It was a long night at Veteran's Field for the Chatham Anglers and the loyal fanbase that turned out for the Independence Day matchup against the Orleans Firebirds.
Orleans defeated the hapless Anglers, 12-0, thanks in part to stifling pitching, and a lineup that took full advantage of Chatham's defensive struggles.
Winning pitcher Mike Hauschild (Dayton) came into Monday's action for Orleans with a 1.59 ERA. After six shutout innings, the 6'3" righty would see his earned run average dip even lower.
Chatham's starter Dominic Leone (Clemson), one of six Angler pitchers who appeared in the contest, labored through four innings of work, allowing two runs on only one hit. It was the walks, six to be exact, that eventually chased Leone out of the game.
The Fourth of July crowd at Veteran's Field was slow to arrive, but the fans made their presence heard. Loud grumbles greeted the home plate umpire whenever a close call went against the home team.
Leone struggled to find the plate, though he escaped trouble in each of the first three innings. But it was a home run, not a free pass, that finally put Orleans on the scoreboard.
In the top of the fourth, Orleans catcher Matt Koch (Loyola Marymount) broke the scoreless tie with a bomb over the right field fence.
While Leone tried to find his control early, Orleans pitcher Mike Hauschild was pounding the strike zone. The comparison through four innings was remarkable: Hauschild piled up 6 Ks and zero walks, while Leone allowed five walks and five strikeouts.
Anglers lefty Chad Gallagher (Marist) came in to relieve Leone after the starter walked the number nine batter Tarran Senay (NC State) to begin the fifth inning. He was the first of a parade of Chatham relievers manager John Schiffner called upon during the game.
The NC State product gave up back-to-back doubles, allowing two more runs to cross the plate for the Firebirds. It was 3-0 with one out and a runner on second when the next Chatham pitcher entered the game.
Trae Davis (Baylor), who came in for Gallagher, quickly ended the inning with a strikeout and ground out.
The Firebirds were not subdued for long. In the top of the sixth, they plated four runs off of Davis, thanks largely to Jayce Boyd (Florida State), who slapped a three-run double to right field, making the score 7-0 in favor of Orleans.
The inning finally ended when the newest Anglers pitcher, Pat Light (Monmouth), retired cleanup batter Steve Selsky (Arizona) on the first pitch of his appearance.
The seven runs scored by Orleans matched the season high for the third-place Firebirds. In the top of the eighth, a new benchmark would be set.
Chatham southpaw Harry Marino (Williams) was on the mound in the eighth. His last outing was forgettable (three pitches, one hit, one hit batsman), but Marino would fare no better in Monday's contest.
A walk, followed by an error by shortstop Stephen Perez (Miami), set up a seeing-eye grounder that scooted into right field for the eighth Firebirds' run.
Another walk by Marino, the tenth surrendered by Anglers pitching, loaded the bases with no outs. Two singles, a fielder's choice, an error, and one pitcher later, the Firebirds had amassed a 12-run lead.
The three errors committed by Chatham pushed the season total to 40, the most in the CCBL.
Offensively, the Anglers suffered a five-inning baserunner drought. Beginning after the third inning, the Chatham bats went silent. It took until the bottom of the ninth, with fireworks exploding in the sky above center field, for the Anglers' offense to find a spark.
Beau Amaral (UCLA) drove a 2-1 pitch from Orleans' Nick Mutz (Western Oklahoma) into left field. Three batters later, the nightmarish game was over.
It had been a decade since the baseball team from Chatham had lost a game by more than 10 runs. That stat may speak as much to Chatham's past dominance as to the ugliness of Monday's game.
One thing is for sure, the Anglers' players must prove that they have extremely short memories if they intend to halt their recent losing streak.
The Y-D Red Sox come to Veteran's Field Tuesday night. First pitch is at 7 p.m. ET.