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A solo home run from Carl Wise inched Hyannis ahead in the top of the fourth and was met with a familiar air of deflation. But two halves later, after a Kal Simmons’ (Kennesaw State) walk brought in Nick Collins (Georgetown), A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) broke the game — and a six-game losing streak — wide open with a three-run double to left-center field.
It was about time the scoreboard tilted the Anglers’ way and a crooked number, albeit long overdue, finally flipped the switch.
“It really feels good to get this one, I mean they’ve been trying hard,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said. “We put everything together and I am happy that the kids rewarded themselves for that.”
The Anglers’ (13-15-1) five-run bottom of the fifth helped it to an 8-1 win over the Harbor Hawks (12-17) at Veterans Field on Monday night — their first win since beating Hyannis at McKeon Park two Sundays ago.
Andrew Chin (Boston College) earned the win after starting and giving up one run in five innings, and Harbor Hawks’ starter Brakerman received the loss. Chin started Opening Day for Chatham — and is the apt option to slap a Band-Aid on a week-long wound as a result — didn't see himself as a “stopper” coming into the game. But that’s exactly what he was.
“I think all the starting pitchers on this team are stoppers," the lefty said. "You go against such good lineups every night that everyone is tested but while I was privileged to start Opening Day I don’t see myself as the stopper. We all are, and I just tried to go out there and give my team a chance to win.”
Chin’s simple approach yielded the satisfied result. He allowed a runner to reach base in all five innings he threw, and that trend started when the first two batters of the game reached second and third. He got out of that jam with fly outs to third, first and right, and his defusing of the first-inning threat was a microcosm of his night. The only lasting mistake came on Wise’s home run, and when he exited the game his teammates went to work — a five-run frame turning his war-like night into a winning decision.
“It’s not supposed to be easy. Never is in this league,” Chin said.
Collins started the decisive fifth with a single, and the rally took shape when Bryant Burleson (Texas Tech) reached on a bunt that was kicked around on the first-base line. Back-to-back walks to Landon Cray (Seattle) and Simmons brought home the first run, then Murray smacked the hit the Anglers have been searching for.
The last time Hyannis visited Chatham, Murray hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th that sent 28 Anglers flying about the field. His fifth-inning double looked like it could be a grand slam off the bat — he said after the game that he barely missed getting all of it — but it bounced just in front of the wall to start up the merry-go-round. Burleson made it home easy, but by the time Cray was rounding third Simmons was on his tail.
Cray slid in feet first and Simmons came in head first a second later, and it was a frenzy that fittingly muted Chatham’s futility.
“That allowed us to just play loose and forget about the six straight losses,” Collins said. “You could just feel it that we started having more fun when we got that inning.”
Collins homered to leadoff the sixth and a two-run single by Ty Moore (UCLA) iced the cake in the eighth. Zack Burdi (Louisville), Lou Distasio (Rhode Island) and Kyle Davis (Southern California) made quick work out of the bullpen. The Anglers jogged to their postgame huddle with a swiftness that, at one point in the past week, seemed forever lost in the turn from June to July.
A big inning plus staff-wide stinginess was a resurfacing of the winning equation that often dotted the front end of Chatham’s schedule, and it proved successful once again.
Said Chin: “I was just really happy with the whole team effort tonight.”