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Anglers Staying Focused Despite 6-0 start, Face-off against Bourne

by Chris Jones
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Anglers Staying Focused Despite 6-0 start, Face-off against Bourne
The Chatham Anglers have rolled through the Cape League so far, and remain unbeaten after six games. Everything seems to be clicking on all cylinders for the Anglers in the young season.

"We are playing really good team ball right now," Coach John Schiffner said. "As a coach, it's great to watch."

In the way of Chatham moving to 7-0 on the season will be the Bourne Braves (2-4), as the Anglers will make their first trip of the season to Doran Park. The Braves have struggled out of the gate, only hitting for a .226 average as a team.

Schiffner will send right-hander Aaron Garza (Houston) to the mound for the Anglers as Chatham looks to remain unbeaten. In his first start for Chatham, he threw five solid innings against the Cotuit Kettleers, only allowing two runs and five hits. For the Houston Cougars in 2013, Garza had a 3.88 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 43 in 67.1 innings pitched.
Photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers
Andrew McGee (Monmouth) has not allowed a run
all season.

On the mound for Bourne will be right-handed Jaron Long (Ohio State), who makes his season debut for the Braves. The junior from Scottsdale, Arizona had a 4.04 ERA in 15 appearances for the Buckeyes in 2013. Opposing batters had success against Long, as they hit for a .307 average against him.

Long's father, Kevin Long, is the hitting coach for the New York Yankees.

Long will have his hands full with the Angler lineup, as they lead the league with a .294 ERA. Many Anglers lead, or are in the top five in the league in different categories, including Richard Prigatano (Long Beach State), who leads the league in RBI with five. Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) is second in the league in slugging percentage at .632, and is tied for first in total bases with 12.

Connor Joe (San Diego) is tied for first in the league with eight hits, Mitchell Gunsolus (Gonzaga) leads the league with six walks, and is second in the league with seven hits. He is third in the league in total hitting. Joshua Eldridge (Old Dominion) leads the league in runs scored with six.

After his second dominant start, the latest coming against Hyannis on Tuesday night, Andrew McGee (Monmouth) is second in the league in strikeouts with 12.

The Anglers hot start recently received some national recognition, as they were ranked first in Perfect Game USAs summer collegiate team rankings; a list of the best teams from summer leagues all around the country. Three other Cape League teams were featured in the top 30.

While a start like this might have a team feeling overconfident, the team is buying in to Schiffners advice on tempering expectations.

Like coach (Schiffner) keeps telling us after each game, were 0-0 going into the next game, Kenny Koplove (Duke) said. We have to keep coming to work each day, and keep doing what were doing.

For Schiffner, despite the impressive start from his team, he has been around the league long enough to know that it does not guarantee future success in the season.

"I always like to call the Cape League the great equalizer," Schiffner said. "Yes, we are off to a great start, but we have yet to play half of the teams in the league, and there are still a lot of games left to play."

After tonights game against Bourne, the Anglers will have an off day on Thursday, then will return to Veterans Field on Friday night to face off against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (3-1). First pitch is at 6 p.m. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 5:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Keith Zubrow at TRZ Teamline or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.