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Wareham, Mass. — The Chatham Anglers entered the fourth inning of Thursday night’s game holding a 5-0 lead over the Wareham Gatemen. Siena freshman Tom Sutera had been cruising through his first three innings in an Anglers uniform, not allowing a run while conceding five hits.
As the inning started, LSU’s Caleb Gilbert trotted out to the mound, signaling the end of Sutera’s day. Before the Anglers were able to record an out in the fourth, their seemingly insurmountable five-run lead was cut to one. The four-run inning served as the turning point of the game as Chatham fell to the Gatemen, 8-5.
“We just made some bonehead plays,” said A’s manager John Schiffner. “Pitching wasn’t very good in the middle and we made some pretty bad defensive plays. [Wareham] capitalized on them.”
Chatham (13-20-1) opened up the contest by exploding for three runs on two hits in the top of the first. Sean Bouchard, who hit what proved to be the game-winning homerun in Wednesday night’s win over Cotuit, picked up where he left off by croaking a two-run double to deep center to open up the scoring.
The two RBIs brought Bouchard’s total to three in the past two games. The UCLA sophomore finished the game with two doubles – his third and fourth extra base hits in his last four games.
D.J. Artis also recorded a two-run double an inning later, lacing a Hogan Harris pitch down the left field line to score John Aiello and Orlando Garcia.
Chatham’s pitching began the contest with a stellar performance by Sutera before the bullpen allowed Wareham (17-14-3) back in the game.
“[Tom] did an outstanding job,” said Schiffner. “Couldn’t be happier for him. Proud of him, did a great job, he kept us in the ball game.”
Following Sutera’s three shutout frames, Gilbert conceded four runs on three hits and a pair of wild pitches in just a third of an inning before Mike Fitzgerald came on to end the frame.
Following the fourth, the Northeastern right-hander retired four of the next five batters he faced, before promptly plunking Harrison Wenson with one out in the sixth. Then the wheels once again fell off for the Anglers as a string of three straight hits dropped into left-center field and scored three Wareham runs. Fitzgerald (0-1) was tagged with the loss.
The rally seemed to inspire the Gatemen as their pitching, which had struggled in the earlier part of the game, managed to lock in and keep the surging Chatham offense to three combined hits across its last three innings. Ryan Selmer (2-2) earned the win for the Gatemen after pitching three and two-thirds innings of relief.
[Selmer] was one of the best pitchers we’ve seen,” said Schiffner. “He’s legit, he’s really really good. . . .I’d leave him right in that role, he’s a relief pitcher. Don’t even start him, he’s that good.”
The Anglers remain half a game behind the Brewster Whitecaps with the loss, and now have to turn their attention towards their division opponents for a crucial game at Stony Brook Field Friday at 5 p.m. With both Chatham and Brewster vying for the final playoff spot in the East Division, Friday’s contest could decide the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Whitecaps hold a slim 3-2 game lead over the Anglers.
“We always seem to come back,” said Schiffner. “The great thing about this team is that nothing bothers them. They’ve forgotten about today’s game and here we go tomorrow.”