Cotuit Shuts Out Chatham 3-0 in Anglers' Home Opener
by George Barclay Friday, June 15, 2012
In a vintage Cape League game, the Chatham Anglers (1-1) fell to the Cotuit Kettleers (2-0) 3-0 in the team's home opener at Veterans Field. Offense was at a minimum for the Anglers on Friday night as Chatham was only able to get four hits against a well-stocked Cotuit pitching staff that recorded 17 strikeouts.
"We didn't help ourselves out," said manager John Schiffner. "We struck out 17 times. That can't happen. That means the other team only had to make 11 plays. We have to do a better job."
Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) (1-0) was the winning pitcher for the Kettleers. Connolly threw three scoreless innings of relief, allowed only two hits and struck out four batters. While Connolly was credited with the win for Cotuit, Lefty Adam McCreery (Arizona State) was the real star of the night. McCreery pitched four and a third scoreless innings, gave up two hits and struck out nine batters. McCreery was given a no-decision after he was pulled from the game early in the fourth inning. While McCreery was rolling at the time, pounding the strike zone with a quick downhill delivery, manager Mike Roberts did not want to overextend the young southpaw, who was injured for part of the 2012 season.
"McCreery pitched very well. He hit his spots and changed speeds effectively," said Schiffner. "It was a classic pitching clinic. He worked fast, threw strikes, and changed speeds. He went right at our hitters and didn't waste a lot of time."
Right-hander Kurt Schluter (Stetson) (0-1) was given the loss for Chatham. Schluter gave up one run on six hits in five innings of work. The righty recorded just two strikeouts in this span, but was able to get out of multiple jams against a Kettleer team well-schooled in small-ball. The Angler bullpen was highly effective in relief of Schluter and allowed one run on only three hits.
"Our pitching staff was very good. I thought Schluter pitched extremely well and so did the other guys. Everybody just came out and did what they had to do," said Schiffner.
Cotuit scored its first run of the game in the top of the second inning after catcher Aramis Garcia (Florida International) hit an RBI single, scoring a runner on second base. The Kettleers scored again in the top of the ninth when outfielder Patrick Biondi ( Michigan) hit an RBI single with a runner on first base. Biondi would eventually come around to score on the same play after multiple overthrows by the Anglers, the last of which landed in straightaway centerfield.
"We had that one bad play late in the game," said Schiffner. "That's one of the worst plays I've seen in a long time. But, that sort of thing is going to happen every once in a while."
Offensively, the Anglers failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position in both the fourth and seventh innings. Third basemen Chad Pinder (Virginia Tech) led Chatham's bats and went 2-4 on the night with a double. Pinder also flashed the leather at the hot corner and made a brilliant throw to first base after diving to prevent a base hit. The other two Angler hits on the night came from centerfielder Adam Engel (Louisville) and first basemen Alex Calbick (Maine).
"I thought we played well. We should have swung the bat better," said Schiffner. "We've got to put the ball in play better. We proved last night that we could do that."
Despite his team's lackluster performance at the plate, Schiffner recognizes the high-level of competition his team faces on a nightly basis.
"That's the Cape League. You're going to see dominating pitching like that. You cannot afford to get behind in those situations."
With another home game coming up Saturday night, Schiffner will keep his team on their regular routine and immediately move on from Friday's loss.
"The great thing about baseball is that you can come back the next night and play. It's not like football where you have to wait six days to come back and play and you're all upset about the loss. You get another chance right away. We just tell our players not to make the same mistakes they made the night before."
The Anglers will have a chance to put Friday's loss behind them at Veterans Field on Saturday, June 16 when they take on the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at 7 p.m. Broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Chris Fitzgerald go on the air at 6:40 p.m. with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show. Listen live at TRZ Teamline or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.