My first stop on Saturday was at Red Wilson Field where I expected to see a good pitching matchup between Y-D's John Leonard and Chatham's Matt Harvey. That quality matchup never developed as the Red Sox beat the Anglers, 9-4. It didn't take long for Chatham to take advantage of a steady breeze blowing out toward rightfield. Whit Merrifield led off the game with an infield hit and Mike Murray pulled a ball over the fence in right for his first homerun of the year. One out later, Steven Brooks yanked his second of the season over the fence in left-center. Five batters into the game, Y-D found themselves staring at a 3-0 deficit. It didn't happen right away, but it wouldn't take long for the Red Sox to turn things around.
Y-D got three singles in the bottom of the first but came away empty-handed thanks to a well-executed 5-4-3 doubleplay.
Leonard made things uncomfortable for himself in the third when he walked a batter and hit another, before Brooks lined out to left to end the inning.
After giving up four hits through the first two innings, Harvey's luck ran out in the third. After a single, walk and sacrifice to start the frame, Mickey Wiswall singled home Y-D's first run. Another walk loaded the bases for Brian Hernandez who lined a hit to center to tie the game. With runners on the corners, Josh Rutledge drove a ball deep enough to center to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
Y-D doubled their total in the next inning when Harvey hit the leadoff batter and gave up a single. With Blake Kelso attempting to sacrifice the runners along, Harvey bobbled the bunt and the bases were loaded. 5'7" Tyler Hanover then took a Harvey offering out of the ballpark for a grandslam and an 8-3 Y-D lead. Harvey's day was done. His pitching line for the day: 3 IP, 9 H; 2 BB, 1 HBP and 8 runs (7 earned). He is now 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA.
Taylor Hill came on in relief for Chatham and pitched 3 innings of scoreless ball to give his team a chance to get back in the game. The Anglers best chance came in the fifth when they strung together three singles after one out. Y-D went to the bullpen and brought in Greg Peavey. A strikeout and fly ball later, Y-D's five run lead was intact.
Disclosure: I left this game in the seventh inning in order to get to the next game by 7:00. The rest of the game info is taken from the boxscore.
Anglers reliever Parker Bangs' control problems led to another Y-D run in the seventh when he hit Ben McMahan with a pitch before Jonathan Jones doubled. Jones then scored on a wild pitch. Chatham added a run in the ninth on a Joey Terdoslavich single for the 9-4 final.
NOTES: For the 25 or so pitches that I was able to check on a radar gun, Harvey did not hit 90... When Leonard gave up those three hits in the fifth, it cost him a chance to pick up his third win. He only lasted 4.1 innings... Peavey picked up the win and evened his record at 1-1... Chatham centerfielder Addison Johnson robbed Jones of a homerun in the fifth when he leaped and made the catch on a ball that was going over the fence. Johnson caught his foot in the fence for a moment but he was not injured... Until Harvey's bobble, the Anglers had gone 41 innings without an error... Jordan Casas, Y-D's leadoff batter, was 4 for 4 and scored two runs... Wiswall had three hits and is now batting .343... Murray also had three hits, boosting his average to .419. He only has 43 official at-bats and 75 AB's are needed to be placed among the league leaders... There are no distance markers on the outfield fence at Wilson Field... Y-D travels to Orleans this afternoon for an important Eastern division doubleheader beginning at 4:30... Chatham returns home to face Wareham at 5:30.
A quick drive over the back roads brought me to Whitehouse Field where Cotuit's Chad Bell was making his first start since he tossed a no-hitter at Chatham last Sunday. This time, Bell went 7 innings and allowed only 6 hits and one walk while striking out 7, leading the Kettleers to a 4-1 win over the Mariners. The win keeps Cotuit just 2 points behind division leader Wareham.
Harwich starter Mathew Price ran into trouble right away in the first inning. With one out, Zach Cox doubled. Texas' Kevin Keyes singled and his Longhorn teammate, Cameron Rupp, followed with another single to score Cox. Price struck out Tony Plagman and Cory Vaughn to keep the damage to a minimum.
Cotuit added another run in the second when Chris Bisson led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second before stealing third. Bisson scored on a two-out basehit by Zach Cone.
With the help of a doubleplay after a hit in the second, and a pickoff after he hit a batter in the third, Bell faced the minimum nine batters through the first three innings.
The Kettleers added two more in the fourth. With one out, Rico Noel hit a grounder to second. Harwich's Phil Gosselin charged the ball in an attempt to catch the speedy Noel but threw wildly, allowing Noel to reach second. Brandon May then chopped a ball to second. Gosselin fielded the ball cleanly and got May out at first but Noel never stopped running and came all the way around from second without a play being made on him to score Cotuit's third run. Later, Cone singled, stole second, and scored on Cox' second hit of the game. That would end Cotuit's scoring for the night, but with the way Bell was pitching - and with some outstanding outfield defense - it would prove to be more than enough.
Harwich got to Bell in the home half of the fourth when Trent Mummey hit a one-out triple and came home on a single by Gosselin. Gosselin moved to second on a wild pitch but was caught trying to go to third when Connor Powers hit a ball to the shortstop. With Powers on first, Gosselin's baserunning mistake proved costly when Daniel Grovatt singled to left. After Bell walked Stuart Tapley, he faced a bases loaded situation. Marcus Nidiffer then scorched a ball to the gap in left-centerfield. Running at full speed and covering a lot of ground, Cox made a great running catch and ended the Mariners best chance at a big inning.
Mummey led off the sixth with his second triple of the night. He then compounded Harwich's baserunning gaffes when he inexplicably broke for home when Gosselin hit a one-hopper back to Bell. He was tagged out trying to retreat to third and the Mariners had wasted another opportunity.
Harwich's last gasp came in the eighth. With Mike Nesseth having relieved Bell, Mummey reached on an error by Noel. A walk to Gosselin brought the potential tying run to the plate, but Nesseth struck out Powers for the second out. Cotuit outfielders showed their defensive prowess again. Grovatt hit a shot to deep center that looked like it would plate two runs. Jeff Rowland - who had come into the game in the previous inning with Cone moving to right - raced back and with his back to the plate, he reached up and made the catch just before running into the fence in the deepest part of the ballpark.
Fireballer Daniel Tillman came on to close things out in the ninth. After a flyball, and groundout, Tillman struck out Keenan Wiley to earn his second save.
NOTES: Bell is now 3-1 and he lowered his ERA to 1.07 - third best in the league behind teammate Jake Buchanan (0.67) and Brewster's Kyle Blair (0.92)... With the loss, Price falls to 2-1... Harwich remains last in the East with 22 pts... Mummey was the only Mariner with multiple hits in the game... Harwich made three errors... Justin Wright pitched well in relief for Harwich, allowing no hits and just one walk in 3.1 scoreless innings... The defensive plays by Cone and Rowland were GREAT plays... With two hits last night, Cox is now batting .397... Cotuit is 5-1-2 in their last eight games. The Kettleers look to continue their winning ways when they host Bourne at 5:00 today... Harwich will try to put an end to a five game losing streak when they go to Hyannis for a 5:30 start.