound. Torres quickly dispatched the bottom of Chatham’s lineup. Eli Paton (Grand Canyon) and Cantwell each went down looking.

The Red Sox’s offense finally came alive as Gallaher’s two-run shot put them in front. The blast was Weaver’s lone blemish as he closed out the inning with two put-outs in a row.

Micah Ashman (Utah) replaced Weaver in the top of the sixth but couldn’t keep Y-D’s offense off the board. Aloy got on base with an infield single and advanced to second when Ashman was called for a balk. Martinez then drove Aloy in to put Y-D up 3-0.

Chatham plated its first run soon after. Two walks allowed the Anglers to place runners on first and third with Overn up the bat. Y-D pitcher Aiden Moffett threw a wild pitch as Larson scored from third. Caleb Anderson quickly replaced Moffett to face Stelly. Anderson stranded two more Chatham runners as Stelly was caught looking at a full-count breaking ball.

Pierce George (Alabama) tried to keep Y-D at bay, retiring the first two batters he faced. Until Saum, Y-D’s nine-hole hitter, pelted a ball into the trees in left field, making it 4-1.

The Anglers made in-roads again in the top of the seventh but Y-D limited the damage. Ike Irish (Auburn) drilled a ball to first base which Carmichael couldn’t handle. When Arquette bounced a ball to Aloy at shortstop, Irish rounded third base but slipped. Yet Aloy’s throw went awry, scoring Irish.

Anderson kept Y-D’s advantage at two, forcing Larson and Paton to ground out to second base each time.

As it did throughout the night, Chatham drew walks to put multiple runners on. Lodise and Overn earned free bases. Stelly came up representing the tying run and Chatham looked to be aggressive. On a 1-2 count, Overn took off for third but Stelly lined a ball straight to Call at second. Call easily trotted to second, completing a back-breaking double play.

Despite its shortcomings throughout the night, Chatham had a chance to pull off another comeback in the ninth inning. Larson faced Trevor Moore with runners on first and second with one out. The lefty promptly struck out looking, leaving Paton as the Anglers’ last hope. Moore fired a fastball past Paton to put Chatham away for good.

Wednesday marked the halfway point for the season. Sheetinger admitted it crept up on him, but as does every season he added. It’s been a hot and cold start in his first season with Chatham, but Sheetinger remains steadfast on getting the best out of his players. Sheetinger doesn’t lack confidence and he’ll continue to ride that style for the remainder of the summer.

“We really tried to use the front half of learning and letting these guys play and then we're gonna obviously knuckle down and make our playoff push,” Sheetinger said.