One win is lucky. Two wins are good. Three wins make a winning streak.
On Friday night, the Chatham Anglers held off the Harwich Mariners 5-3, winning their third game in a row. For the third consecutive game, Chatham has totaled eight or more hits and has held an opponent to three or fewer runs.
Box Score Game 19: Chatham 5, Harwich 3
"Tonight was a great win," said manager John Schiffner. "We're playing solid baseball. I told the kids that they've played really good baseball in 35 of the last 36 innings and to keep it rolling."
Once again, the Anglers (11-8) benefited from an early lead, a trend that has occurred in the team's last four games. Four of Chatham's five runs came in the first two innings on Friday.
"An early lead is key," said Schiffner. "It relaxes you and it gives the pitcher a chance to get into the game. Also, if a pitcher makes a mistake, they're OK and they don't have to worry about playing from behind. It's really fabulous how we've been starting games lately."
Franklin Pierce right-hander Ryan Thompson
(1-0, 1.62 ERA) earned the win for the Anglers. Thompson gave up three hits and struck out 11 batters in five and two thirds innings, his only blemish coming on a two-run home run to first baseman Brian Ragira
(Stanford) in the fourth inning. The junior had all three of his pitches working and stymied one of the Cape League's best offenses.
"Ryan was outstanding," said Schiffner. "He was around the zone, his command was excellent and he mixed his pitches well. He wants that home run that he gave up in the fourth back, but we'll take that kind of outing any day."
For a pitcher who came into this summer a bit under the radar, Friday's outing was a breath of fresh air for Thompson.
"I felt great out there. I felt relaxed," he said. "When I'm relaxed, I can throw strikes and put the ball where I want to. I was able to get ahead early and when I needed to locate the ball for a swing and miss or freeze somebody, I was able to do that."
Thompson was not the only Chatham pitcher to shine on a night where three Angler arms combined for a season-high 18 strikeouts. North Carolina southpaw Tate Parrish
(1-2, 3.38 ERA) and Virginia Tech right-hander Jake Joyce
(1-0, 4.32 ERA) banded together to surrender one run on two hits over three and a third innings and struck out seven batters. Joyce pitched the final two innings of the game to get his fourth save of the season.
"Our bullpen was outstanding tonight," said Schiffner. "What more can you ask for'"
Elon's David Whitehead
(3-1, 2.29 ERA) suffered the loss for Harwich (13-6), surrendering two earned runs on seven hits in four innings of work. The six-foot five right-hander received little help from his defense, who committed four errors on the night. The Mariners' bullpen was able to prevent the game from getting out of reach, giving up one run on two hits in four innings.
At the dish, Chatham was led by first baseman Andrew Knapp
(California) and catcher Chad Morgan
(Virginia Tech). Knapp went 2 for 4 while Morgan went 3 for 4, his best offensive game of the season, raising his batting average to .200. Three Anglers notched an RBI on Friday, Maine third baseman Alex Calbick's
coming on a fielder's choice, Michigan State designated hitter John Martinez'
crossing the plate on a single and Maine second baseman Mike Fransoso's
reaching home on a sacrifice fly. Chatham's nine hit performance was particularly impressive considering the fact that Virginia Tech third baseman Chad Pinder
was out of the lineup.
"We said from the beginning of the season that we had flexibility and depth," said Schiffner. "We're taking full advantage of it right now and that's why we're playing so well."
Yet, as pleased as the coaching staff was with Friday's win, no one enjoyed the victory over Harwich no more than the Anglers' players.
"This feels great," said Thompson. "We knew that this stretch against Orleans and Harwich would be a tough one and we've done really well so far. We gave a game away against Orleans and we could be looking at four wins in a row. We're playing really well right now and it's a lot of fun."
Chatham will look to have some more fun against the Harwich Mariners on Saturday night at Whitehouse Field at 7 p.m. For live coverage of Saturday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline