On Thursday, Chatham fell 7-4 to the Y-D Red Sox in game one of a three-game playoff series. Up 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, the Anglers could not hold down the Red Sox at the plate and were outscored 7-1 in the final seven frames.
"We had a three run lead and give credit to Y-D, there's a reason why they're the best hitting team in the league," said manager John Schiffner
. "They came back after one of the best pitchers in the league (Michael Wagner) and when you win that battle, you've done a nice job. I've got nothing bad to say about our guys. We battled, we got our hits. We made some pitching mistakes, we made some defensive mistakes. But that happens, that's baseball."
Box Score Y-D 7, Chatham 4
Making Chatham's first postseason start since 2009, San Diego's Michael Wagner
(0-1, 7.94 ERA) suffered the loss for the Anglers. In five and two thirds innings pitched, Wagner surrendered five earned runs on five hits and struck out six batters. Facing an inconsistent strike zone, a team filled to the brim with good hitters and the dangerously short fences of Red Wilson Field, the sophomore battled through adversity to keep Chatham in the game.
"Mike was fine," said Schiffner. "He kind of ran out of gas a little bit. That's a real good hitting team. They take great swings, they have great composure at the plate, they cover the plate well. You've gotta be really good to beat them on a regular basis."
Normally a source of strength for the team, the Angler bullpen was not as sharp as usual, allowing two earned runs in two and a third innings of work. North Carolina's Tate Parrish
(0-0, 27.03 ERA) allowed one run on two hits in a third of an inning and Boston College's Eric Stevens
(0-0, 4.50 ERA) gave up one run on three hits and struck out one in two innings.
UC Irvine's Andrew Thurman
(1-0, 7.20 ERA) earned the win for the Red Sox, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings of work and fanning four. Indiana's Joey Denato
(0-0, 0.00 ERA) tossed four scoreless innings and racked up four strikeouts to get the save. Stranding six men on the bases and drawing only three walks, Chatham was unable to string together a big inning following the top of the fourth.
Offensively, Thursday's game began as a slugfest and ended with the small-ball the Cape League is famous for. In the top of the second, the Anglers had men on second and third after Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan
walked and San Diego's Louie Lechich
singled and both runners advanced on a passed ball. With two men on, Boston College's John Hennessy
stepped up to the plate and hit a three-run home run to left center field to put Chatham up 3-0. A new addition to the team who was just signed on August 5, Hennessy has recorded an RBI in three of his four games as an Angler.
"It's a great story," said Schiffner. "There he is hanging around Harwich Port in his parents' summer home doing nothing and we pick him up and he's been tremendous. That's what the Cape League is all about."
Chatham's only other run on Thursday came in the top of the fourth when Lechich connected for a solo home run to right field to tie the score at four, his first long ball of the summer. Lechich had two hits on the day and was tied for the team lead with California's Andrew Knapp
While the Anglers scored all their runs in the early innings, Y-D got itself back in the game with a slew of extra base hits in the third and fourth innings and manufactured two runs in the seventh inning to seal the victory. Florida's Justin Shafer
got the Red Sox started with a solo home run in the bottom of the third. Four batters later, Indiana's Sam Travis
pounded an RBI double to cut the lead to 3-2. Travis was then promptly sent home by Washington's Robert Pehl
, who clubbed a two-run home run to put Y-D up 4-3.
"We're never too confident, especially against them (Y-D) and especially in this yard," said Schiffner. "You saw the pop-ups go out of here today. And with the wind blowing out hard, there's never any confidence until the game is over."
In the fourth inning, Y-D took control when Stanford's Alex Blandino
was plated on a wild pitch from Wagner. The Red Sox tacked on their final two runs in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Travis and an RBI single by Mercyhurst's Zak Blair
With game one now behind them, the Anglers face elimination and must win two games in a row to continue their season.
"It's not like we got our ass kicked," said Schiffner. "I'm not worried about a rebound. I have no reason to think they can't win two in a row. They can do that. It's up to them. This team does not have a lack of confidence. They know what they need to do to win tomorrow's game."
On Friday at 7 p.m., Maine's Tommy Lawrence
(2-1, 3.55 ERA) is scheduled to start game two for Chatham and will face Marshall's Aaon Blair
(6-0, 1.17 ERA). For live coverage of Friday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841. Ten minutes longer than usual, Friday's pregame show will be a special one, with interviews of both managers and a Catch of the Day segment with a player from each team.