« Back to 2016 News Archives
Hyannis, Mass. — The Chatham Anglers entered the sixth inning of Sunday’s game against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks trailing 10-2. Hyannis had already taken two games from Chatham earlier this season, outscoring the Anglers by a mammoth 19-2 run differential, and looked to do the same again after striking for six runs in the third inning.
When Patrick Mathis and Sean Bouchard reached on back-to-back singles to begin the sixth, Chatham fans who had made the drive out to McKeon Park clapped, but not boisterously. After Jeremy Vasquez drew a walk and Johnny Aiello popped out to first, DJ Artis dug into the batter’s box with a chance to give the Angler faithful something to really cheer about.
“Come on DJ,” yelled Susan West, wife of team president Steve West and the second half of Artis’s host family. With two strikes, Artis slapped a grounder to shortstop Zach Rutherford that looked to be a Taylor Made double play until Rutherford bobbled the routine groundball, allowing Mathis to score and Artis to reach safely. The RBI wasn’t a pretty one for Artis, but it sparked a rally.
From that point on the Chatham Anglers (11-19-1) orchestrated a momentous comeback against the Harbor Hawks, rallying with five runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to cut the Hyannis lead to one. However, the rally fell just short as the Harbor Hawks (14-17-0) escaped collapse, defeating Chatham, 11-9.
“I’m not surprised,” said A’s manager John Schiffner of his team’s comeback. “They’ve battled every night, they have done that all year long and I’m really proud of them. It’s something that they can take with them and say ‘whatever our record ends up being, we hung in almost every game we played.'”
All but one Chatham batter reached base in the affair as the Anglers put together 13 hits while drawing seven walks.
Jake Palomaki led the way for the Chatham offense, reaching base in all six of his plate appearances, as the infielder celebrated his 21st birthday with an abundant day at the plate. Going 3-for-5 with a walk and a pair of runs scored, Palomaki drove in two runs and also reached base thanks to an error and a fielder’s choice.
“I felt good in the cages, felt good in BP, so I was just trying to carry that swing to the game, and luckily hits were falling tonight,” said Palomaki. “I keep trying to find barrels any way I can and I think I’ve been hitting the ball hard.”
Three other Anglers also scored multiple runs as Chatham had five different players cross the plate in the 20 run affair.
A scary moment came in the bottom of the third inning as Palomaki caught the spike of Hyannis catcher Chris Hudgins sliding into second base. Attempting to apply the tag, Palomaki wound up getting speared by the Hudgins’ cleat and doubled over grasping at his right hand. After a short visit from the team trainer to bandage the second baseman’s hand, Palomaki shook off the incident and proceeded to rope an RBI double into left-center field in his next at-bat.
“He’s a hard nosed player, plays hard every day,” said Schiffner. “Got banged up there, threw some dirt on a little cut and let’s play ball.”
Though the Anglers exploded for their highest amount of runs on the season, Chatham was barley able to get any offense going against Hyannis starter Andrew Gonzalez (2-1). The Michigan State right-hander conceded a first inning run but then settled in, allowing one hit over the next three frames. On the night, Gonzalez threw five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out six Anglers.
Parker Rigler (0-2) did not have as smooth of an outing for Chatham as the Kansas State product took the loss after being tagged for eight runs on nine hits in two and two-thirds innings.
The Anglers’ bullpen was able to limit the damage following Rigler, due to the solid performances by three Chatham relievers. Mitchell Zubradt, a teammate of Rigler at Kansas State, made his CCBL debut on Sunday, going two innings while allowing a run and three hits.
Though the loss was the fifth in a row and the seventh in the last eight games for the Anglers, Chatham can take with them a feeling of pride after clawing back in a game that many had written off early as another blowout loss to Hyannis.
“The guys just kept grinding,” said Schiffner. “They battled like a team and that’s the one thing that you really have to tip your hat to them on.”