Chatham Hits Way into Win Column in Season Opener Against Wareham
by George Barclay Thursday, June 14, 2012
Quickly putting their 1-0 exhibition loss to the U.S. Military All-Stars in the rear view mirror, the Chatham Anglers (1-0) opened their season with ample offense, defeating the Wareham Gatemen 7-5. Right-hander Scott Frazier (Pepperdine) was the winning pitcher for the Anglers. Frazier did not have the cleanest of starts, but finished the night strong, giving up one run on four hits and striking out five batters. On the other side of the diamond, right-hander Jared Ruxer (Louisville) suffered the loss for Wareham. Ruxer allowed four runs in just four innings, walked three hitters, and struck out four.
While Chatham came out on top Thursday night, the game did not start out well for the Anglers. After failing to knock home a runner on third base in the top of the first, Chatham found itself in a hole early after Frazier gave up an RBI single to outfielder to outfielder Scott Schwarber (Indiana) in the bottom half of the inning. Shortly after the Anglers fell behind, Chatham was forced to make a defensive substitution after shortstop Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) collided with left fielder Nick LaCroix (Franklin Pierce) in shallow left field. Pinder was able to leave the game without assistance from the team's trainers. Later on in the evening, Pinder looked to be in good condition as he was seen cheering on his teammates from the top rail of the dugout. Pinder would be replaced at short by Alex Chittenden (Louisville).
Following Pinder's exit, Chatham's fortune began to change. In the top of the second inning, the Anglers had the bases loaded after an infield single by LaCroix. Ruxer then issued two consecutive bases loaded walks, which put the Anglers up 2-1. The next batter for Chatham, first basemen Andrew Knapp (California), broke open the game for the Anglers by hitting a two-run bloop single into left field.
Over the next three innings, Frazier was able to work through Wareham's order despite being his own worst enemy at times. While Frazier seamlessly retired the side in the second inning and just gave up an infield single in the third, the tall right-hander hit three consecutive hitters in the fourth. Frazier was then able to bear down with the bases loaded and record a much needed strikeout to end the inning. By the end of his five innings of work, Frazier was able to leave the game with a lead after preventing another hit batsmen to score. The tall right-hander from Pepperdine's only blemishes on the day were the one run and the four hit batsmen.
The Anglers' final spurts of offense came in the next two innings. In the top of the sixth, third basemen Alex Calbick (Maine) hit a sacrifice fly to score a runner. Later on in the first half of the seventh inning, Chittenden knocked in a runner on second base with an RBI single and Knapp scored from third base on a passed ball, marking Chatham's final runs on the night.
For the rest of the game, Chatham experienced mixed results from its bullpen. Lefty Brian McIlhenny (Pepperdine) pitched a scoreless sixth inning while right-hander Dace Kime (Louisville) gave up three runs and four walks in just two thirds of an inning. Right-hander Tommy Lawrence (Maine) was able to get out of Kime's jam and threw one and a third scoreless innings, fanning two hitters along the way. Angler closer Jake Joyce (Virginia Tech) pitched out of a jam to end the game in the ninth inning, allowing just one run to score on a fielder's choice.
Overall, Chatham was able to shake off the rust from Monday's exhibition game and improved both offensively and defensively in the season opener. Compared to just two hits against the Military All-Stars, the Anglers notched seven against the Gatemen and scored seven runs. Rightfielder Aaron Brown (Pepperdine) led the Anglers with two of those hits, both falling for doubles and Knapp led the team with two RBI. With regard to pitching, Chatham's hurlers struck out 11 hitters as opposed to 10 on Monday. Although the Anglers yielded four more runs than they did on Monday, only two of them came from base hits. If Chatham's pitchers can improve from a control standpoint, the days of a sub-three team ERA could return for the Anglers.
Chatham will play its home opener on Friday, June 15 against the Cotuit Kettleers. Right-hander Kurt Schluter (Stetson) will take the mound for the Anglers. Tune into the broadcast twenty minutes before the first pitch for full coverage at TRZ Teamline.
Game #1 vs. Wareham Gatemen: Game 1 at Wareham