Good pitching beats good hitting. On Saturday night, the Chatham Anglers ended their three-game winning streak, falling 4-3 to the Harwich Mariners at Whitehouse Field. The Anglers (11-9) battled back from a 4-2 deficit only to come up just short against the Mariners (14-6) in the ninth inning, stranding runners on first and second to end the game.
"Our kids played hard," said manager John Schiffner
. "It was a really good baseball game tonight. Both teams made plays, got some good hits and pitched well."
Box Score Game 20: Harwich 4, Chatham 3
UC Irvine's Jimmy Litchfield
(0-2, 8.44 ERA) suffered the loss for the Anglers, allowing four runs on four hits in four and two thirds innings. A pitcher who relies heavily on command to get batters out, Litchfield battled through the Mariner lineup despite not having his best stuff on the mound.
"Jimmy held on," said Schiffner. "I was very proud of his effort."
While Litchfield had a grueling night on the rubber, Chatham received another stellar outing from its bullpen, which allowed no hits in three scoreless innings of relief. Louisville right-hander Dace Kime
(0-0, 10.57 ERA) fanned one batter in two and a third innings while Navarro southpaw Ryan Atwood
(0-0, 2.08 ERA) struck out the side against the heart of Harwich's order.
"The bullpen was great again," said Schiffner. "Dace did a real nice job. Ryan also came in and threw super well. That's what we need to do out there."
Virginia Tech's Eddie Campbell
(2-0, 2.37 ERA) earned the win for Harwich, surrendering two runs on three hits in six innings and recording eight strikeouts. The Mariner bullpen was also able to work through the Angler lineup and gave up just one run on two hits in three innings. Georgia Tech right-hander Zane Evans
(1-0, 1.29 ERA) earned his third save of the season for Harwich and struck out two batters in the ninth inning. By the end of the game on Saturday, four Mariner arms combined for 15 strikeouts.
"Harwich went out there and threw strikes tonight," said Schiffner. "They did what good pitchers do and they kept us off-balance. They did a great job of disrupting our timing."
Offensively, both teams labored at the plate and combined for 10 hits in a back and forth game. For the fifth game in a row, the Anglers struck first and had a 1-0 lead in the first inning after designated hitter Chad Pinder
(Virginia Tech) knocked an RBI single to right field, scoring Louisville center fielder Adam Engel
from third base. Harwich responded and took a 2-1 lead in the second inning after a solo home run by third baseman Eric Jagielo
(Notre Dame) and a sacrifice fly by left fielder Austen Smith
(Alabama), scoring a runner from third base. Chatham knotted the score at two in the fifth inning when right fielder Dale Carey
(Miami) doubled to left and third baseman Mike Fransoso
(Maine) scored from first base after an error by Smith in left field. In the next half-inning, the Mariners exacted their revenge and took a 4-2 lead after a two-run double by center fielder Jacoby Jones
"Harwich is a good team and they hit the ball very well," said Schiffner. You have to expect a great effort from them every night. You can't fall behind against these guys."
Yet, even with a two-run deficit, the Anglers strung together a rally in the ninth and put together one of their best innings of the night at the dish. With one out in the inning, Fransoso singled to center field to keep Chatham alive. Two batters later and with two outs, Maine's Alex Calbick
pinch hit for second baseman Dante Flores
(Southern California) and drew a walk. The next batter, left fielder Tom Bourdon
(Boston College) fought through a seven-pitch at-bat and hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Fransoso from second base and putting the tying run in scoring position.
"Tom Bourdon had a huge base hit for us with two strikes," said Schiffner. "He got us in a situation where we had the tying run on second base. That was a big play."
However, the hit was not enough as Engel was called out on strikes in the next at-bat on a checked swing. In a controversial play that left the Chatham dugout furious, home plate umpire James Grillo
ruled that Engel's bat went around without appealing to first base. As soon as the game ended, Grillo and the rest of the umpiring crew proceeded to immediately leave Whitehouse Field without shaking hands with either of the managers.
Although he was not thrilled with the way Saturday's game ended, Schiffner was still pleased with his team's performance.
"You walk away from that game and realize that Harwich is a good team and we're a good team too," he said. "We'll play them four more times."
The Anglers return to Veterans Field on Sunday night to take on the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at 7 p.m. While the first three games between these two teams have been heavily lopsided, with either team winning by a minimum of seven runs, Schiffner expects a much closer contest.
"Tomorrow is going to be a totally different game. We were in transition and so were they during those first three games. Everybody's rotation is pretty much set now. I expect a great ball game from both teams."
For live coverage of Sunday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline