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Anglers Claim President's Cup Trophy: Regular Season in Review

by Chris Jones
Monday, August 05, 2013

Anglers Claim President's Cup Trophy: Regular Season in Review
The regular season has ended for the 2013 Chatham Anlgers (26-17-1). It has been a season of ups and downs, but mostly ups for the Anglers, as they clinched a playoff spot, won the East Division regular season title, secured the best record in the Cape League.

Manager John Schiffner and the Anglers now stand only six wins away from winning their first Cape League title since 1998.

"This team has been special," Schiffner said. "It has been a great season so far. It has been so much fun as a manager to see the coaches work, and to see this group of guys go out and play."

Coming into the season, Schiffner and the Anglers had not had a winning season since 2007, when they went 25-16-3.

The 2013 campaign started with a bang for Chatham, as they went 6-0 to begin the season. The Anglers kicked off the home season with a walk-off 4-3 win against Cotuit, where Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Barry) drove in the winning run in the home opener. Chatham then followed it up with another walk-off victory the next night against Brewster, when Dante Flores (USC) was the hero.

photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
Jimmy Pickens (Michigan St) has provided the power in the
middle of the Chatham order. He is second in the league
with seven home runs.
The 2013 season has had a flair for the dramatic, as the Anglers have won in walk-off fashion five separate times.

The most dramatic of the walk-off wins came on July 31, when the Anglers trailed the Y-D Red Sox 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Chatham had nobody on and were down to their final strike, but went on to tie the game with four runs in the frame, then won it on a bases-loaded squeeze bunt by Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) in the 10th inning.

"It was not the call from the coaches. I just took what I saw and thought bunting would score the run," Pickens said. "Luckily, I laid down a good bunt, it worked, and we won the game."

The comeback victory clinched Chatham's first East Division regular season title since 2001.

The miracle comeback against the Red Sox would be the last win of the regular season for Chatham, as they endured a rough stretch to end the season, losing each of the last five games.

Pickens has been a mainstay in the middle of the Anglers order throughout the season. On the season, Pickens has hit for a .307 average with a team-leading 23 RBI, 13 walks, seven home runs, and a team-leading 11 stolen bases.

Joining Pickens in the potent middle of the Chatham lineup is Connor Joe (San Diego) and J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton). Davis, Joe, and Pickens are second, third, and fourth in the team in hitting, respectively.

Joe is hitting .308 on the season with 22 RBI, 13 walks, and three home runs this season. Davis was a late arrival for Chatham, but has helped lead the offense with a .311 average, three home runs, 18 walks, and 19 RBI.

photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) has been the ace for the
Anglers during the regular season.
Davis also made five appearances out of the bullpen, not allowing an earned run and striking out seven over 4.2 innings pitched, recording two saves along the way.

Dante Flores has been a revelation for the Anglers this season. After struggling in his first year with Chatham, Flores has had a breakout year, leading the team with a .317 batting average, 13 doubles, and 19 RBI.

On the other side, the Anglers pitching staff has been great on the season, and have been one of the reasons behind all of the Anglers success.

Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) has been the ace for Chatham. He led the Cape League with a 1.20 ERA in seven starts this season, striking out 27 and only allowing five earned runs over 37.2 innings. He will get the start for Chatham in the first game of the playoff series against Y-D

Mitch Merten (UC Irvine) has been stellar out of the bullpen, only allowing one run and striking out 20 over 17.1 innings pitched this season.

Kyle Funkhouser (Louisville) leads the team in saves this season with four, but seven Anglers have recorded a save so far in 2013.

After an impressive regular season, Schiffner and the Anglers now turn their sights to the playoffs, where they will take on the Y-D Red Sox (20-22-2) in the first round. Chatham is 4-1-1 against the Red Sox this season.

"We have got 10 days left before the end of the season, but we are hoping this summer doesn't end too soon," Pickens said. "We have got some business to finish, and hopefully we can win a championship."

First pitch at 7 p.m from Veterans Field. Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:30 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.