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Fog Interrupts Play, Game With Brewster Suspended

by Mike Morris, 06-28-2011

The Chatham Anglers came to the ballpark Tuesday looking to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Brewster Whitecaps the previous night. Buck Farmer (Georgia Tech) was on the hill for Chatham, throwing against Brewster's Daniel Langfield (Memphis). In a bizarre circumstance, foggy conditions resulted instead in a 0-0 game that was postponed in the fifth inning.

Despite a delayed start due to fog, the game was moving at a blistering pace. Through four plus innings, Farmer and Langfield combined for eight strike outs, and the defenses for each side were crisp.

In fact, the struggling Anglers defense was better than crisp. The top of the first inning saw Chatham's left fielder Justin Leisenheimer (Maine) make back-to-back put outs, one of which was a diving catch that gave the Angler fans something to cheer about early.

In the top of the third, Chatham catcher Sean Reilly (Rollins) made a perfect throw to foil JJ Altobelli's (Oregon) stolen base attempt. Reilly's put out was sandwiched between two Farmer strike outs.

The Anglers' defensive wizardry continued in the top of the fourth inning. After putting a runner on with a hit-by-pitch, Farmer forced Brewster's three-spot hitter Preston Beck (Texas-Arlington) to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Second baseman Joe Sever, a sophomore at Pepperdine, gathered up the hard hit grounder and made a clean feed to shortstop Stephen Perez (Miami), who fired a strike to first to complete the double play.

For Chatham manager John Schiffner, these were all positive signs for a 5-9-1 team that has been hurt by its defensive woes.

"We were playing good baseball. Buck was throwing well. It's a shame that it ended that way," said Schiffner.

The fog that had been hanging over Veterans Field all night interrupted play in the top of the fifth inning. A deep fly ball hit to left field by Brewster's Danny Hayes (Oregon State) was seemingly going to be caught by Leisenheimer, but he lost it in the fog. The ball dropped in for a lead-off double. That was to be the last play of the night, as umpires and managers for both teams met on the infield, deciding to delay the game.

The mandatory 30-minute fog delay turned into a game postponement. Chatham baseball fans are no strangers to fog, and Anglers manager John Schiffner could be classified as a Veterans Field fog expert.

"They [the umpires] figured I might have a little idea about what was going on. So they were relying heavily on my experience," said Schiffner. The Chatham skipper explained that unless the winds shifted, the likelihood of the fog clearing out was minimal.

During the delay, the majority of fans stayed in their seats despite the cool, misty weather. Many of these fans were likely anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winning raffle tickets, but a special form of entertainment was in store for the dedicated crowd in Chatham.

The Anglers bullpen got in on the fog delay antics which have recently become quite popular in baseball. Just minutes after the stoppage of play was announced, a group of Angler players stealthily crept across the field, miming the actions of a sniper team, using bats and baseballs as props. The Brewster Whitecaps responded with an impromptu counterattack, forcing the Anglers to retreat to their own bullpen.

Over the next twenty minutes, two additional routines took place, but the Whitecaps were clearly less enthusiastic about the goofing than the Anglers, who went so far as to use the team golf cart as a makeshift military vehicle. The fog delay shenanigans kept the fans entertained, but there was to be no more baseball on Tuesday night.

When the game resumes, it will pick up exactly where it was stopped, in the top of the fifth, with a runner on second in a scoreless game.

Wednesday night Chatham will host Falmouth at 7 p.m. ET.



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