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Chatham, Mass. — One by one, they fell. The Anglers had found a dead end, returning to the dugout after hitless upon hitless at bat.
As night crept over Veterans Field Sunday, Chatham’s offense was buckling at the hands of Orleans (15-8) starter Ryan Rolison (Mississippi).
“When a guy’s throwing three pitches for strikes, [and] hitting all the spots, it’s tough to make something happen,” said second baseman Jake Palomaki (Boston College). “He did a good job keeping us off balance.”
Rolison struck out eight Anglers over five scoreless innings, but Chatham (10-13) would not go down without a fight.
“Every at bat from the beginning to the end, the kids battled,” said manager John Schiffner. “One of the best at bats all night was when [designated hitter] Josh Shaw struck out, but he fouled off seven or eight pitches. That shows a little grit — we’ve got that.”
Palomaki knocked in a two-run home run over the right field fence, driving in left fielder Mason Koppens (Northeastern) in the bottom of the sixth.
Orleans had claimed a lead of seven before Chatham was able to snap its hitless streak, mounting a four-run rally in the fifth inning. Three RBI singles downed the Anglers in the fifth, before Romy Gonzales (Miami) put the game out of reach for Chatham with a home run — his second of the game — in the ninth.
On the mound, five Anglers carried Chatham through the loss.
“I was a little iffy with my mechanics,” said starting pitcher Jeff Belge (St. John’s). “I was leaving balls up in the zone and they weren’t moving as much as they usually do … I couldn’t really get it by the hitters, I just got squared up.”
“Jeff was just leaving not only his fastball, but all his other pitches up in the zone,” said pitching coach Rob Bono. “He competed though — he gave his team a chance to win. That’s all you can ask for.”
Relief pitchers Dan Metzdorf (Boston College) and Andre Pallante (California — Irvine) shut down the Firebirds over a scoreless trio of innings late in the game.
“We had a couple off days in a row, which I think was big to help get some guys some rest,” Belge said. “They’ve been doing a great job out of the bullpen, coming in and keeping us in the game.”
The Anglers visit Wareham (10-12-1) for the first time this season Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.