The Anglers fell to the Orleans Firebirds 7-3 in Game One of the East Division Championship Series, and now face elimination tomorrow.
"We have bounced back all season, so I am confident we can do it again," Manager John Schiffner
said. "We got beat tonight, plain and simple."
The Firebirds struck early and often against Chatham starter Matt Gage
(Siena), jumping on him for three hits and two runs before Gage could get out of the first inning.
Box Score East Division Championship Game 1: Chatham 3, Orleans 7
Gage could only record four outs in his start, as he was taken out after allowing another run. After two innings, the Firebirds had a commanding 4-0 lead.
(SC-Upstate) came in to relieve Gage in the second inning, and after allowing a bases-loaded walk to his first batter, he dominated Orleans hitters.
In 3.2 innings of relief, Sobotka only allowed one hit while striking out six, including striking out the side in the fourth inning, and five consecutive batters.
photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers
Chad Sobotka (SC-Upstate) was dominant in relief
striking out six over 3.2 scoreless innings.
"I attacked them with my fastball, and once I got my control working, It was great," Sobotka said.
With his dominant outing, Sobotka dropped his season earned run average to an impressive 1.95, and now has 30 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched.
"He did a nice job for us when we needed him," Schiffner said.
The Anglers made Orleans pay for their mistakes, scoring all three of their runs on errors by the Firebirds.
Chatham got on the board in the fourth inning when a tailor-made double play turned into an error that scored J.D Davis
(Cal State Fullerton). They would add another run on a double play that scored Jimmy Pickens
After leading off the fifth inning with a double, Blake Butera
(Boston College) scored Chathams third run of the night on an errant throw to first base that should have been the third out.
Only trailing 4-3, the Anglers would threaten once again in the seventh inning with runners on first and second base with two outs for the dangerous Davis, but Orleans relievers Jeremy Rhoades (Illinois State) got him to chase on a strike three that ended the threat.
That would be as close as Chatham would get, as Orleans plated three runs in the eighth inning to break the game open to a 7-3 lead.
Chatham could not muster anything else, and Orleans would walk away with the all-important game one victory.
Chatham now has their backs against the wall, and now will look to keep their season alive tomorrow, as they travel to Eldredge Park for game two.
(Houston) will make the most important start of his summer as he looks to keep the Anglers alive in the playoffs.
Garza is still searching for his first win of the season, but there would be no better time to earn it in game two of the East Division Championship Series.
"We need to get him his first victory," Sobotka said. "He has thrown well, we just need to get him some run support to get him going."
After the loss, Schiffners message to the team was simple.
"We have to win our four straight games, lets go," Schiffner said.
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.