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Chatham Battles Orleans at Home in Season Finale

by George Barclay, 08-07-2012

Chatham Battles Orleans at Home in Season Finale In their final home game of the regular season, the Chatham Anglers (20-21-2) return to Veterans Field to take on the Orleans Firebirds (22-21). Chatham currently has 42 points on the season and sits two points behind the Firebirds for third place in the East Division. An Angler victory on Tuesday would give the team a 4-2 record against Orleans and the tiebreaker for the third playoff seed.

"We're playing better lately and you want to be on a good note going into the playoffs," said assistant coach Jay Grenier. "If we win tonight, we end up in third place and we play Y-D. If you're going to advance, you have to play everybody. If that means playing a tough team like Y-D, then so be it. Two or three days ago, we were just trying to get into the playoffs. Everybody's even at this point."

Chatham enters Tuesday coming off a 4-0 win against the Firebirds on Monday night at Eldredge Park. Dominating from the opening frame, the Anglers held Orleans to one hit and tallied ten hits. Chatham jumped out a 2-0 lead in the first inning after a two-run home run by California's Andrew Knapp and tacked on two more runs in the fourth on RBI singles by UCLA's Pat Valaika and Maine's Mike Fransoso. Boston College's Eric Stevens (1-4, 5.16 ERA) thrived in relief (4IP, 0H, 0ER, 2BB, 2K). Assigned to the bullpen in the last few weeks of the season, Stevens turned in one of his best outings of the summer.

"I think it was really important for Eric's confidence," said Grenier. "He's had some struggles. He's an outstanding kid and he works hard. He mentioned to Scott Winterburn that he felt comfortable going into the game last night. So much of this game can be mental. I think he's ready to help us in that role out of the bullpen."

San Diego's Louie Lechich (1-2, 4.71 ERA) will make his sixth start of the summer for the Anglers. Lechich was given a loss in his last start against Y-D on August 1 (2.1IP, 8H, 6ER, 2BB, 1K). In his last three starts, Lechich has given up 12 earned runs in 13 innings.

Darmouth's Kyle Hunter (0-1, 5.56 ERA) is scheduled to start his fifth game of the season for Orleans. Hunter got a no-decision in his most recent appearance against Falmouth on August 2 (2.2IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 3K). Coming on of late, Hunter has surrendered only one earned run in his last four outings.

For live coverage of Tuesday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.