On Sunday evening, the Chatham Anglers fell 12-2 to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at Red Wilson Field. In a game that had a 58 minute lightning delay and that was called due to darkness halfway through the seventh inning, the Anglers (8-6) came out flat against a Red Sox team that performed well in all aspects of the game.
"This game was not good. Tonight was not one of our better all-around efforts," said manager John Schiffner. "Maybe we had a little bit of a hangover from last night's win. We just got ourselves down too early and we didn't play very well. That happens sometimes. Former LSU coach Skip Bertman used to have a little toilet bowl in his dugout and he'd flush it when his teams had bad at-bats or made errors. We have to flush down this game and come back tomorrow ready to play."
UC Irvine's Jimmy Litchfield (0-1, 9.00 ERA) suffered the loss for the Anglers. Litchfield surrendered six runs on six hits in two and a third innings of work. A control pitcher who relies on pinpoint location, the California native could not keep the ball out of the upper part of the strike zone at a field with the shortest center field fence in the Cape League.
"In defense of Jimmy, he gave up two home runs that are outs in almost every ball park in this league," said Schiffner. "But, he has to keep the ball down. I definitely think those balls would have been outs at other ball parks. You have to pitch carefully at Y-D. That's the Cape League."
Chatham's bullpen provided little help for Litchfield on Saturday, giving up six runs in three and two thirds innings pitched. Louisville right hander Dace Kime (0-0, 15.19 ERA), Princeton southpaw Mike Fagan (0-0, 94.50 ERA) and Navarro left-hander Ryan Atwood (0-0, 2.70 ERA) also had difficulty with their command and combined for six walks. After Sunday's game, the Anglers have a team ERA of 4.08 this season.
George Mason's Anthony Montefusco (1-0, 3.86 ERA) earned the win for the Red Sox (8-7), throwing three scoreless innings of relief and recording two strikeouts. Oral Roberts' Alex Gonzalez (0-1, 10.39 ERA) was given a no-decision. Gonzalez allowed two runs over four innings and struck out three.
Yarmouth-Dennis put on a hitting showcase on Sunday night. The Red Sox tallied 11 hits and half of the team's 12 runs came via the long ball. Yarmouth-Dennis was led at the plate by desginated hitter Robert Pehl (Washington), shortstop Alex Blandino (Stanford) and catcher Wayne Taylor (Stanford), who all recorded two hits. Pehl and Blandino both homered for the Red Sox along with left fielder Justin Shafer (Florida). Yarmouth-Dennis now has 14 home runs on the season and has scored 92 runs.
While the Red Sox offense peppered baseballs throughout Red Wilson Field, the Anglers only notched three hits and drew two walks. Chatham's only runs on the day came on a two-run home run by catcher John Martinez (Michigan State) in the top of the fourth inning. Martinez' blast was quickly followed by a 58 minute lightning delay, a weather pattern that only prolonged the Anglers' fate.
"We were already down 6-2 when the lightning started," said Schiffner. "We had already dug ourselves a big hole. You hope in those situations that the other team gets flat and you can get a couple breaks after the delay. Our chances were not looking good for the entire game."
As for his team's struggles at the dish, Schiffner cited a lack of quality plate appearances.
"We did not have many good at-bats tonight," he said. "It's tough when you get down in a game because everyone tries to press too much."
After the game was called due to darkness in the middle of the seventh inning, Schiffner's regular meeting with his team was much shorter than usual.
"Schiff just told our guys to put the game behind them," said assitant coach Derek Sullivan. "We performed very poorly in most aspects of the game, so he just told the team that this can't happen again and not to dwell on the game. Baseball is an everyday game. If you let today affect tomorrow, then you have some issues. We're gonna go back to work in our early practices tomorrow. We'll be ok."
Chatham will play its next two games at home starting with a make-up game on Monday, July 2 at Veterans Field against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (2-12) and the front end of a two-game series against the Orleans Firebirds (12-3) on Tuesday, July 3.
"We love playing at home," said Schiffner. "We'd love to take both of these games. Another walk-off win would be fun. There's always a little home field advantage at Veterans Field."
For live coverage of Monday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline.