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Chatham, Mass. — One game stands between the Chatham Anglers and the CCBL postseason as they take on their rival, the Orleans Firebirds, in the regular season finale at 7 p.m..
Last night, the Anglers (17-25-1) moved into fourth place in the East Division after Donovan Casey’s walk-off 11th inning homerun lifted Chatham to a 2-1 victory over the Firebirds (19-23-1). With a win today at Eldredge Park, or a loss by the Brewster Whitecaps, the Anglers will clinch a playoff spot after sitting in last place in the East for just under three weeks.
“We as a team will stick together no matter what, still have fun, act the same way no matter what, ” said Casey.
When asked about how the A’s can punch their ticket to the post season, Casey offered a simple, but challenging answer.
“Get a W, that’s all we need. Just play hard, have some fun, get a W, and enjoy it up here.”
At the Plate: Since the calendar has flipped to August, Jeremy Vasquez has been on a tear. The University of Florida product has hit five times in seven at-bats, including a home run and a double, all the while driving in three runs, scoring two, and walking twice.
“I think Vasquez is really quietly a leader,” said A’s manager John Schiffner. “He doesn’t say a lot but it’s the way he carries himself and I think that’s shown through.”
Vasquez’s ability to change the momentum of a game with one swing of his mighty bat has been a valuable commodity for this Anglers team in the last two nights. On Monday against Falmouth, Vasquez turned a one-run ballgame into a blowout by launching a two-run homerun over the hill in right field in the third inning. The next night, the heavy-hitting first baseman tied the score on an RBI double to right-center that came a few feet shy of his second homer in as many days.
Garrett Benge continued his recent surge last night after stroking two doubles while going 4-for-5 at the dish. The Oklahoma State Cowboy has now hit in six straight games and 10 of his last 12. However, run production has been lacking for Benge, a sophomore third baseman. In that dozen game stretch, Benge has 15 hits but has scored only three times and driven in three runs.
On the Mound: Schiffner hands the ball to his Florida State freshman Andrew Karp (1-3) today as the A’s look to grab the final playoff spot.
Excluding Karp’s last outing, where he was tagged for four runs across four innings against Harwich, the right-hander has thrown well in his last three starts. Against that same Mariners team on July 13, Karp struck out five while allowing two runs in five innings at Whitehouse Field.
A week later, against Cotuit, the six-foot-three hurler turned in his longest start of the season, tossing six innings of one-run baseball as Chatham edged the Kettleers 2-1.
Before the July 27 loss to Harwich, Karp’s ERA sat at 2.70, thanks in part to a one-hit outing against Wareham in his CCBL debut.
Chandler Day (0-1) gets the nod today for the Firebirds as Orleans looks to sweep the A’s at home this summer. Primarily used as a reliever, Day has started just two games for Kelly Nicholson’s squad, despite appearing in ten games.
His first start of the season came back on July 15 against Chatham. In that outing, Day failed to allow a run across three innings. The Vanderbilt freshman struck out two Anglers in the 5-3 Orleans win.
Day has also appeared as a reliever against the Anglers this season, when he tossed one inning against Chatham on July 3. The Anglers managed one hit off of day in that frame while the Firebirds shut Chatham out, 5-0.
Down the Road: The Anglers’ next contest is all dependent on tonight’s games. If Chatham wins or Brewster loses, then Schiffner’s squad will have Thursday off before facing off against the Harwich Mariners in Game One of the East Division Series on Friday. However, if the Anglers lose and the Whitecaps beat the Mariners, then Chatham will have to wait all winter for its next contest.
Make sure to tune in at 6:40 p.m. today 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.