By Mac Friday
(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)
When Braves right-handed starter Anthony Arguelles took the bump for his first start in Falmouth a little over two weeks ago, he looked lost. The Virginia Tech Hokie allowed four runs to cross on three hits and was bounced after two innings of work.
Oh, what a difference a few weeks can make.
On Saturday night in Chatham, Arguelles pitched a gem, not allowing a hit until his seventh inning of work as the Braves tied with the Anglers 1-1 at Veteran’s Field.
Arguelles’ start didn’t look great at first. The righty walked leadoff hitter Guy Garibay Jr. on four straight pitches and couldn’t locate anything. He made it five straight balls before shortstop Marcus Brown popped up to the infield. Arguelles went on to retire the next 11 hitters before he allowed another walk.
“I was able to go in there and throw all four of my pitches wherever and whenever I wanted for the most part,” Arguelles told Bourne sideline reporter Ethan Frank afterward. “I kept them off balance with those four pitches and just found a way to be successful from there.”
Another leadoff walk looked to slow Arguelles in the sixth, but a 6-3 double play by shortstop Matt Shaw prevented any Chatham hopes of moving a runner into scoring position.
The righty’s luck finally ran out in the seventh against second baseman Roc Riggio. The only pitch Arguelles wants back from Saturday night was a hung breaking ball over the heart of the plate which Riggio hit just over the fence into right-center field.
After first baseman Chris Brito demolished his fifth home run of the season over the scoreboard in left-center, Riggio’s knock was the best possible outcome for Chatham to equalize after being no-hit all the way up to the seventh inning.
One note about Arguelles’ start in particular which played to his strengths was the control of his fastball. A good base for any and all offspeed pitches to play off of, Arguelles had an expert touch on his heater on Saturday.
“I could really put it in any place I wanted,” Arguelles said. “It was up when I wanted it, down when I wanted a ground ball, in or out. It was really effective. It had a lot of good life to it tonight.”
Arguelles was pulled after six and a third innings of work to loud cheers from the home Chatham crowd. He allowed one run on one hit, three walks and struck out six Anglers on 88 pitches.
On the other side, Chatham gave the ball to their ace, lefty Ben Hampton. A top three pitcher in innings and the Cape League leader in strikeouts, Hampton seemed determined to outdo his counterpart.
The lefty dominated against the Bourne Braves, with his only mistake also being a solo home run at the hands of Brito. Out of the four Bourne hits on Saturday, all of the other three were singles, two belonging to Shaw and the other to catcher Tomas Frick.
“Hampton had all of his pitches working,” Braves manager Scott Landers said. “He was busting us in and it didn’t look like we saw too many good ones, but we came out with a tie and found a way to pitch great as well.”
Hampton was hyper-efficient, throwing the first complete nine-inning game on the Cape since Zane Collins of Cotuit did it against Wareham on July 3, 2017. If Chatham scraps its way into the playoffs, Hampton is undoubtedly the Anglers’ ace.
Righty Bryce Cunningham came in for two and two-thirds of relief following Arguelles, his first time coming out of the pen this summer. The Vanderbilt righty permitted two walks in the ninth but finished the contest with an emphatic punchout of first baseman Caden Grice.
The Braves went 3-0-1 with the Anglers across the stretch this summer.
As far as the playoff picture for Bourne, the Braves moved into a tie with the Kettleers for a share of second place, as both sides sit a point back on the Hyannis Harbor Hawks with 47.
After a home game against fourth-place Falmouth on Sunday, the Braves head to Lowell Park for their final regular season contest against the Ketts before the final regular season game at home against Hyannis.