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The bandaid was ripped off. The dominoes fell. The floodgates, if only for an inning, finally let some water in.
However you want to say it, Nick Collins’ (Georgetown) single in the bottom of the third proved to be the hit Chatham needed to wake up its bats and get back in the win column. As the ball sailed past second base and into the grass in shallow center field, two runs came across — and another would follow on an error — to give the Anglers their first lead in 34.2 innings.
“It felt good to come up with a big hit and just get us rolling,” Collins said. “After that everybody just got feeling good and we strung some hits together. The hitting in this league is definitely contagious.”
It was only five days ago that Chatham manager John Schiffner was saying hitting was contagious, then in lieu of Wareham when it plated 13 runs to hand the Anglers the first of four straight losses. But the saying applied to the hosts on Tuesday night, as Chatham (2-4) snapped its skid and beat Brewster (3-3) 6-2 at Veterans Field.
Andrew Chin (Boston College) earned the win with a clinical pitching performance, throwing five innings and giving up two runs. Whitecaps’ starter Cody Ponce was credited with the loss, giving up five unearned runs in the third inning that woke the Anglers out of their early-season slumber.
“That’s a good game and the pitching staff was great,” Schiffner said. “Chin did a great job.”
Chin walked the first runner of the game before striking out the next two, and got himself out of the top of the first with a pickoff move. He then pitched a perfect second before Brewster was able to scratch one across on a wild pitch in the third, but the offense reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the frame.
Chris Shaw (Boston College) started the long awaited rally with a walk, and A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) and Jake Fraley (LSU) followed by reaching on an error and single, respectively. Then Collins plated three runs before two more came across in the inning, an RBI single by Garrett Hampson (Long Beach State) and error by shortstop Travis Maezes providing the second and third punch.
Just like that, the Veterans Field scoreboard — and just about everything else — tilted the Anglers’ way for the first time this season.
“You could just hear the dugout let out a big sigh of relief,” said second baseman Blake Butera (Boston College). “We just all started smiling and let loose and felt like, ‘Alright, here we go.’”
The shutout inning didn’t come easy for Chin, but the lefty stranded two Whitecaps before becoming the first Chatham starter to pitch into the sixth this year. But he was promptly relieved by Jeff Gelinas (Maine) after giving up a single, and took a slow stroll to the dugout before an applauding crowd.
Gelinas gave up just one hit in two innings of work before Kyle Davis (Southern California) allowed just a walk in a scoreless ninth — a two-man relief effort that complemented great outings from Chin and the Anglers' offense.
“They were great, just awesome,” Chin said of Gelinas and Davis. “That’s what you look for, just came in and set guys down.”
After the game, as fog started to roll into Veterans Field, Chatham had a collective swagger in its step. The postgame handshake line had an unusual pace. There was both laughing and clapping in the postgame huddle. The players took a bee line to a table of food down the left-field line and laughed in the bullpen while they ate.
If nothing else, the win did more for the Anglers’ psyche than standing. It hinted at what the team can be when its working parts work. And it presented Fraley, who wasn’t with Chatham for its last win nearly a week ago, with a rejuvenated squad.
“It was defintiely good to get one,” Fraley said. “The thing before the game was that we just needed to get one, and we did.”