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Chatham's Opening Day Preview

by George Barclay, 06-14-2012

Chatham's Opening Day Preview After 10 months of anticipation, baseball fans can finally break out the gloves, turn on the grill and tune in as the Chatham Anglers take on the Wareham Gatemen Thursday at 7 p.m. For the third consecutive season, Chatham begins its summer campaign with a road game. With a new team, Chatham is eager to rebound from last season's 15-28 record.

"We're looking to have a better start to the season than we did last year," said bullpen coach Mike McMenamin who is now in his second year with the team. "We want to get our guys comfortable swinging the bats and for our team to play good defense. We'll really need the offense because pitchers dominate this league for the first month or so."

In their lone exhibition games of the season, the two teams had markedly different fates. The Anglers fell to the U.S Military All-Stars 1-0 while Wareham defeated the Newport Gulls of the NECBL 6-4.

Since their loss on Monday, the Anglers have used their time wisely. Spending the last two days of practice going over bunting and defensive drills, manager John Schiffner has his team poised for small-ball in the opening game, a style of play characteristic of many Cape League teams. While Chatham's coaching staff does not adhere to the gospel of small-ball, they do not want to take any chances.

"A big part of this league is the running game," said McMenamin. "A lot of teams like to bunt and like to run so with us it's all about getting our guys prepared, especially on the mound."

Right-hander Scott Frazier (Pepperdine) will get the start for the Anglers and make his Cape Cod League debut. Frazier started 15 games for the Waves last season, posting a 7-5 record with 69 strikeouts and a 3.93 ERA. One of the Anglers' more experienced starters, Chatham will look to Frazier to set the tone for the early part of the season.

"We're really looking forward to his first start," said McMenamin. "He's looked very good in his first couple of bullpen sessions. We're hoping to get a solid outing from him."

On offense, the Anglers hope to put runners on-base early and often. Without a bevvy of power, Chatham will try to get production from the top of its lineup, a group of well-disciplined hitters. Infielder Mike Fransoso (Maine) hit .327 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI for the Black Bears this season. Infielder Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) hit .325 with 7 home runs and 37 RBI this spring. Outfielder Tom Bourdon (Boston College) also had a highly effective year in 2012 for the Eagles, batting .324 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. If Fransoso, Pinder and Bourdon can pace Chatham early, the Anglers could score a lot of runs in their opening game.

Chatham's opening game will ultimately come down to a balancing act for the Anglers. Although the Anglers' arms racked up 10 strikeouts in their lone exhibition game, the offense finished with just two hits. In order to defeat Wareham, Schiffner will need both his pitchers and his hitters to have strong performances. If Chatham's offensive output can match its defensive play, the Anglers have a great chance to begin the season in the win column.

For full coverage of Thursday's game, tune in to the play-by-play broadcast twenty minutes before the first pitch.



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