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Flores the Hero as Anglers Walk-off Again

by Chris Jones
Saturday, June 15, 2013

Flores the Hero as Anglers Walk-off Again
It seemed like deja vu Saturday night at Veterans Field, as the Anglers (3-0) headed to the bottom of the ninth tied 4-4. They gave up a late lead and got the leadoff man on base. It all seemed very familiar. Chatham walked off against the Cotuit Kettleers 5-4 the Friday night, but second baseman Dante Flores (USC) was the hero Satruday with his RBI single.

Flores had been held hitless in six at-bats so far this season, but he wouldn't want his first hit to come any other way.

"It was definitely a relief getting my first hit, especially having it be the winning hit," Flores said. "Its one of the greatest feelings."

All three of Chathams wins this season have come from runs in the last two-innings, with the Anglers pulling ahead in the eighth inning to win at Wareham in the season opener, and the past two nights winning in walk-off fashion. For coach John Schiffner, it shows a lot about his team.

Box Score

Game 3: Chatham 5, Brewster 4

"It shows character, and it shows this team doesnt want to lose," Schiffner said. "It was a great inning for us, and a great at-bat for Dante (Flores)."

Pinch-hitter Brandon Sedell (Nova Southeastern) led off the ninth inning and reached on an errant throw from Brewster's Jonathan Keller (Alabama). He then advanced to second as the ball skipped deep into the right field foul territory. Shortstop Blake Butera (Boston College) laid a sacrifice bunt down to advance Sedell to third. It was then up to Flores to drive Sedell home.

"I just wanted to put myself on the line and I wanted to be a tough out," Flores said. "Who likes to watch an easy game' We love these sort of wins, theyre good for the team."

The Angler bats were held silent through five innings, as Brewster starter Jake Stinnett (Maryland) dominated the Chatham lineup, not allowing a single hit until the fourth inning. On the other hand, Angler starter Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) struggled to find his command, walking four and letting in three runs in 3.2 innings pitched. As soon as the Whitecaps went to the bullpen, the Chatham lineup woke up.

"It was nice to see our hitters hang in there, not lose hope, and when they did bring somebody else in, we took advantage," Flores said.

Down 3-0 at the time, the Anglers sprung for four runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. catcher Connor Joe (San Diego) got Chatham on the board with an RBI single. Richard Prigatano (Long Beach State), Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Barry U), and Josh Eldridge (Old Dominion) also added RBIs hits to give the Anglers a 4-3 lead. Seeing the starting pitcher leave and an offensive outburst like this gave the team confidence as the game progressed.

"It was nice seeing them go to the bullpen," Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) said. "Their starter was good, and I think we changed our approach when he was gone."

photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers

Pickens picked up a hit and scored a run in three at bats.

The Whitecaps rebounded and tied the score in the eighth inning off right-hander Jacob Dorris. Brewster threatened to regain the lead with two outs and a runner on third, but Dorris settled down and kept the score at 4-4.

Flores walk-off single improved Chathams record to 3-0. The Anglers had not been 3-0 since 2010, and they now sit in first place atop the Eastern Division. As the season progresses, Schiffner thinks these early wins are crucial.

"In this league, to be 3-0, that's very good," Schiffner said. "With teams still having guys yet to show up, you want to pile up as many wins as possible early. That is what you have to do."

For Schiffner, hes hoping for an easy win every once in awhile.

"Personally, I'd like to sit back with a 10 run lead in the first inning," Schiffner said. "Wins like this are fun though, and it keeps everyone in the game. You have to love a walk-off win."

On Sunday, the Anglers travel to play against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. LHP Matt Gage (Siena) will make his first start of the season. First pitch is at 5 p.m. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 4:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Keith Zubrow at TRZ Teamline or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.

Check out the highlights below.