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Chatham Ties Harwich 8-8 After 12 Grueling Innings

by George Barclay
Friday, August 03, 2012

Chatham Ties Harwich 8-8 After 12 Grueling Innings
After three hours and fifty-eight minutes of play at Whitehouse Field, Friday's game between the Chatham Anglers and the Harwich Mariners ended in an 8-8 tie after 12 innings. In what was a slugfest at the plate, both teams combined for 27 hits and every pitcher received a no-decision. Holding an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Anglers (18-20-2) were able to escape with a point despite a furious comeback by the Mariners (25-14-1).

"We let it slip away," said manager John Schiffner . "For the first time in a while, the bullpen didn't do a good job for us, but they've been doing well all year. We would have liked the two points but we'll take the one point."

Box Score

Chatham 8, Harwich 8

Facing its longest game of the season, Chatham used five pitchers on Friday night. Maine's Tommy Lawrence (2-1, 3.55 ERA) got the start for the Anglers, allowing three earned runs on six hits in six innings and striking out five batters. Despite not having the electric stuff of his previous outings, Lawrence was able to battle through the Mariner lineup and put himself in line for the win.

"Tommy did a great job," said Schiffner. "He left the game with a lead. That's unfortunate sometimes when your pitch your butt off and don't get the win. But that's OK, the kids are going to keep playing and we'll be alright."

The Anglers also had appearances by UC Irvine's Jimmy Litchfield (0-2, 5.31 ERA), Southern New Hampshire's Alex Powers (0-0, 1.69 ERA), Virginia Tech's Jake Joyce (2-0, 3.57 ERA) and Boston College's Eric Stevens (1-4, 5.96 ERA). Litchfield gave up one earned run and struck out three in one inning, Powers conceded an earned run on two hits in an inning, Joyce gave up two earned runs on three hits in an inning and Stevens tossed three scoreless innings and fanned three.

A staff game for the Mariners due to a double-header, Harwich manager Steve Englert also used five different pitchers. Of the Mariners' five arms that entered Friday's game, Villanova southpaw Matt Meurer (0-0, 2.70 ERA) was the most effective, surrendering one run on six hits in five and two thirds innings. In just his second appearance of the summer, Meurer was able to keep the Anglers off-balance and help his team climb back within striking distance.

In what appeared to be a potential blowout early on, Chatham responded to an RBI groundout by Stanford's Brian Ragira and jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the top of the second inning. The Anglers scored on an error by Brown's Wes VanBoom, a two-run double by Maine's Mike Fransoso, a groundout by California's Andrew Knapp and an RBI single by Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan.

"It was just a great spurt," said Schiffner. "We got the hits when we needed them."

A player who has been more effective on the mound this season, Schiffner was also highly complimentary of San Diego's Louie Lechich, who went 2 for 5 and helped Chatham tack on another run in the fourth by reaching base on a fielder's choice.

"Louie's been doing really well. He's been one of the guys who we've needed to step up and he has. He's really given us another go-to person. It's been fabulous."

Chatham's final runs came in the ninth inning when Louisville's Adam Engel scored on a wild pitch and Fransoso drilled an RBI single to right field. Going 2 for 6 with 3 RBI, Fransoso continues to thrive in a starting role.

"Mike's another guy who has stepped up for us and is playing really well," said Schiffner.

While Chatham received some clutch hitting from a variety of sources, Notre Dame's Eric Jagielo stole the show for Harwich on Friday, going 5 for 5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. With a home run already in the Mariners' 9-0 victory over Hyannis earlier in the day, Jagielo smashed two balls over the right field fence, one a two-run shot and the other a solo home run. In addition to tying the league lead in home runs with 13, Jagielo's blasts broke a 1981 team home run record set by the Orleans Firedbirds (59). Now with 61 home runs as a team, Harwich can stake its claim as the greatest power-hitting team in Cape League history.

"I was the assistant coach of Chatham that year and I didn't know Orleans hit that many home runs," said Schiffner. "But this Harwich team is very good. I'm really proud of our guys because they've held their own against these guys all summer long."

As well as hitting the long ball, Jagielo played a key role in Harwich's ninth inning rally. After Georgia Tech's Sam Dove walked to begin the frame, Jagielo cranked a one-out single to give the Mariners men on first and second. Following a wild pitch that advanced both runners, NC State's Brett Austin pummeled a two-run double into right field to tie the game, plating both Dove and Jagielo.

However, while the Anglers' fate looked grim, Miami's Dale Carey came to the rescue two batters later, launching a strong throw home on a single to left field to gun down Austin at the plate. The play of the game, Carey's laser beam helped prevent the winning run from scoring.

"Huge play," said Schiffner. "That could have been the game right there. That's a great play. He (Carey) is an outstanding outfielder."

In extra innings, neither the Anglers nor the Mariners could string some momentum together. Due to a league ruling giving lit fields a 12-inning limit to protect teams playing double-headers, the game was called. With the tie, Chatham now has a nine-point advantage over the Whitecaps for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East.

"We're playing OK," said Schiffner. "It would have been better to get the win, but we'll take it."

On Saturday, Chatham will make its final trip of the season to Spillane Field to take on the Wareham Gatemen (17-22) at 7 p.m.

"They're good," said Schiffner about Wareham. "They've pounded us a couple of times, so it'll be nice to see if we can go down there and get a win."

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.

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