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CHATHAM, Mass. – Sometimes it doesn’t matter how it gets done as much as that it gets done. Heading into Sunday’s contest between the Chatham Anglers (22-22) and Orleans Firebirds (31-12-1), the Anglers needed a win or a Mariner loss to secure a position in the 2015 Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs. Ultimately the Anglers lost the battle at Veterans Field, but the depth of their previous performance and a bit of luck proved to be enough to secure an opportunity for the squad to head to the post season.
“Absolutely [we would’ve liked to win this one,]” said Manager John Schiffner. “But we’re in. We put ourselves in that position by playing well all three previous quarters—particularly the second and third.”
The Orleans offense had produced more runs than any other Cape League team this year coming into the contest, and the core of the Firebird lineup again demonstrated why in their 8-4 win. The pivotal swing was a three-run home run from the player who has hit more home runs than any other Cape Leaguer this season— Bobby Dalbec (Arizona). Dalbec’s efforts were supplemented by Willie Abreu (Miami) and Tres Barrera (Texas), who each added an RBI of their own.
The Chatham offense did not equal the outburst of their classic rivals, but the Angler bats were by no means silent. The first big blow was a stand-up, two run double from Kyle Brooks (North Florida). The bullet in the right-center gap brought drove in Nate Mondou (Wake Forest) and Zack Short (Sacred Heart), who finish the season with 16 and 14 runs respectively.
“I got up there, saw the ball well, and I drove it to right field,” said Brooks. “You have to just let it happen sometimes in baseball, and that’s what I did there.”
The Angler bats kept rolling in the bottom of the seventh when Zack Short (Sacred Heart) drew a bases-loaded walk, and Nate Mondou added another with a sacrifice fly.
The Chatham offense enlisted the work of 13 position players through the course of the game, including Will Craig (Wake Forest) who finishes with the team lead in: runs batted in (21), runs (17), bases on balls (23), and doubles (5). Among a number of others, the Anglers also enlisted the services of Luke Persico, who finishes as the team leader in home runs (3), and Trenton Brooks (Nevada), who finishes tied with Craig for the team lead in hits (32).
The Anglers next face the Firebirds for the third consecutive game when they open a best-of-three playoff series 7 p.m. at Eldredge Park. Chatham is expected to start Zac Gallen (North Carolina). The right-hander was one of two Chatham pitchers to receive the Ed Baird Outstanding Pitcher of the Year Award as one of the most outstanding Angler pitchers this year. He threw six scoreless innings against Orleans on July 3, the only time he faced the Firebirds this year. Orleans will likely counter with their ace, Mitchell Jordan (Stetson). His is 6-0 with an 0.20 ERA. The one earned run he surrendered all year (43 innings) came on July 18 against Chatham.