The Chatham Anglers patented late inning magic made another appearance this season, this time at Doran Park against the Bourne Braves.
With the game tied 7-7, and Chatham threatening with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Manager John Schiffner
called upon Sheehan Planas-Arteaga
(Barry) to pinch-hit.
"It wasn't a hard decision," Schiffner said. "We had guys on the bench that we could use, and Sheehan was fresh, so we used him."
Planas-Arteaga wasted no time at the plate against Bourne reliever Trace Dempsey (Ohio State), smacking the first offering over center-fielder Bobby Boyd to clear the bases and give Chatham a 10-7 lead.
"I just came up and was looking for a good pitch to hit," Planas-Arteaga said. "He left the first one over the plate, and luckily I got a hold of it."
With his family in the stands, Planas-Arteaga delivered the clutch game-winning hit when Chatham needed it the most.
"I don't think I even remember running the bases," Planas-Arteaga said. "It was a great feeling, especially with my family here, and the level of competition that plays here, it felt great to get that hit in that situation."
(Texas A&M Corpus Christi) shut down the Braves in the bottom of the ninth, and Chatham collected their league-leading 21st victory of the season.
The night before, Chatham held off Cotuit 11-8 in a wild offensive battle. Tonight was no different, as both the Anglers and Braves offenses were locked in.
One Angler who was particularly locked in at the plate was designated-hitter Connor Joe
(San Diego). Joe blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence on a 3-0 pitch from Braves starter Cody Livingston (Southern Miss) in the first inning to give Chatham an early 2-0 lead.
That would be only the beginning of what would be a mammoth night at the plate for Joe, in which he collected five hits, four RBI, four runs scored, and two massive home runs in five at-bats.
"That's Connor. He has been swinging the bat well all season, and he continued to show it tonight," Schiffner said.
For Joe, it was just like any other night at the plate.
"I really took the same approach in each at-bat that I do every time," Joe said. "Whether I am 5-5 or 0-3, I am confident. To play out here, you have to have confidence."
After Chatham took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Bourne struck back in the bottom half, scoring four runs off of Chatham starter Aaron Garza
(Houston) to take a 4-3 lead.
It would be a back-and-forth game at Doran Park, as Chatham would take the lead back in the second inning behind an RBi double from Joe, and an RBI single from J.D Davis
(Cal State Fullerton), who would then eventually score on an error.
After a tough first inning, Garza settled down and held the Braves bats at bay, only allowing three hits and one run after the first inning.
photo by Chatham Anglers
Connor Joe (San Diego) and Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Barry) were
the players of the game, as Joe went 5-5 and Planas-Arteaga hit
the game-winning three-RBI double.
"It was unbelievable. He took a deep breath, went back out there after the first inning, and really pitched well. Wish we could have gotten the win for him," Schiffner said.
Chatham would eventually extend the lead to 7-4 with help from Joe's second home run, but Bourne would not go down quietly, as they would tie the game in the seventh inning on a two-RBI single from Max Pentecost (Kennesaw St).
Pentecost finished the night with four hits and four RBI.
Bourne threatened for more in the inning, but Dorris came in and silenced the Braves offense. Dorris pitched 2.2 innings of relief, only allowing one hit and striking out two.
Joe led off the ninth inning with a single, and both Davis and Jimmy Pickens
(Michigan State) followed with loud fly-outs to the warning track in center field. Chatham would load the bases, and Planas-Arteaga came through with a double that couldn't be caught.
The 10-7 win was just another example of late inning magic, and how the team continues to grind out games.
"They continued to punch us back, but we continue to get back up off the mat," Schiffner said. "I can not credit the guys enough for all that they have done. Its truly amazing."
With the win, Chatham is now a league-best 21-9-1, which matches the win total from last season. They retained their nine point lead in the Eastern Division over the second-place Harwich Mariners.
The Anglers will return home on Saturday to take on the Falmouth Commodores. First pitch at 7 p.m. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Keith Zubrow at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.
Chris Jones is the Beat Writer and Social Media Manager for the Chatham Anglers. Follow him on twitter at @Chrisjones_UO, and follow the Chatham Anglers at @ChathamAnglers.