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Chatham, Mass. — Not often does a team find itself facing a crucial contest nineteen games into the Cape League season; however, thus is the case for the Chatham Anglers (8-10).
A team that began the season with such high hopes, Chatham appeared to have turned a corner after beginning the year 6-6. Since taking two hard fought games against Bourne and Brewster, the Anglers have floundered, losing four straight while being outscored by a 28-4 margin.
“We need a good [performance], we have not played well the past four games,” said manager John Schiffner. “The guys know. I didn’t say that much to them, I’m pretty disappointed myself.”
Chatham will look to end its woes tonight at Veterans Field against the first place Harwich Mariners (12-4).
At the Plate: Though the Anglers have failed to score more than two runs in a game since June 24, Chatham has gotten its offense from similar places.
Both Jake Palomaki and Hunter Lee have been the offensive catalysts for the Anglers since last Saturday’s win over the Whitecaps. In that time span, both players have driven in two runs respectively, highlighted by Palomaki’s eighth inning homerun against Brewster. The Boston College infielder leads Chatham with 14 hits.
As for the entire season, Donovan Casey – who appeared as a relief pitcher in last night’s loss to Hyannis – currently holds the team lead in batting average at .317. He has also struck out six times, the lowest of any Angler who has appeared in at least 10 games.
For Harwich, the Mariners are lead by a number of players hitting over .300 – most notably, Ernie Clement. The UVA product has been red hot at the plate, registering a league-high 28 hits. Crafting a batting average of .400, the second best in the CCBL, Clement has reached base mostly on singles as only one of his 28 hits have gone for extra-bases. The sophomore second baseman is the leadoff hitter for the Mariners and also the league leader in steals with 10.
On the Rubber: As the news came down that Erikson Lanning would no longer be making his way to Chatham, the Anglers’ coaching staff began their search for the starting pitcher’s replacement.
With the absence of the Texas Tech southpaw, Presbyterian’s Tanner Chock will get another start for Chatham as he takes the ball tonight at 7 p.m. Chock has had the best outings by far for the Anglers this summer as the righty has gone 1-0 in three starts while compiling a 1.20 ERA – the third best in the league.
Chock’s presence on the mound brings a level of consistency to Chatham’s pitching that has not often been present this season. In 18 games this summer, the Anglers have touted out 11 different starting pitchers, all of whom have gone a combined 7-6.
“We don’t, as a staff, have depth in the starting position,” said pitching coach Rob Bono. “Every player has some sort of restriction from their college program, whether it’s an innings limit or amount of rest. So you try and please everybody and give everybody the proper rest while also still trying to compete and win games.”
Tonight’s start will be Chock’s fourth of the summer – the most on the Anglers. In his three previous appearances, the sophomore has struck out ten batters and allowed two runs over 15 full innings.
Opposing Chock will be Harwich’s Patrick Naughton (1-0). A native of West Roxbury, Mass. Naughton is pitching comfortably close to home. The Virginia Tech freshman has sat down 21 opponents on strikes while conceding 18 hits in his three starts.
Down the Road: Chatham heads to Orleans on Sunday in their first game at Eldrige Park this season before heading home to Veterans Field for a 4th of July rematch with the Firebirds. Both games are set to get underway at 7 p.m.
Make sure to tune in 20 minutes before the game for the Anglers Extra Pregame Show on the Cape Cod Baseball Network. Evan Stockton will introduce you to his Catch of the Day while Jake Eisenberg sits down with manager John Schiffner.
The full broadcast of today’s game is available online and over the phone at 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more details.