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Early Struggles Doom Anglers, Chatham Loses Second-Straight

by Chris Jones
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Early Struggles Doom Anglers, Chatham Loses Second-Straight
Early runs, errors, and stranded runners were the difference for the Chatham Anglers (15-8-1), as they lost their second-straight game, this time falling to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 6-4.

The Anglers faced a large deficit early, but kept grinding and fought to the final out. Manager John Schiffner took some positives from the game.

"I keep saying it, but this team continues to grind," Schiffner said. "They do it well, and if they keep doing it for the rest of the season, we will be just fine."

The Red Sox struck early and often against Chatham starter Andrew McGee (Monmouth), who struggled for the first time this season.

Box Score

Game 24: Chatham 4, Y-D 6

Alex Blandino got the scoring started as he scored on an RBI ground out from D.J Stewart. Y-D would get three more runs in the third inning behind an RBI double from Taylor White, another RBI groundout from D.J Stewart, and scored a run on an error by second-baseman Blake Butera (Boston College).

photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers
Andrew McGee (Monmouth) struggled for the first
time this season against Y-D
Chatham would begin to chip away at the lead in the very next frame, as Michael Russell scored on a ball that went right through Y-D second baseman Andrew Daniel's legs. The Anglers would not score again in the frame, but had cut into the lead, making it a 4-1 game.

The difference in the game came in the next frame, as Red Sox center-fielder Brandon Downes blasted a McGee offering to center field for a two-run home run, which gave Y-D a 6-1 lead, and would be the eventual difference in the score.

The home run chased McGee from the game. McGee came into Wednesday with an unbeaten record and a 1.22 ERA, but was tagged for eight hits and six runs in 3.1 innings pitched.

"He did not locate as well as he probably should have, but he also had some bad luck," Schiffner said. "Our defense made some key errors that didn't help him out. We need to work on backing our pitcher better."

For any other team, a 6-1 deficit might have seemed insurmountable, but for these Anglers, no amount of runs is insurmountable.

"No matter the score, we never think we are out of a game," Josh Eldridge (Old Dominion) said. "For us, the game always goes until the final out."

With two outs in the sixth inning, Eldridge swung the momentum to Chatham's side with one swing of the bat, blasting a three-run shot off of Y-D starter Daniel Savas that easily cleared the short right field fence. All of the sudden, Eldridge, who had come into the game hitting for a .196 average, had made it a 6-4 ballgame.

"He (Savas) had been throwing breaking balls all night, so I just went up looking for that, and looking to drive a ball," Eldridge said. "He left one over the plate, and I got a hold of it."

Chatham continued the two-out rally in the sixth, loading the bases for J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton), but would strand all three runners as Davis struck out swinging.

That would be the last threat that the Anglers could muster, and Chatham would fall to the Red Sox by the same score.

The Anglers would end the game stranding a total of 10 men on base.

The Chatham bullpen continued to be big for the team, as they ate up innings after McGee departed early in the fourth inning.

photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers
Josh Eldridge (Old Dominion) hit his first home run
of the season on Wednesday against Y-D

Dominic Moreno (Texas Tech) only allowed one hit and struck out one over 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. Mitch Merten (UC Irvine) entered after Moreno, and gave up one hit while striking out two over two innings of relief.

Merten has yet to allow an earned run in nine innings pitched for the Anglers, striking out 13 along the way.

In a game where the starter leaves early in the game, having performances from the bullpen such as those really helped the team.

"They kept us in it," Schiffner said. "They did not allow any runs, and gave our offense a chance to come back."

Dante Flores (USC) continued his incredible season at the plate, collecting two hits, including his ninth double of the season.

As the Anglers head into their off day on a two-game slide, Schiffner's message to the team was simple.

"I just told them to go back and relax," Schiffner said. "They have had a long run, and they have earned the off day."

After the day off, Chatham will travel to Brewster to take on the Whitecaps at Stony Brook field, and then will face off against the division-rival Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park. These two games will start the final run of 20 games to cap off the regular season.

"We are going to come back well rested and ready to play," Eldridge said. "We have been playing well, so hopefully we can get another run going and keep rolling into the playoffs."

Chris Jones is in his first year as the Web Reporter and Social Media Manager for the Chatham Anglers. He is responsible for all game previews, recaps, and live-tweeting of all Angler games. Follow him on twitter at @Chrisjones_UO, and follow the Chatham Anglers at @ChathamAnglers.