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Chatham, Mass. — Friday night’s game began with a happy moment for John Schiffner. The manager had the honor of throwing out the first pitch and was caught by a former player of his, Jeffrey Yocum. Yocum played under Schiffner during Chatham's 1982 championship season and said during his mid-game interview with the Anglers’ broadcasting team that returning to Veterans Field was "on the bucket list.” The moment was a special one for Schiffner as a smile beamed across the manager's face with every interaction with Yocum.
“It shows what this community has done for the kids,” said Schiffner. “He took the time to come back here and just see. He was so pleased at what he saw, how much it hasn’t changed. It’s special. What you always like to say it’s the Chatham experience.”
However, while the return of the former player brought joy to the skipper, the Anglers on the field product soured Schiffner’s mood as Chatham dropped its fourth straight game, this time 10-0 to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
The Anglers’ (8-10) bats were kept quiet – stringing together five hits – thanks in large part to nine combined strikeouts from the Hyannis pitching staff. Alex Eubanks (2-0) earned the win for the Harbor Hawks (8-10), sitting down five Anglers on strikes while allowing four hits over six shutout innings.
Though the Harbor Hawks had won seven of their last ten games entering the contest, Schiffner attributed the blowout to his players’ failure to play their best.
“Not meeting expectations. It’s tough to rally the troops when you’re down 5-0 before you can even blink,” said the manager. “We just didn’t get energized.”
The Hyannis offense jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning after A’s starter Jacob Stevens (1-1) walked two batters and allowed two extra-base hits in the opening frame. In his final start for the Anglers, Stevens took the loss after going four and two-thirds innings and walking six batters. The Boston College right-hander conceded six runs in the outing, including a fourth inning homerun by Chris Hudgins.
“I’ve had a great time [in Chatham]. Although it’s been short lived, it’s been a great organization, great teammates, great coaches, great atmosphere. I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” said Stevens. “I came out there [today] and. . . .started leaving the ball up. [Hyannis] started to hit it and I just didn’t really bear down in the first inning to get out of it.”
The contest featured a total of three homeruns by Harbor Hawk batters as Hyannis recorded nine hits on the night to Chatham’s five. The Anglers pitching staff walked nine batters for the second game in a row.
With the Anglers dropping to two games below .500 for the first time all season, the importance of playing consistent, solid baseball becomes that much higher. The challenge for Chatham lies in its next three games as the Anglers square off with the first place Harwich Mariners (12-6), before taking on the streaking Orleans Firebirds (10-8) in a two-game, home-and-home series.
“Can’t go much further down,” said Schiffner. “[We’ve] lost four in a row so now we’ve got to go up.”