Anglers escape suicide squeeze, tie Red Sox

SOUTH YARMOUTH -- The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox could not hit Chatham closer R.J. Freure (Pittsburgh) on Wednesday, but it didn’t seem to matter. Freure struck out the first batter he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning, but issued walks to the next three batters.

Then, in a one-out game with the bases loaded in a game tied at 1-1, Luke Waddell (Georgia Tech) surprised many by turning to bunt. Y-D manager Scott Pickler had called for a suicide squeeze.

But on a 1-1 count, the worst possible outcome happened. Waddell popped the ball in the air, Freure lurched forward to snag it out of the air and double up Micah Pries at third base. Unlike Tuesday night when Matthew Dyer hit a game-winning single, the Red Sox could not produce walk-off hit and the unlikely double play ended the game in a 1-1 tie.

First-year Chatham manager Tom Holliday had to rack his brain to remember the last time he coached a game that ended in a tie, barely recalling a game called off in the 11th inning due to rain. Freure didn’t mind the result.

"Better than a loss. Better than a walk," Freure said.

Pickler said he took into account Freure’s statistics at Pittsburgh when calling for the squeeze. Not many people miss bats like Freure, who averaged the second-most strikeouts per nine innings (14.57) in NCAA Div. I at Pittsburgh this spring.

Don’t think this — an early-season game with both teams feeling out their rosters — will be the only time a Y-D batter lays down a bunt this summer.

“I'll do it any time in the season,” Pickler said. “I just thought it was the right thing to do. Kid handles the bat well. I had the confidence he could get it down. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.”

In the low-scoring pitching duel, Chatham starter Kyle Hurt (USC) gave up one run in four innings, then Jeff Belge (St. John’s) pitched four scoreless innings before handing the ball to Freure to end the game.

In five innings, Y-D starting pitcher Brant Hurter (Georgia Tech) had gave up four hits and one run with six strikeouts. Sam Kessler (West Virginia) and Alec Marsh (Arizona State) each pitched two innings of no-hit ball with six combined in relief of Hurter.

The offensive fireworks were scarce Wednesday night, but Anglers shortstop Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington) made the most of his first at-bat.

On the fourth pitch he saw in the third inning, Jones knocked a pitch from Brant Hurter (Georgia Tech) over the right-field fence to tie the game. Later on, he picked up a walk and one of his team’s three stolen bases.

Chatham (0-1-1) fell behind early when, in the second inning, the Red Sox (1-0-1) took advantage of Hurt’s lacking control to score the game’s first run in the second inning. After reaching base on a single, Charlie Concannon (St. Joseph’s) advanced to second on a wild pitch, was moved to third with a sacrifice bunt and scored on a second wild pitch.

Both teams tried to manufacture runs in the later innings on the dreary, overcast night, but neither team managed to get a second player across the plate.

The Red Sox put a scare into the Anglers in the sixth inning, though, when they got their first two batters of the frame on base with a walk and a single. They moved up on a ground-out. Belger walked the next batter to load the bases, but struck out Kale Emshoff after falling behind in the count, 3-0, to get out of the jam.