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Chatham’s bullpen played musical chairs and it was just what it needed to preserve a one-run lead.
After Garrett Williams (Oklahoma State) gave up one run on three hits in six innings and Lou Distasio (Rhode Island ) yielded a run in the seventh, Anglers manager John Schiffner mixed and match his arms in the final two frames. Max Tishman (Wake Forest) — who has only taken the mound as a starter this summer — came on for one hitter and hot him to ground out to start the eighth. Then Jordan Hillyer (Kennesaw State), who is 4-0 as a starter and will start for the East Division in the All Star game on Sunday, came on for a one-two-three save.
The use of two starters, planned or not, was as wacky as it was successful, and a much needed result from the entire staff.
“That’s how you pitch and it got the job done,” Schiffner said. “Garrett was just great starting and it was huge for Tishman to come and get that lefty out. We needed that. Then Jordan comes in to close it and we have all the confidence in him.”
Chatham (15-20-1) rode five different arms to a 3-2 win over Hyannis (15-21) at McKeon Park on Thursday night. Williams started and got the win, and Distasio, Tishman, Jeff Gelinas (Maine) and Hillyer helped hold the Harbor Hawks to four total hits. Hyannis starter Peter Fairbanks received the loss after giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings of work.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak and was complemented by a Brewster loss later in the night, which widens the Anglers’ lead over the last-place Whitecaps to six points. Chatham and Brewster will square off at Veterans Field at 7 p.m. on Friday, which can be pegged as the biggest game of the summer for both sides.
“We didn’t hit as well as we could’ve,” said Schiffner, hinting at his team scoring just three runs on 10 hits. “But we did what we had to do to get the win.”
After failing to throw four full innings his first two starts this season, Williams brought his good stuff in his third try. The left-hander has also moonlighted as a situational reliever and designated hitter for the Anglers, and said after the game that he’s had to, at times, shift his preparation on a night-to-night basis.
But Williams’ role was clearly defined against Hyannis and he relished in it. He used three groundouts to retire the side in order in the first and allowed the only run on his line on a two-out single by Donnie Dewees Jr. Only one Harbor Hawk reached second base in his final three innings and he exited with the Anglers leading 3-1.
“My arm felt really good tonight,” Williams said. “I think I had fastball command tonight and when you have fastball command you can work deep into games. Even though my secondary stuff wasn’t as good my fastball was good and that’s what got me through the six innings.”
It took just seven Fairbanks pitches for Chatham to construct an early lead. Mitchell Gunsolus (Gonzaga) singled on his first offering of the game and Ty Moore (UCLA) was by a pitch on his third. Then A.J. Murray (Georgia Tech) singled in Gunsolus before Chris Shaw (Boston College) doubled in Moore, and the Anglers scored its third and final run on a Nick Collins (Georgetown) single in the third.
That was all Chatham needed to snap another skid and nudge farther away from Brewster and closer to a playoff spot. Hillyer used two strikeouts and a fly out to center to close the game out, a strong performance in a different role that was a fitting end.
Said Hillyer: “I haven’t closed a game in awhile, but I didn’t mind it.”