Chatham Beats Orleans to Cap Off Memorable 4th of July Holiday
by Chris Jones Thursday, July 04, 2013
The stage was set for a great showdown betweens the Chatham Anglers (11-6-1) and the Orleans Firebirds (9-8) on Thursday night. The day had been filled with 4th of July festivities, and a crowd of an estimated 2300 people filled Veterans Field to watch the rivalry game between the Anglers and Firebirds.
"Everything was clicking for us tonight," Erich Weiss (Texas) said.
The packed house was sent home happy, as the Anglers defeated Orleans 7-2 for their first win of the season against the Firebirds.
"It was really nice to get a win. We didn't hit well last night, but the offense came up with a bunch of hits tonight," Coach John Schiffner said. "Orleans is a good team, and it is always good to beat them, especially on the 4th of July with a crowd like that."
The day had started with the whole team participating in the annual Chatham 4th of July parade, where the Anglers got the chance to walk down Main street in front of many of their adoring fans and supporters. It was estimated that almost 40,000 people were in attendance.
With the support seen by the team at the parade, and the large crowd that showed up at Veterans Field, the team was given a little extra reason to win.
"Seeing how everyone came out tonight, and seeing all the support we got today from the community, it definitely gave us some added motivation to win tonight," Weiss said.
For Coach Schiffner, who is in his 21st year of managing, this year was something special.
photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers
"For me, what made today great was just seeing the looks on the guys' faces as they saw all of the people out there cheering for them at the parade," Schiffner said. "I had a couple guys come up to me afterwards, shake my hand, and say that that was one of the greatest experiences that they have had. That is what makes a day like today special."
After one-hitting the Anglers on Wednesday in a 3-0 victory, Orleans struck first with two runs in the third inning off of Chatham starter Andrew McGee (Monmouth) on a two-RBI single from center-fielder Greg Allen (San Diego State).
From that point on, it would be all Anglers.
"We were still sort of angry about what happened last night," Weiss said. "We came out tonight, let out our frustration on them, and hit a lot."
Chatham got on the board in the very next frame on an RBI single from Landon Lassiter (North Carolina), then would tie the game on an infield single from Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State).
The Anglers would take the lead in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout from Mitchell Gunsolus (Gonzaga), and would pile on two more runs on a double from Dante Flores (USC).
A run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice-fly from Michael Russell (North Carolina), and one more in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout helped the Anglers cruise to a 7-2 win.
After only managing one hit against Orleans on Wednesday, the Anglers banged out 12 hits in the victory.
The win was a signature point in the season, as they defeated the rival Firebirds for the first time in three attempts this season.
"Coach (Schiffner) was telling us in the post-game huddle that it makes the season a good one when you beat Orleans on July 4," Weiss said. "We know we still have a long season to go and a lot of games still to play, though."
McGee, who has been the ace for Chatham so far this season, struggled with his command in his fourth start, allowing two runs, walking two, but striking out three in four innings pitched.
Schiffner went to the bullpen early, but it had nothing to do with McGee.
"McGee wasn't at his best, but he wasn't bad at all," Schiffner said. "We could have left him in, but we have such a loaded bullpen."
Tommy Lawrence (Maine) came on in the fifth inning and threw two innings of perfect relief, striking out three along the way, and earning the win. Lawrence has not allowed a hit in his last 5.1 innings pitched.
photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers
Despite coming in and walking four batters in 1.2 innings pitched, Jacob Dorris (Texas A&M Corpus Cristi) did not allow a run.
J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton), who started the game as the designated-hitter, came in to close the game out, and earned the save by not allowing a run and striking out two.
For Schiffner, the bullpen has been one of the strongest points of the team so far.
"We have so many guys who can do so many different things in our bullpen," Schiffner said. "We are in really good shape. I love our bullpen."
The win against Orleans capped off yet another classic July 4 in Chatham.
"4th of July in Chatham is just amazing. I have never been a part of something like this," Weiss said. "Nothing like the close-knit community that Chatham is. Definitely a cool experience."
The Anglers will face Wareham (3-15) on Friday at Veterans Field. Despite the Gatemen's record, the team knows that they can not be overlooked.
"They are due for a pretty good run," Schiffner said. "They're not going to come and lay down to us because we are Chatham. With a team like that, you have to knock them out early, so we are going to have to come out ready to go."