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Rivalry Renewed: Anglers take on Orleans in Division Championship Series

by Chris Jones
Friday, August 09, 2013

Rivalry Renewed: Anglers take on Orleans in Division Championship Series
The Chatham Anglers made quick work of the Y-D Red Sox in the East Division Series, sweeping them in two games, and only trailing for half an inning over the span of the series.

"We are on a roll right now. Our offense is clicking and our pitching is getting the job done," J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton) said.

Davis and the Anglers now turn their sights to the East Division Championship Series, where they will take on the rival Orleans Firebirds.

These two last met in the playoffs in 2005, when Orleans defeated Chatham two games to one before claiming the Cape League title.

The Anglers are only 2-4 against the Firebirds this season, but Chatham has turned on the switch in the playoffs, outscoring Y-D by the score of 15-4 in the first round.

Looking to grab the victory in the all-important game one, Manager John Schiffner will hand the ball to his all-star pitcher Matt Gage (Siena).

On the season, Gage has been a model of consistency, only allowing more than three earned runs once this season. He holds a 4-2 record with a 3.89 earned run average, with 25 strikeouts and only seven walks over 34.2 innings pitched.

photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
Matt Gage (Siena) will look to remain consistent and help
the Anglers get the win in a crucial Game One.

Instead of spending Gage in a winner-take-all game three against Y-D, the Anglers took care of business against the Red Sox, earning the series sweep, and now will get to use Gage in the crucial game one.

With Gage on the mound, the Anglers feel good about their chances against the Firebirds.

"If he does what made him an all-star, pounding the strike zone, mixing his pitches, and staying within himself, he will be just fine," Davis said. "We feel confident with him on the mound."

Opposing Gage on the mound will be Orleans right-hander Corey Miller (Pepperdine), who has a 5-1 record on the season with a 3.20 ERA, 18 strikeouts, and only five walks over 39.1 innings pitched this season.

Miller's last start of the regular season came against Chatham, when he shut out the Anglers over five innings, allowing six hits, one walk, and striking out three in the 1-0 Orleans victory on August 3.

Despite his impressive record, opposing batters have a .308 batting average against Miller.

The key to the game for the Anglers, as it has been for the entire season, will be scoring first. Chatham is an undefeated 21-0 this season when they get on the scoreboard first, including a perfect 2-0 in the East Division Series against Y-D.

The unsung hero of the first round was infielder Blake Butera (Boston College), who hit only .196 during the regular season, but leads the team in hitting with four hits, an RBI, and two runs scored during the playoffs.

Davis, as he has all season, has provided the power for Chatham. He hammered Y-D pitching in the division series, collecting five RBI in two games, including a monster grand slam in game two that broke the game open and secured the Chatham sweep.

Orleans has won four Cape League titles during the modern era, while Chatham has won five, with their most recent coming in 1998.

With only four more wins needed to win that coveted Cape League Championship trophy, the Anglers are feeling confident.

"We have a good team. No matter who we face, if we play our game, we will be a tough team to beat," Schiffner said.

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.