There was a dominant pitching performance in Harwich’s playoff opener, but in a surprise twist, it didn’t belong to a Mariner.
Chatham’s Simon Matthews (Georgetown) struck out 11 in eight shutout innings as Chatham upset the top-seeded Mariners 3-1 in the first game of their best-of-three East semifinal series.
Harwich came in with the best pitching staff in the league – and one of the best of the last decade – but Matthews upstaged his counterpart Hunter Williams (North Carolina). A righthander with a 4.30 ERA, was stunningly dominant. He struck out the side around a walk and a single in the first inning, a sign of things to come. He recorded 24 outs, nearly half by strikeout. Harwich got five hits against him but all were singles.
Making the performance all the more surprising was the fact that Harwich saw Matthews less than a week ago and touched him up for 11 hits and six runs in 5.1 innings. Matthews hadn’t gone more than six innings in a start this summer and hadn’t struck out more than six.
Garrett Whitlock (UAB) hit a little trouble in the ninth but allowed only one run in finishing off Matthews’ gem.
The Chatham offense scored two unearned runs off Williams – the Harwich ace – going up 1-0 when Jake Palomaki (Boston College) scored on a passed ball in the first inning and making it 2-0 on an error in the fifth. Gunnar Troutwine (Wichita State) had an RBI single in the eighth.
Harwich now finds itself one loss from elimination against a team that snuck into the playoffs. The good news for the Mariners is that Williams isn’t the only ace they can trot out. B.J. Myers (West Virginia), who started the all-star game, is scheduled to go in game two against recent Chatham addition Bo Burrup (BYU), who spent most of his summer in the Cal Ripken League with the D.C. Grays.
Bourne 5, Wareham 4
There was an upset in the West, too, as Bourne handed Wareham just its second loss in 10 games with a rally from a 4-1 deficit in the final four innings. The Braves scored single runs in each inning from the sixth to the 10th, with Jake Mangum’s (Mississippi State) RBI single in the 10th capping the comeback and giving the Braves their first lead. Jon Escobar (Holy Cross) finished off the win in emphatic fashion, striking out the side in the bottom of the 10th. He was the last of five relievers who delivered scoreless outings to set the stage for the rally. Willy Yahn (Connecticut), Justin Yurchak (Binghamton) and David MacKinnon (Hartford) also drove in runs for the Braves. Remarkably, the win was Bourne’s first over Wareham this season.
Falmouth 6, Hyannis 0
There was no sign of upset at Arnie Allen Diamond where Falmouth rolled on and Hyannis dropped its ninth straight game. League ERA leader Jeffrey Passantino (Lipscomb) was as good as ever, striking out seven in six scoreless innings. Three relievers pitched an inning each to finish the shutout. Hyannis managed only three hits. J.J. Matijevic (Arizona) led the Falmouth offense, going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Michael Gigliotti (Lipscomb), Deacon Liput (Florida) and Matt McLaughlin (Kansas) also had two hits apiece, with Gigliotti scoring three runs.
Y-D 4, Orleans 2
The Red Sox played from ahead with two runs in the first inning and never trailed in taking the series lead over Orleans. Dillon Persinger (Cal State Fullerton) scored on an error and Brendan Skidmore (Binghamton) had an RBI single in the two-run first inning. Kevin Smith (Maryland) homered in the third – in a battle with Orleans pitcher Kevin Smith – and Joey Thomas (Cincinnati) had an RBI single in the fourth for all the offense Y-D would need. Oliver Jaskie (Michigan) allowed just an unearned run on two hits in 6.2 innings. Calvin Faucher (UC Irvine) earned the save.
What to Watch
Chatham and Bourne get their chance to spring upsets with game twos on their home field. Bourne hosts Wareham at 6, while Chatham gets Harwich at 7.