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Struggling Anglers Return Home to take on Red-Hot Firebirds

by Chris Jones
Saturday, August 03, 2013

Struggling Anglers Return Home to take on Red-Hot Firebirds
The Chatham Anglers have clinched a playoff spot, and the East Division regular season title, but they have struggled of late, losing four of their last five games, and three-straight.

With only two games left in the regular season, the Anglers are looking to head into the playoffs on a winning note.

We have been a little flat lately, Manager John Schiffner said. I do not think the players have much incentive to play for the rest of the regular season, but we do not want to go into the playoffs on a losing streak.

The road will not get any easier for the struggling Anglers, as they will take on the Orleans Firebirds in a home-and-home series to end the regular season, with the first game coming at Veterans Field on Saturday night.

While the Anglers sit ahead of the Firebirds in the standings, the two teams seem to be going in opposite directions lately. The Firebirds are an impressive 8-1-1 in their last ten games, while the first-place Anglers are a discouraging 4-6 during that span.

Chatham has already clinched the first-place spot in the East Division, while Orleans sits in second place, one point ahead of third-place Harwich.

photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton) has helped lead Chatham.
He now leads the team in hitting with a .323 average
Schiffner will turn to right-hander Dominic Moreno (Texas Tech), looking to get Chatham back on track before the playoffs against the red-hot Firebirds. Moreno will make his first start as an Angler, but it will likely be a staff day, as Schiffner is setting up the rotation for the playoffs.

On the season, Moreno is 3-0 with a 3.06 earned run average, striking out 16 and only allowing two walks in 14.2 innings pitched. Moreno has only given up two earned runs in his last seven appearances for Chatham.

The final two regular season games will be staff days, Schiffner said. We are just trying to get all of our bullpen guys some work, and set up our three starters for the playoffs.

J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton) leads the team in hitting with a .323 batting average. He blasted his third homerun of the season in Saturdays loss to Cotuit, and now has 19 RBI on the season.

Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) and Mitch Gunsolus (Gonzaga) has been on a tear at the plate, hitting .435 and .389 over the past week, respectively. Pickens has three home runs and eight RBI during that span, and Gunsolus has reached in every one of his last 15 games.

With the recent departure of center-fielder Brett Bell (Texas Tech) due to injury, the Anglers have a new addition in outfielder Ryan Plourde (Fairfield).

Plourde spent the summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, playing for the New Bedford Bay Sox. On the season, he hit .292 with 20 RBI, 31 walks, and 35 runs scored.

For Orleans, infielder Ross Kivett (Kansas State) has lead the offense during their recent hot-streak. He leads the team in hitting by far with a .341 batting average. On the season, Kivett has three home runs, 16 RBI, and 17 runs scored.

With one more win, the Anglers will clinch the Presidents Trophy, the award given to the Cape League team with the best regular season. One more win will also clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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.