The Chatham Anglers were looking to avenge Wednesday's loss at Yarmouth-Dennis when the Red Sox visited Veterans Field Saturday night.
Earlier in the week, Y-D stole a 3-2 win from the Anglers, thanks to some shaky Chatham defense and severe thunder storms, which cut short the game in the sixth inning.
The hometown team got out to a quick lead and held it for all nine innings, winning by a final score of 4-2. The Anglers improved to 4-1 against Y-D on the season. Y-D has lost three straight, and with a record of 12-16-3, no longer hold an insurmountable fourth place lead in the standings.
The Anglers (9-20-1) are within striking distance of the Red Sox, who are currently slotted in the last playoff spot in the Eastern Division.
When Chatham's RHP Keith Bilodeau (Miane) climbed on top of the mound to start the first inning, the playoffs were far from his mind. He was totally focused on the task at hand: retiring as many Y-D batters as possible.
Through five innings of work, Bilodeau allowed only one hit, zero runs, and three walks, while striking out seven. The strike zone was large and not always predictable, and the righty from Maine took full advantage, locating his fastball, particularly on the outside corner of the plate, with pinpoint accuracy.
"Bilodeau was outstanding. He battled all night. I am very, very proud of him," praised Chatham's manager John Schiffner.
As the Anglers have been apt to do in recent games, Chatham got off to a good start offensively.
Evan Marzilli (South Carolina) got it started in the bottom of the first inning with a base hit up the middle. After a Stephen Perez (Miami) walk, RBI-machine Dane Phillips (OK State) roped a double down the right field line, scoring Marzilli. Joe Sever (Pepperdine) brought home a run with a sac fly to center field, and Beau Amaral (UCLA) made it a 3-run inning when his hit to right field one-hopped the fence for an RBI ground rule double.
Red Sox starter A.J. Vanegas (Stanford) would give up only those three runs over four innings, but still received the loss. Y-D southpaw reliever Daniel Gibson (Florida) silenced the Anglers' bats for his three innings of work.
Chatham's manager John Schiffner was not about to let a 3-0 lead slip away. In the top of the seventh, Anglers' reliever Jeffrey Gibbs (Maine) walked two batters and was pulled in favor of Cody Penny (UNC), who was promptly pulled after walking his only batter.
"We need guys in there who are going to produce for us," said Schiffner about his short leash with his bullpen. "We just can't afford to walk guys."
Right-hander Tucker Healy (Ithaca) was tapped to enter a bases loaded, one out jam. After walking home a run, he slammed the door shut, forcing Cody Keefer (UCLA) to pop out and striking out the cleanup hitter Brian Johnson (Florida) to end the inning.
"Tucker is one of the guys who make the Cape League what it is," mused Schiffner. "Who thought you would get a pitcher from Ithaca pitching in the Cape League, and pitching well' Hats off to Tuck."
In the top of the eighth, pitching with a 3-1 lead, Healy mowed down all three Y-D batters. Two of the punchouts were on a called strike three, inspiring the Red Sox first base coach to say to the home plate umpire what, at various points throughout the game, both squads were thinking. He was rewarded by being ejected from the game.
After those fireworks subsided, Chatham scored one last insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Perez (2-2 with 2 BB and 2 R) hit a chopper by the diving first baseman, and then put himself in scoring position with thefts of both second and third base. A wild pitch that flew all the way to the backstop allowed Perez to scamper home without even drawing a throw.
Anglers' reliever Zack Jones (San Jose State) was charged with preserving a 4-1 Chatham lead in the top of the ninth inning. Jones entered to his customary warm-up tune, "Move it Like Bernie," much to the enjoyment of fans and bullpen pitchers alike.
Though no errors were charged to Perez or Sever, both had opportunities to come up with tough defensive plays for Chatham. With a runner at second and one out, James Ramsey (Florida State) hit an RBI triple to the fence in center field.
The next batter was retired on a pop out to first base, bringing up potential tying run Matt Reynolds (Arkansas) with two out and a man on third. Darrell Matthews (Cal) robbed Reynolds of a base hit with a game-ending, shoe-string catch in left field.
The Anglers are now 4-1 versus Y-D this season, but 4-19-1 against the rest of the CCBL. Too bad the Red Sox only appear once more on the schedule.
Sunday features a 5 p.m. game against the Whitecaps in Brewster.