Anglers Stun Orleans In Triumphant Comeback Win
With a continuous mist to go along with high winds and frigid cold weather in Orleans, it took the Anglers a while to heat up in a matchup against the Firebirds on Father's Day.
The Orleans bats built up a solid lead early on. A run scored in both the first and second innings was followed by a Michael Olt solo blast in the third inning off Chatham starter Shawn Tolleson that made it 3-0 Firebirds. That lead doubled to 6-0 in the fourth capped off by a Jaren Matthews 2-RBI double with the bases loaded.
Chatham finally got on the board in the fifth when Tom Belza scored his team-leading eighth run off a Matt Perry RBI single.
The game then moved quickly as neither team could create many opportunities thanks to excellent relief pitching by Chatham's Kevin Scanlan and Firebirds righty Brett Weibley.
An RBI sacrifice fly by Jeremy Gould scored Michael Olt for the second time to extend the Anglers deficit to 7-1 entering the top of the eighth inning.
It appeared that the Anglers were human in Orleans and that a loss would be added to their fantastic 6-1 record against a streaking Firebirds team that had won three straight. This Anglers team does not quit though and comeback victories have become the norm, but down 6 runs with two innings to go'
The Anglers began their comeback quest with four consecutive hits to lead off the visiting eighth inning. Steven Brooks, Tyler Rahmatulla, and Jeff Schaus all scored after base hits and Nick Schwaner also ended up crossing home soon after his 2-RBI double. Suddenly the Anglers were back in the ballgame trailing 7-5 with the bases loaded in the eighth. A Perry strikeout and a Brooks groundout put an end to their comeback bid in the inning but there would be more to follow in the ninth.
A Tyler Rahmatulla groundout to lead off the ninth left Chatham with just two outs left to tack on at least two runs to extend the game. Another hit barrage began with a Jeff Schaus single followed by three more singles from Schwaner, Matt Duffy, and Whit Merrifield that made it 7-6 with the bases juiced for Brian Harris. Harris, the team's smallest player listed at 5'9, has spent countless hours working with new Assistant Coach David Miller in the batting cages and this was the ideal situation to show off his new approach at the plate.
Harris gave Daniel Ottone's pitch a ride out into deep left field that cleared the fence with ease. The sweet stroke was everything Chatham needed and more as they suddenly took a 10-7 lead. The Harris grandslam ignited the Anglers players who were jumping up and down in excitement celebrating their epic climb back into the game.
Chatham still needed to record three outs in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the comeback win and Vanderbilt's Taylor Hill did just that. With the win, the Anglers improve their league-best record to 7-1.
Hill pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth to improve to 2-0. Firebirds closer Daniel Ottone was charged with a blown save and took the loss.
Chatham takes their show on the road again on Tuesday night for a 5PM battle with the Brewster Whitecaps. Anglers Extra Pregame kicks off at 4:40PM with a preview of the game and The Manager's Show as well as the Catch of The Day segment.