In the nation's best collegiate summer league, nothing comes easily and a game can turn at any point. On Tuesday night, the Chatham Anglers (4-2) fell to the Falmouth Commodores (4-2) 8-2 at Veterans Field. After taking an early lead for the fourth straight game, the Anglers could not execute down the stretch against a hungry and well-disciplined Commodore team.
"We were flat," said manager John Schiffner. "We had a couple of opportunities early on and we just didn't take advantage of them. Some days you just don't have it. The Falmouth pitchers did a nice job against us and we failed to respond."
Right-hander Michael Wagner (0-1) (San Diego) was given the loss for the Anglers. Wagner threw five innings, conceded three hits, walked two hitters and struck out six. The two runs Falmouth scored during Wagner's outing were both unearned. Chatham was unable to mass a large lead for Wagner, whose live fastball, deceptive change-up and biting slider were baffling Commodore hitters early on.
Troy Scribner (1-0) (Sacred Heart) earned the win for the Commodores. The lanky righty allowed one run on two hits over four innings and struck out six. Chatham could not build a large lead against Scribner, despite drawing four walks and having a series of lengthy at-bats against him. After Scribner's exit from the game, the Anglers tallied only four hits, continued to strand runners on the basepaths and fanned four more times, giving the team 10 punchouts on the night.
"We did not have many good at-bats," said Schiffner. "We have to cut the strikeouts down. We're trying to convey to our guys the difference between a good out and a bad out. If our players are going to get out, we want them to have a quality at-bat and not strike out or pop out. We also had the bases loaded tonight with no outs in the eighth inning and didn't score. That can't happen. We have to put the ball in play."
The Anglers got on the board in the bottom of the first when catcher John Martinez (Michigan State) hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring left fielder Adam Engel (Louisville) from third base. Engel got himself on-base with an infield single, stole second and then advanced to third on a balk. Chatham's only other run on Tuesday came when third baseman Alex Calbick (Maine) crushed a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Falmouth stormed back in the fifth inning after first baseman Marco Gonzales (Gonzaga) hit a two-run double, scoring runners on first and third who reached base via a walk and a throwing error by second baseman Dante Flores (Southern California), who had two errors on the evening. The Commodores scored again in the sixth inning when southpaw Mike Fagan (Princeton) walked in a run after loading the bases. Falmouth continued to mount a lead when left fielder Jack Colton (Harvard) hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the next at-bat. The Commodores tacked on their final runs of the night in the eighth inning when catcher Kaiana Eldredge (Kansas) came up with runners on first and second pounded a three run home run into deep right field off right-hander Nick Burdi (Louisville).
"The five runs Falmouth picked up in the sixth and eighth innings deflated us," said Schiffner. "That's something that we have to address. Anyone can make a comeback in this league. You can't get down when that happens."
With no game scheduled on Wednesday, Chatham will have its first day off of the season. The open day will provide some much needed rest for Chatham's coaching staff and players, who have been at Veterans Field every day for the past two weeks.
"I hope our guys get some rest tomorrow and do what they need to do. I hear there's a whale watch that a couple of guys are going to and some guys are going to play golf," said Schiffner. "That's great. That's what they're supposed to do. There's not enough days off for these kids. They should be able to enjoy Cape Cod."
Even with the day-off, Chatham's starting rotation will remain in-tact.
"Our lineup will stay the same," said Schiffner. "Frazier's coming back on Thursday, which is his scheduled day to throw. It works out perfectly for us."
Chatham will be back in action at Veterans Field on Thursday night against the Bourne Braves (2-4). For live coverage of Thursday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame show with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Chris Fitzgerald at 6:40 p.m. at TRZ Teamline.
Game #6 vs. Falmouth Commodores: Game 6 vs. Falmouth