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Chatham, Mass. — After upending the Harwich Mariners on Friday on the back of Simon Mathews’ 11 strikeout performance, the Chatham Anglers return to Veterans Field for Game 2 of the East Division Series tonight at 7 p.m.
The Anglers (18-26-1) look to build off of yesterday’s inspiring win by closing out the series while Harwich (27-16-1) hopes to avoid the sweep after winning the East Division regular season crown. In seven games against Chatham this season, the Mariners are 4-2-1 and have outscored their division opponents by a 30-12 margin.
Chatham has fared better against the Mariners at home this season, turning in a 1-1-1 record in three games. The Anglers lone loss came on July 27 when four Harwich pitchers combined to no hit Chatham in a 10-0 rout.
However, since the calendar has flipped to August, the A’s have been hot, winning three of their last four games to put themselves in position to move on to the East Championship Series.
Facing Harwich has been no easy task for the Anglers, who knew going into the series the type of performances they’d have to string together in order to upset the top seed.
“We know we have to play good, clean baseball,” said leadoff man Jake Palomaki. “We’re excited for the challenge, it’ll be fun.”
At the Plate: Despite struggling for the earlier part of the season, John Aiello has turned a corner offensively for the Anglers. The Wake Forest Demon Deacon has recorded a hit in nine of his last ten games and has accounted for six Chatham runs in that span. The freshman infielder credits his recent turnaround to his determination to improve at the plate.
“[I’m] just always trying to work hard and stick to my process,” said Aiello, a former switch-hitter who has opted to strictly hit from the right side this summer. “I knew it was going to be a transition going righty on righty from the start, so I had to keep going and keep going and just trust in my hard work and it’s been paying off lately.”
In his last two games against Harwich, Aiello has amassed a .375 average while scoring two of the Anglers’ seven runs. Scoring what proved to be the deciding run in Friday’s win, Aiello was the only Angler to record multiple hits on the night.
Pavin Smith accounted for three of the Mariners’ seven hits on Friday, reaching base on two singles and an RBI double. The University of Virginia product almost homered in the bottom of the ninth inning, when he cranked the second pitch he saw from Garrett Whitlock to the fence in right-center field. The blast scored the only run of the game for Harwich as Smith was stranded on third at the end of the contest.
Against Chatham, Smith has gone 13-for-31 with six RBIs, five doubles, two runs scored, and a towering two-run homerun.
On the Rubber: Bo Burrup (1-0) makes his second start for the Anglers after being added to the team in late July. Playing in the Cal Ripken League earlier this summer, Burrup was brought to the Cape in an unorthodox fashion.
“We were just spanning the globe as you might say and saw some statistics that we looked at and we liked,” said manager John Schiffner. “We backed up the numbers by talking to his coach and his coach verified they’re good. He’s a very good pitcher. . . .that’s what you need this time of year.”
In his first outing in the CCBL, Burrup notched a win over a powerful Yarmouth-Dennis squad after allowing two runs on four hits across five innings. Y-D has scored 35 more runs than Harwich this season.
The Mariners will send All-Star Game starter BJ Myers (3-1) to the bump today, hoping to stave off elimination at Veterans Field. In six starts this summer, Myers has crafted a 1.91 ERA while striking out 25 hitters in 42 and a third innings. The West Virginia righty last pitched three days ago against Brewster, tossing one shutout inning of relief. Myers has yet to face the Anglers this season.
Down the Road: There will be at least one more baseball game for Chatham following tonight’s contest. If the Anglers fall to Harwich in Game 2, both teams will head back to Whitehouse Field for a decisive Game Three on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. If Chatham eliminates the Mariners with a win tonight, they will enjoy an off day on Sunday before squaring off with the winner of Yarmouth-Dennis and Orleans in the East Championship Series.
Make sure to tune in at 6:30 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.