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After a four-game losing streak that brought its record to 1-4, Chatham inched back into second place in the East Division with an assuring week. And at the epicenter of the team’s early-season resurgence has been its starting pitchers, whose results just barely outweigh their ever-present rapport.
“Oh they’ve been a big boost,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said of his starting staff. “Guys that come here should be able to shut down opponents and that’s just what they’ve done.”
The Anglers (4-5-1) will travel to face Yarmouth-Dennis (4-8) at Red Wilson Field at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and Andrew Chin (Boston College) will look to continue the on-mound success. The Red Sox are in the basement of the East Division and have the league’s worst team batting average at .223, a perfect chance for the starting pitching to stay on the upswing. Kevin Duchene is expected to start for the Y-D, the same pitcher that threw against Chatham last Wednesday.
The Anglers beat Yarmouth-Dennis 4-1 in that game, and used five strong innings from Jordan Hillyer (Kennesaw State) to do so.
“It’s the competition that has kept the pitching going,” Bryan Goossens (Siena) said after Chatham split a doubleheader with Wareham on Sunday. “We all support each other but at the same time, no one wants to pitch worse than the guy before them. So then it just carries over from there.”
In the last seven days, four Anglers staters threw four or more innings and have a 0.00 to show. Those pitchers are Hillyer, Max Tishman (Wake Forest), Charlie Dant (Dayton) and Zac Gallen (North Carolina), and all but Gallen also earned a win. And it was Gallen who arguably pitched the best of the group, giving up three hits and no runs in six innings of work in an eventual tie at Falmouth. Additionally, P.J. Conlon (San Diego) and Jeff Burke (Boston College) were impressive while splitting a start at Harwich, as their contrasting styles proved a puzzling equation for the Mariners.
Now Chin will bear the torch for the third time this season. He’s 1-0 and Chatham has won both games he’s started, most recently a 6-2 win over Orleans where he threw six innings and gave up two runs.
Before Sunday’s doubleheader, Chin — one of the team’s returning players — was asked how it is playing with three of his college teammates. After saying that he definitely enjoys it, he added that he, as well as Burke, Chris Shaw (Boston College) and Blake Butera (Boston College), all like to branch out and take the opportunity to get closer with other guys. That mindset has been no more apparent then with the pitching staff, as the starters and bullpen have messed into both a cohesive, well-oiled machine.
When Tishman jogged to the dugout after 5.1 innings of work against Falmouth, it was closer Kyle Davis (Southern California) that stood at the top step and brought him into a bear hug. Dant made his first start just two days after arriving in Cape Cod and said that the other pitchers took him under their wings right away. When Goossens started against Wareham a low “Gooooos” could be heard from the left-field bullpen after each out. When Garrett Williams (Oklahoma State) — or “the wolf,” as his teammates call him — relieved Gooossens, “Gooooos” was replaced by a chorus of howls.
The pitchers are having fun and the box scores are mirroring that.
“We are all so close,” Tishman said. “We take pride in keeping teams of the board and have become close doing that.”