It was a long night for the Chatham Anglers (26-17-1) against Orleans at Eldredge Park on Sunday, having to endure eight innings that included a rain delay of over an hour, before finally falling 12-3 to the Firebirds.
"Baseball is a funny game. A week ago, we are running on all cylinders, and now we seem to be sputtering," Manager John Schiffner
said. "I wish I knew what to say to get the guys back to the way we were playing."
The game, which started at 7pm, took over four hours to complete. The game was out of reach for the Anglers early on, though, as Orleans jumped on Chatham starter Jimmy Litchfield
(UC Irvine) for two runs in the first inning, and six in the second inning.
The Anglers would load the bases against Orleans starter Conor Harber (Western Nevada CC), but could not capitalize. The Firebirds would strike first in the next frame, scoring two runs before an out could be recorded.
Orleans would put away the Anglers in the second, exploding for six hits and six runs against Litchfield, who could only record four outs while allowing eight hits, eight runs, and two walks before he was removed.
After the second inning, the rain poured down on Eldredge Park, drenching the field and causing the rain delay. With Orleans needing the win to clinch second place in the East Division, the Firebirds worked feverishly to dry the field and get it ready to finish the game.
The game resumed at 9:40 p.m. after a prolonged rain delay. The Anglers bats woke up after the delay, as Dante Flores
(USC) got Chatham on the board with an RBI triple in the fifth inning. Connor Joe
(San Diego) followed with an RBI single, scoring Flores and cutting the Orleans lead to 8-2.
(South Carolina- Upstate) was great in relief, only allowing two hits and one run while striking out five over three innings pitched.
Down 10-2 in the seventh inning, Jimmy Pickens
(Michigan State) jacked his seventh home run of the season to give Chatham it's third run of the game.
With the Anglers down 12-3 in the eighth inning, the game was called due to the league curfew, which states that a new inning can not be started after 11:30 p.m.
Despite the loss, Schiffner likes how his team bounced back after the long delay.
"We showed some fight, and did some things that I liked late in the game," Schiffner said. "We always seem to put up a might no matter the situation."
The Anglers, currently on a five-game losing streak, now turn their attention to the playoffs, where they will take on the Y-D Red Sox.
Despite the loss, the Anglers were still able to clinch the President's Cup Trophy, an award given to the team with the best regular season record in the Cape League.
(Texas) will be on the mound in game one for the Anglers at Veterans Field. Pickens and the team have confidence in their chances with Schiraldi getting the start.
"He is our ace, and has been this season," Pickens said. "We feel good when he is on the mound."
Having won only three of their last seven games, the Anglers will need to refocus on their off day before they start the three-game playoff series.
"We have an off-day tomorrow, so that will help us reflect and refocus on the playoffs," Pickens said. "We know we can get the job done. We have ten days left, and hopefully this summer won't end sooner than later. I think we have a good chance at making a deep playoff run."
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.