Despite loading the bases in the ninth inning, Chatham went down 6-4 to the Y-D Red Sox on Wednesday. With a chance to extend their six point lead for fourth place over the Brewster Whitecaps, the Anglers (17-20-1) tallied seven hits, struck out eight times and left five men on base.
"We didn't play well today," said manager John Schiffner
. "I saw infield-outfield and I knew we were in trouble. But to the kids' credit, they gathered themselves."
Box Score Y-D 6, Chatham 4
Florida Gulf Coast's Rick Knapp
(2-0, 3.03 ERA) earned the win for the Red Sox (21-7), allowing four earned runs on five hits in five innings of work. Y-D's bullpen combined for four scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. After Knapp left the game, Seton Hall's Brian Gilbert
(1-1, 6.26 ERA) fanned four batters in three and two thirds innings. Making the shortest appearance of the night, Western Carolina's Preston Hatcher
(0-1, 3.46 ERA) walked the only batter he faced. With two outs in the ninth, Hofstra's Bryan Verbitsky
(1-2, 4.91ERA) entered the game and recorded a strikeout to earn his second save of the season and shut the door on the Anglers.
San Diego's Louie Lechich
(1-2, 4.71 ERA) was tagged with the loss, surrendering six earned runs on eight hits in two and a third innings. While Lechich's outing ended quickly, Louisville's Dace Kime
(0-0, 4.15 ERA) tossed four and two thirds scoreless innings of relief and fanned four batters. The final Chatham pitcher for the evening, Southern New Hampshire's Alex Powers
(0-0, 0.93 ERA) also made his presence felt, striking out one batter in an inning of work.
"The bullpen did a great job of keeping us in the ball game," said Schiffner. "Dace and Powers held it for us and gave us a chance to get a win late in the game. We needed a clutch base hit to win it, but they (Kime and Powers) kept us within two runs. It was a great job."
Racking up 11 hits on the night, Y-D was led offensively by Florida's Justin Shafer
, who went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. All of Shafer's runs batted in came from a pair of two-run singles. Washington's Robert Pehl
and Stanford's Alex Blandino
also had productive nights at the plate for the Red Sox, both getting two hits and both tacking on an RBI single.
Wednesday afternoon was a tale of two offenses. While Y-D got multiple players to step up and drive the ball around Red Wilson Field, Chatham only recieved help from a set of familiar faces. UCLA's Pat Valaika
, Miami's Dale Carey
and California's Andrew Knapp
all totaled two hits apiece and comprised six of the team's seven hits on the day.
"They (Valaika, Carey and Knapp) are doing their jobs," said Schiffner. "I wish it would rub off on some of the other guys."
Playing the role of hero once again, Knapp's two hits both went for two-run home runs, one sailing over the right center fence and the other hitting the trees in center field. With the two longballs and all of Chatham's RBI on Wednesday, Knapp now leads the team in home runs with six and has 24 RBI on the season.
When asked about the state of his team, Schiffner was quick to cite a desire to win and fatigue.
"They don't like to lose," he said. "But right now, they are tired and they are letting that effect them. They need to rally it up, get through it and play hard."
With only six remaining games in the season, Schiffner would also like to see more of his players contribute offensively.
"We need a few guys to step up, which is what we've been saying for the last month," he said. "We've got to start playing good baseball."
Chatham will have an immediate opportunity to right the ship on Thursday night as the team returns to Veterans Field to take on the Brewster Whitecaps (14-22-1) at 7 p.m. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.