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Landon Lassiter (North Carolina) stood five steps up the first-base line and smiled in disbelief. When his bat connected with a Jason Inghram fastball, it sounded like the kind of hit that would take a sizable bite out of the Mariners’ early lead.
But a less-than-comforting sound came a beat later. The sound of the ball sticking to the webbing of Inghram’s glove. The lefty stabbed the line drive out of the air and turned the would-have-been two-run single into an inning-ending double play.
“Landon hits the ball hard and we just get unlucky,” first baseman A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) said. “We had good at-bats all night but sometimes that just doesn’t turn into a lot of runs.”
Chatham (7-7-1) fell 10-4 to first-place Harwich (11-4) at Veterans Field on Friday night, after scoring 29 runs in its prior two contests. The Anglers won both of those games, but couldn’t overcome an early 7-0 deficit despite collecting 13 hits in another attempt to win three straight.
Zac Gallen (North Carolina) struggled in his second start of the season, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 1.2 innings of work. That brings his overall record to 0-1, after he pitched a near perfect six innings in an eventual tie at Harwich on June 20.
“Coming off a day off maybe we just weren’t 100 percent there,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said. “We didn’t play badly, I go back to games we lost two weeks ago and then we didn’t look like a good baseball team. They competed and did alright tonight.”
Schiffner referenced losses to Wareham and Orleans from earlier in the season, when his team was stumbling through a four-game losing streak. But now that the Anglers are snapped out of the early-summer lull, their losses have shifted from clearcut to competitive.
After striking out the first two hitters in the Mariners’ order to start the game, Gallen had trouble getting the third out of the frame. Four straight hits — including three singles and a double — plated three runs, and a fluke error by Murray brought home one more. Gallen then came out for the second but was pulled for Bryan Goossens (Siena) before getting out of a jam that Goossens later defused.
Goossens struck out five hitters — including Angelo Amendolare to end the second — in just two innings of work, and gave up one run.
“Fastball felt good again,” Goossens said, referring back to his start against Wareham last weekend. “I was able to break some bats and get it in on the hands and they weren’t hitting anything too hard. I left a slider over which let them get one, but other than that all good.”
As for the offense, Murray took center stage with a home run and RBI single. The home run came in the bottom of the third and brought home Ty Moore (UCLA) — who extended his hitting streak to seven in the game — and cut the Mariners’ lead to five. Then his single a frame later cut it to four, but the Anglers wouldn’t get any closer than that.
Chatham enjoyed its fair share of hitting on the road against Yarmouth-Dennis and Bourne, and an untimely off day could have cooled it off a tad. But even though just four runs crossed the plate against Harwich, 13 and a solid performance by the bullpen is something to take into the rest of the weekend.
“It’s definitely about streaks this league,” Schiffner said. “One team gets hot and then another does. I liked what we did at the plate, guys are continuing to hit well.”