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John Schiffner had never seen a game like it. He first came to the Cape 40 years ago as a Harwich Mariner and has now managed the Anglers for 22 years. It had to be something of an anomaly.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen 30 runs. I really don’t think so,” Schiffner said. “It shows me that my team has guts. Man, those guys just don’t want to lose.”
Chatham (6-6-1) beat Yarmouth-Dennis (4-9) 16-14 on Tuesday, in a game that was a boxing match before being shortened due to darkness after eight innings. The winning blow came on a three-run home run by Patrick Mazeika (Stetson) in a five-run top of the eighth, which was just another crooked number on a scoreboard chock full of them.
By the time the Anglers and Red Sox were exchanging uppercuts in the middle innings, the three-run halves traded in the third were in the distant past. The starters, Andrew Chin (Boston College) and Kevin Duchene, were just primers in a game that quickly eluded their dictation. Eight combined errors went from an eye sore to a necessary means to an end.
Zack Burdi (Louisville) recorded two outs in the seventh and earned the win, while Dimitri Kourtis received the loss for the Red Sox. Kyle Davis (Southern California) came on in the eighth and earned the save.
“It was messy out here,” Davis said. “The ball was just flying out at every angle and it’s already a small park.”
Chin and Duchene posted zeroes in both halves of the first, but it was a firefight from there on. Aside from combining for 30 runs, Chatham and Y-D also went for a total 31 hits, six home runs and 10 pitchers used. The Red Sox scored in every inning from the second until the game was called in the eighth, and the Anglers tallied in five frames — including five runs in the eighth and three in the second, fourth and seventh.
The eight errors — five for Y-D and three for Chatham — helped facilitate the collective outburst, but they also came relatively early in the game. As Mazeika put it, “it was just one of those nights,” that became hard to explain.
“That game just had to end,” Mazeika said. “Both teams caught wind of some power and it got out of hand. We weren’t playing more than eight innings, it was already hard to see in the field. We just had to end it.”
So Mazeika took it upon himself. Favre had just come into the game after a Landon Lassiter (North Carolina) double drove in one and put runners on second and third. After throwing three straight balls and then a get-me-over fastball to bring the count to 3-1, Mazeika knew that Favre was coming in with another heater.
He did. He left it up in the zone. And Mazeika lifted it just over the wall in centerfield for this second of the season.
“I didn’t think it was going out,” he said. “But the fence is a little short so any deep fly ball has a chance.”
Lassiter and Chris Shaw (Boston College), who also homered in the game, waited for Mazeika as he rounded third and trotted to the plate. The catcher-first base combo has made a habit of getting on base while maintaining a stern look this summer, but a smile spread across his face as he knocked his helmet into theirs before retreating to the Anglers’ dugout.
And a game that was full of twists and turns would fittingly take one more. As Davis took the mound for the bottom of the eighth, Chatham was racing the dissipating sunlight. If the game was called for darkness before the end of the eighth, the score would revert back to the seventh and Mazeika’s home run would have virtually never happened.
But Davis, after giving up a rare run, struck out Josh Lester on a low breaking ball to punctuate the night. The Anglers beat both the Red Sox and Mother Nature, and neither victory came the conventional way.
“I thought I was going two innings but then they called it,” Davis said. “There was no way I was getting out of that inning without at least giving up one run the way it was going. But I finished it either way.”