The Chatham Anglers (17-8-1) used a great pitching performance, clutch hitting, and a little help from mother nature to defeat the rival Orleans Firebirds (11-14) by the final score of 2-1 in a rain-shortened game.
Orleans struck first in the second inning off of Anglers starter Matt Gage
(Siena) on a home run by Vince Conde (Vanderbilt), giving the Firebirds a 1-0 lead.
It looked like the one run lead might be enough for the Firebirds, as Orleans starter Bobby Poyner (Florida) cruised through the Anglers lineup, holding them to only five hits and no runs through six innings.
Gage matched Poyner pitch-for-pitch through six innings, allowing only four hits while striking out seven, with the home run being the difference.
As the rain started to fall at Eldredge park, the Chatham offense woke up against Poyner. On a night where Poyner was excellent, two mistakes would cost him the game.
Still trailing 1-0, J.D Davis
(Cal State Fullerton) led off the seventh inning with a solo blast that cleared the 359' mark in right field, tying the game and swinging the momentum in Chatham's favor.
The home run was Davis' first of the season, and his fifth RBI.
After two quick outs, defensive replacement Josh Eldridge
(Old Dominion) singled, then both Blake Butera
(Boston College) and Rich Prigatano
(Long Beach State) walked to load the bases.
With Landon Lassiter
(North Carolina) at the plate with the bases loaded, Poyner threw a wild pitch that scored Eldridge and gave Chatham the 2-1 lead.
Poyner had gone from shutting out the Anglers and being in line for the win, to being on the hook for the loss.
The rain continued to pick up, and Chatham was in danger of having the lead that they had just taken washed away. If the game was called before the inning could be completed, the two runs would have been wiped off the board, and Orleans would have gone home with a 1-0 victory.
In need of a quick inning, Manager John Schiffner
went to the bullpen for Chad Sobotka
(South Carolina- Upstate). After giving up a walk to lead off the frame, Sobotka came back to strike out right-fielder Zach Fish (Oklahoma State) and induce a double play to end the inning, and make the game official with a Chatham lead.
After trying to begin the eighth inning, the rain was too much, and the game was sent into a rain delay.
30 minutes later, after the rain failed to stop, the game was called, and Chatham went home with their league-leading 17th win.
After being on the hook for the loss, Gage earned the win and improved to 3-1 on the season. The win was his third in three starts.
(San Diego) and Lassiter each collected two hits in the victory.
With the win and losses from Orleans, Yarmouth-Dennis, and Harwich, the Anglers further separated themselves in first place in the Eastern Division. Chatham now holds a nine point lead (4.5 games) over the second-place Mariners.
The Anglers will return home to Veterans Field on Sunday to face off against the Y-D Red Sox (12-13-1).
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.