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John Schiffner and Mitchell Gunsolus (Gonzaga) offered the same three words after the Anglers broke from their postgame huddle.
Hitting is contagious. And before both Schiffner and Gunsolus said so, they looked at the Veterans Field scoreboard that used a handful of lit-up squares to detail Wareham’s relentless offensive effort on the night.
“Wareham looks like they’re going to be pretty good this year,” said Schiffner, Chatham’s manager. “That’s a good team, I think they might be in the thick of things this year.”
The Gatemen (1-1) exploded for 17 hits — with each player in their starting lineup collecting one — in an eventual 13-3 victory over Chatham (1-1) on Thursday night. After the Anglers worked back to a tie after falling behind early on, Wareham used the fifth and six innings to build a nine-run wall that Chatham couldn’t climb.
Left-handed reliever Anthony Kay earned the win for the Gatemen after stepping in for starter Nick Fuller and tossing three scoreless innings. Mike Wallace (Fairfield), who was the first to come out of the Chatham pen, was hooked for the loss. He threw two-thirds of an inning and yielded four runs after relieving Anglers starter Jeff Burke (Boston College).
“I think myself and a lot of the pitchers did a poor job getting ahead of hitters,” said Burke, who gave up three runs in four innings of work. “We got behind in counts and let them sit on fastballs.”
Wareham jumped out to a 3-0 lead that started with a two-run home run by Keaton Aldridge in the second — the first at Veterans Field this season. But the Anglers responded and erased the early deficit with a three-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.
A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) started the inning with a double, Patrick Mazeika (Stetson) reached on a misplayed ball in center and Matt Peters (California-Pennsylvania) legged out a bobbled ball at third. Then the bottom of the order made the Gatemen pay for the miscues, as Nick Collins (Georgetown) and Gunsolus traded RBI singles before Donnie Cimino (Wesleyan) capped off the comeback with a sacrifice fly.
Cimino was greeted in front of the dugout by a series of high fives, and momentum briefly shifted into an equilibrium. But after Fuller retired the Anglers in the fourth the Gatemen embarked on a two-inning excursion that put the Anglers away.
Chatham’s bats died down as Wareham’s heated up, which later proved to be an abiding swap of strength.
“After we tied it it was pretty downhill from there,” Gunsolus said.
The top of the fifth and six each started with Jake Little, the Gatemen’s leadoff hitter, and ended with Justin Brock, who started in the nine-hole. Wareham brought 18 hitters to the plate in the two frames while plating a back-breaking nine runs, a combination of Wallace and lefty Alex Katz (St. John’s) sharing the load on the mound.
The two-inning rally pushed the score to 12-3 and the Anglers couldn’t pull themselves back into the game a second time. Jeff Gelinas (Maine) made his first appearance of the year and was solid in three innings, a ninth-inning home run by Little the only blemish on his line.
As Gelinas helped drive the game to a conclusion Chatham couldn’t chip into the Gatemen’s lead. Ryan Olson struck out three Anglers looking in the bottom of the eighth before three more went down quietly in the ninth, and Schiffner acknowledged that not hitting can be just as contagious as the firepower Wareham caught wind of Thursday night. The Anglers will quickly have a chance to get back on track on the road against Harwich at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Said Schiffner: “We got beat. Sometimes you just get beat.”