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Chatham, Mass. — In brutal losses, there often comes a moment where runs seem to slip away, flowing in a rhythm distant to the ears of the defeated. A point where each hit goes uncontested, almost quiet in a flurry of movements, calls and decisions.
After two innings, it looked like the Anglers (12-14) had fallen victim to the beat. Seven runs had launched the Brewster Whitecaps (13-12-1) beyond a scoreless Chatham side.
But as the lights came on at Veterans Field, the team began to fight back. Coarsely, but surely. Seven Anglers would record hits, reaching base in every inning except one.
In the fifth, two singles and a sacrifice fly had sent runners into scoring position when designated hitter John Aiello (Wake Forest) stepped up to the plate. Aiello drove in left fielder Jake Palomaki (Boston College) on a knock out to center field for Chatham’s first score of the evening.
“I wouldn’t really say we struggled. We kind of hit some balls hard at people,” Aiello said. “We also didn’t capitalize on situations where we had guys in scoring position — I think if we did that, we would have got five or six runs.”
A chance at redemption appeared in the bottom of the ninth, when the team loaded the bases with two outs. A single from shortstop Jeremy Peña (Maine) and a walk of Aiello added two runs for the Anglers, but a flyout catch in center field shattered the possibility of a Chatham victory.
On the mound, the bullpen was reluctant to submit. Joe Lienard (Oklahoma State), Nick Rand (Massachusetts — Lowell) and Reiss Knehr (Fordham) combined to allow just two runs over seven innings.
Starter Dan Hammer (Pittsburgh) took the loss over the first two frames.
“Everything was up in the zone a little bit [for Hammer],” said pitching coach Rob Bono. “The slider, the curveball was a little flat. His changeup was pretty good, but some days in the game of baseball, that happens. You make good pitches and guys get enough barrel on it to fist base hits.”
Three scoreless innings from Rand kept the Whitecaps at bay.
“It’s all about the other team sometimes,” said manager John Schiffner. “Their pitcher was outstanding, he just had his spots, hit his spots. Take away two innings, and we played a pretty good ballgame."
The Anglers host the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (10-13-2) at Veterans Field Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.