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Peña’s home run teases victory as Chatham falls to Orleans 4-3

by Alexandra Russell, 07-04-2017

Peña’s home run teases victory as Chatham falls to Orleans 4-3

Orleans, Mass. — As the sun set on a warm Fourth of July at Eldredge Park, the Anglers were on the verge of a comeback.

Orleans (14-6) had mounted a lead of four in the first three innings, including a home run from third baseman Jaxx Groshans (Kansas) in the bottom of the third. But Chatham (8-12) would not surrender so easily.

Three relief pitchers from the bullpen kept the chance of victory tangible for the Anglers. Andre Pallante (California — Irvine), Reiss Knehr (Fordham) and Nick Rand (Massachusetts — Lowell) denied the Firebirds over four scoreless innings.

“The bullpen came in and did a really nice job, all three of them,” said manager John Schiffner. “They didn’t give up a run.”

Shortstop Jeremy Peña (Maine) hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning, teasing a Chatham win. But victory fell out of reach as Orleans relief pitcher Brooks Wilson (Stetson) dealt a trio of strikeouts in the last frame.

“I wish we had a little bit more energy in the dugout that last inning,” Schiffner said. “We had three good hitters coming up and we just were flat.”

After five innings yielded no base runners, Jake Palomaki (Boston College) put the Anglers on board in the top of the sixth. Palomaki sent designated hitter Ashton McGee (North Carolina) on a fielder’s choice. 

Orleans starter Logan Gilbert (Stetson) delivered a strong performance on the mound, sinking fifteen Anglers in order and striking out four over five frames.

“Most of the guys face these guys at school - we’re not really facing anything different,” Pena said. “We’re facing our teammates, we’re facing our competition, we’re facing our schools — it’s just that now it’s more of them. Now we’re facing everyone’s best.”

“They’ve been playing hard, [and] they’ve been doing well,” Schiffner said. “They’ll figure it out.”

The Anglers host the Firebirds at Veterans Field Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.