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Chatham Shuts Down Harwich 4-2

by George Barclay, 07-13-2012

Chatham Shuts Down Harwich 4-2 The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Chatham won its second game a in a row on Friday night, holding off the first place Harwich Mariners 4-2. In a closely contested game, the Anglers (13-11) were able to come out on top against a Mariner team that would not go away quietly.

"It was a great win," said manager John Schiffner. "We got clutch hits when we needed them and everyone who pitched for us did a great job. I'm really proud of the kids. You can't say enough about this team effort."

Box Score

Game 24: Chatham 4, Harwich 2

San Diego's Michael Wagner (2-1, 1.69 ERA) was given a no-decision for Chatham. Wagner gave up two earned runs in four and a third innings and struck out eight batters. The Torero's only blemishes were an RBI single by second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Villanova) and a solo home run by catcher Brett Austin (NC State). Battling an umpiring crew with an inconsistent strike zone, the sophomore bore down and fought his way through four walks, throwing his fastball, changeup and slider with pinpoint accuracy.

"Michael was very good tonight," said Schiffner. "He battled some adversity. He didn't get a lot of calls. It was a rough strike zone tonight and he battled through it. I'm really proud of the way he handled himself."

Not wanting to overuse Wagner, Schiffner pulled the Las Vegas native in the bottom of the fifth inning after Wagner's pitch count crossed the triple digit mark.

"We had to get Mike out of there," said Schiffner. "He was over 100 pitches in five innings. We don't want to blow an arm up. Mike's not accustomed to going long, so that was enough for him. He worked his butt off tonight."

Hinging on a popular theme this season, the Chatham bullpen clocked in another impressive effort, tossing four and two thirds innings of scoreless relief and recording a combined 10 strikeouts. High Point's Jamie Schultz (1-0, 3.00 ERA) struck out three in one and two thirds innings pitched to earn his first win of the season, Virginia Tech's Jake Joyce (1-0, 3.75 ERA) fanned four in two innings and Louisville's Nick Burdi (0-0, 3.68 ERA) struck out three batters in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. Of all of the Anglers' relievers, Burdi was the flashiest, displaying an improved command of his slider and lighting up the radar guns of the scouts in attendance with an onslaught of fastballs, one of which was clocked at 100 miles per hour.

"Burdi was impressive tonight," said Schiffner. "Very impressive. He came in and he struck out the side. It was a really nice job on his part."

Burdi's battery-mate, Michigan State catcher John Martinez also took note of the six-foot four right-hander's performance.

"With Nick, you have to react very very quickly and trust that he'll put the ball where he says he will," said Martinez. "He's been very good lately at putting the ball where he wants to. The way he was throwing tonight, I commend Harwich's hitters for having the courage to swing. He was really impressive out there."

Yet, while Burdi stole the show, the unsung hero was Martinez behind the plate. After pitching coach Scott Winterburn was ejected in the bottom of the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes, Martinez called every pitch for the remainder of the game.

"Marty knows what to do," said Schiffner. "I could have called the pitches, but I don't know all the signals. I told Marty that he knew what Burn wanted and to go out there and call the game. He did a great job. The pitchers threw the pitches that Marty wanted and it worked."

Elon's David Whitehead (3-2, 3.04 ERA) suffered the loss for the Mariners (16-8), allowing three runs on five hits in four innings of work. While Whitehead sizzled early, recording seven strikeouts through his first three innings on the rubber, the Anglers adjusted to the six-foot five right-hander in their second at-bats against him.

"We took really good at-bats," said Schiffner. "We fouled a lot of balls off on Whitehead and he started to tire a little bit. The guys just bore down and grinded like we always ask them to do."

Harwich also received some help from its bullpen, which conceded one run on one hit in five innings. Four Mariner arms combined to tally 11 strikeouts while only issuing three walks.

Offensively, Chatham scored four runs on six hits. Chatham was led at the plate by right fielder Dale Carey (Miami), Martinez and third baseman Alex Calbick (Maine). Carey went 2 for 4 with an RBI single, Martinez went 1 for 4 with a two-run home run and Calbick went 1 for 4 with an RBI single. In particular, Calbick and Martinez were instrumental in the Anglers' rally producing back-to-back RBI hits in Chatham's three run fourth inning.

"They played the game in that situation," said Schiffner. "Calbick stayed with a pitch like we tell our hitters to and ripped a ball into right field and Marty got a pitch up and drilled it over the left field fence."

For Martinez, the home run was not only his third of the season, but a pregame prediction by a teammate

"You can attribute that home run to Jamie Schultz," said Martinez. "He told me before the game that I would hit one and when I did, he was the first one out of the dugout to celebrate and congratulate me."

The Anglers will try to continue the celebration against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks on Saturday night (8-16) at Veterans Field at 7 p.m. For live coverage, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline.



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