The Chatham Anglers (16-8-1) got back in the win column after three days without a victory, as they cruised past the Brewster Whitecaps (8-16) by the final score of 4-1.
The Anglers looked refreshed from their off day, as they jumped on the Whitecaps for two runs in the first inning behind RBI singles from Connor Joe (San Diego) and Michael Russell (North Carolina). Just like that, the Anglers had their first lead in over three days.
"The day off definitely helped us out, without a doubt," Joe said. "Everyone's legs are fresh, our minds are clear, and we are ready to play. It feels like a brand new season."
Coming off of an off day and a two-game losing streak, getting out ahead was key to the game for Manager John Schiffner.
"That was perfect. We got out ahead of them, set the tone, and helped the guys settle in and get comfortable," Schiffner said.
As it turned out, the two first-inning runs would be all the Anglers would need, as starter Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) was masterful through six innings, only giving up three hits and one run while striking out four.
photo by Chelsea Capwell/Chatham Anglers Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) picked up his second win of the season after six dominant innings against Brewster on Friday
Schiraldi was also incredibly efficient, only needing 69 pitches to complete his outing.
"All that I feel I need to do is go out, throw strikes, and let our defense play behind me," Schiraldi said. "We have a great defense. If you get them the ball, they will get you the outs."
Prior to Fridays start against Brewster, Schiraldi led the Anglers starting rotation with a 1.83 ERA in four previous starts, but Schiffner saw some great improvement from him in his fifth start.
"He was outstanding tonight. With every start, he has gotten better," Schiffner said. "His location was really working tonight. He was very efficient."
Chatham would extend their lead in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Dante Flores (USC) another RBI hit from Joe.
Joe finished the game with two hits, two RBI, and a run scored, increasing his average to .293 on the season.
Flores continued his incredible second Cape League season with two hits and a run scored. Flores upped his batting average to .366, and continued to impress Schiffner.
"He is absolutely on fire," Schiffner said. "He was a starter this season for USC, and you can tell that he carries himself like that this season. I could not be happier for him."
Brewster would come back in the bottom of the fifth inning, getting on the board with a run on a wild pitch from Schiraldi, and cutting the Chatham lead to 4-1.
The Whitecaps, however, would not get any closer, only mustering two hits in the final four innings.
After Schiraldi exited after the sixth inning, left-hander David Speer (Columbia) threw two shutout innings of relief, only allowing one hit in his debut for Chatham.
Speer began the season pitching for the Bourne Braves, and had 14 strikeouts in four appearances, but was released on July 3. Schiffner knew his team could value a left-handed bullpen arm, and with the loss of Joe Goodman (High Point), he used the open roster spot to pick up Speer.
"We definitely needed another lefty in the bullpen," Schiffner said. "Being able to pick up a guy that has Cape League experience this year, and had success at his college, is just another big win for us."
J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton) came in for the ninth inning, picked up his second save of the season, and gave Chatham the 4-1 win, ending the two-game losing skid.
Fridays victory was Schiffners 450th as the Chatham manager, the most wins, by far, in the history of the Cape Cod Baseball League. During his managing tenure, Schiffner has a record of 450-420-21.
The Anglers extended their lead in the Eastern Division to seven points with the win and a Harwich Mariners loss. Chatham will travel to Orleans (11-13) tomorrow to take on the Firebirds in the fourth meeting between these two rivals.
At this point in the season, every division game matters a little more.
"Every win matters because it is two points, but division games are always more important because they are 4 point games, and you get to distance yourself from the other teams," Schiffner said.
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.