Chatham Bounces Back, Beats Bourne in Rain-Soaked Matchup
by Chris Jones Thursday, July 25, 2013
The rain and rough weather conditions at Veterans Field on Thursday night could not hold back the Chatham Anglers (24-10-1), as they got back to their winning ways with a 7-3 victory over the Bourne Braves.
The Anglers have only had two losing streaks this entire season, one that lasted four games and the other only lasting two. Manager John Schiffner and the Anglers made sure that they would not start a third.
"These guys do not like to lose," Schiffner said. "They are baseball players. They put whatever happened the day before behind them, and focus on the next game ahead."
Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) got the scoring started, and gave Chatham a 1-0 lead on a home run to right field, his third of the season.
"It was a quick at-bat. He left the second pitch over the plate and I got the best of it," Pickens said.
Bourne struck right back in the next frame with an RBI single from Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State), tying the game at 1-1.
Chatham played small ball in the fourth inning, and it paid dividends. Jimmy Pickens would start the frame with a bunt single, then after a double from Michael Russell (North Carolina), Pickens scored on a suicide squeeze bunt from Brett Bell (Texas Tech) that worked to perfection.
The Anglers would get two more runs in the inning behind a sacrifice-fly from Blake Butera (Boston College) and an RBI single from Landon Lassiter (North Carolina) to give them a 4-1 lead.
photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers Dominic Moreno (Texas Tech) powered through the rain and threw three scoreless innings of relief.
Andrew McGee (Monmouth) was solid in his seventh start for the Anglers, giving up three runs and striking out five over four innings pitched.
It could have been a lot worse for McGee, as he left the game in the fifth inning after loading the bases with no outs and one run already in, but Dominic Moreno (Texas Tech) came in and shut down the Braves.
With the game at 4-2, Moreno prevented a big inning for Bourne by striking out Pentecost, who leads the league in hitting, for the first out, then minimized the damage by getting a sac-fly and a flyout to end the threat. One run crossed, but Chatham preserved their lead.
"My mentality was just to keep the lead, only allow that one run to score, and prevent a big inning," Moreno said.
It was a momentum swing for the Anglers, as they protected their lead, then padded it with two runs in the next inning behind another RBI single from Lassiter, and a sac-fly from Dante Flores (USC).
"It was really a punch, counter-punch situation for us," Schiffner said. "Moreno stopped the bleeding, then we came back and took control back by scoring two runs."
As the rain poured down on Veterans Field, Moreno kept the Braves offense silent, only allowing one hit, striking out three over three innings of relief, and picking up his third win of the season.
David Speer (Columbia) would follow suit, only allowing two hits and striking out two over the final two innings. He picked up his first save for the Anglers, and became the seventh pitcher to record a save this season for Chatham.
Chatham added another insurance run in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Butera, and would go home with the 7-3 win, their league-leading 24th victory of the season.
The Anglers got good production from their North Carolina players, as Lassiter finished the night with two hits and two RBI, and Russell collected two hits and scored two runs.
Brett Bell also had a productive night with two hits, two runs scored, and his first RBI of the season.
With the win, Chatham maintained their 12 point lead over second-place Harwich, and now only need three more wins to clinch at least a share of the Eastern Division title. With their first division title since 2001 well within reach, the Anglers are staying focused on each and every game.
"Of course it would be awesome to win a Division title because that is one of the goals for us, but we just have to keep working and playing the way we are," Pickens said.