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Chatham, Mass.— The Anglers fell to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 3-0, as Hyannis swept the season series Sunday night.
All three runs for the Harbor Hawks were unearned. Entering the seventh inning, Chatham (13-22-1) and Hyannis were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel that, at the time, had featured five combined hits. With Parker Rigler still dealing on the mound, the inning began with a fly out to left field.
All-Star Dylan Busby then stepped to the plate, and, on a 1-2 pitch, hit a fly ball to deep right field that Stuart Fairchild lost in the lights, allowing Busby to reach second base with one out.
Then, Cody Henry slapped a grounder to third basemen Sean Bouchard, who overthrew Jeremy Vasquez at first base, allowing Busby to scamper to third and Henry to reach second. After Chris Hudgins went down on strikes, Kameron Esthay came to the plate.
On a 1-2 pitch, Rigler's delivery skipped by the catcher Jordan Romero, and Busby took advantage, scoring the first run of the ballgame on the passed ball. Immediately following the run, Kameron Esthay roped an RBI double that hit off the right field fence, bringing Henry in from third. The defensive miscues would give Hyannis a 2-0 lead. The Harbor Hawks would score their third run an inning later after a dropped pop up in shallow right field allowed Brett Netzer to score from first with two outs.
Despite taking the loss, Parker Rigler (0-3) turned in his longest outing of the year, tossing six-and-two-thirds innings, while conceding five hits and striking out five. The Kansas State southpaw rebounded well after being tagged for eight runs in two and two-thirds innings against Harbor Hawks last Sunday, July 17.
“I needed that breath of fresh air and a little confidence boost,” Rigler said. “Last week was a rough week and it was really big for me to come out this week and have some success.”
Rigler was able to stay composed in the midst of second and fifth-inning jams, as he twice retired three straight batters after allowing a leadoff double to start the frame. Before the seventh inning, Rigler had allowed four Harbor Hawks to reach base, though none were able to score because of the lefty’s ability to pitch his way out of tough situations.
“ honestly, everything was working,” Rigler said. “Fastball, changeup, curveball, and my cutter, which I haven’t thrown a whole lot, that was working also. When I was able to do that and have all those pitches, have a full arsenal, I was able to pitch a little bit backwards and just attack the strike zone.”
Chatham had a chance in the bottom of the eighth inning, loading the bases on two singles and a walk with nobody out. But All-Star reliever Matthew Nayler was able to escape the jam unscathed, retiring the next three batters—two of them on strikes.
Andrew Gonzalez (3-1) of Michigan State earned the win for the Harbor Hawks after tossing six-and-a-third shutout innings. In his longest outing of the summer, Gonzalez allowed just two hits and struck out three.
Hunter Lee made his first start since returning to Chatham—he was a temporary player released in late June, but rejoined the team last week. The sophomore from High Point University went 1-3, and added a highlight-reel snare at second base to start a double play.
“I was so excited, I was chomping at the bit to play,” Lee said. “I was so happy. I just wanted to help the team win any way I could. Just to be out there is a blessing. . . .I was really comfortable and I saw the ball well.”
The loss, paired with Falmouth’s win over Brewster, keeps the Anglers a game and a half back of the Whitecaps for the final playoff spot in the East. With eight games left, Chatham squares off with division opponents six more times—two games each against Yarmouth-Dennis, Harwich and Orleans. After an off day , Chatham will take on the Red Sox Tuesday at at Red Wilson Field.