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Koppens' two-run single, Belge's scoreless six lead Chatham to 3-0 shutout of Harwich

by Alexandra Russell
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Koppens' two-run single, Belge's scoreless six lead Chatham to 3-0 shutout of Harwich

Harwich, Mass. — It was like a spark.

With a loud crack, the ball roared out to center field, carving a smooth arc towards the warning track.

The bleachers erupted as center fielder Mason Koppens (Northeastern) flung his bat to the ground and surged towards first base. First baseman Nick Patten (Delaware) and right fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) came home to an ovation from the dugout.

Koppens had given the Anglers a game-winning lead of two over the Harwich Mariners in the fourth inning.

“I was just trying to punch the ball through the middle, and really see the ball deep,” Koppens said.

Stowers knocked in another run on a double in the fifth to give Chatham some extra breathing room.

“We were pretty relaxed today, and I think that was really important,” Koppens said. “We had a quiet confidence in the dugout.”

The Anglers’ offense ticked away like a metronome, putting runners on base in every inning.

“They’re starting to catch up to the pitching now,” said manager John Schiffner. “They’re starting to get accustomed to how good this pitching is, [and] they’re making adjustments.”

On the mound, starter Jeff Belge (St. John’s) delivered his best performance yet, shutting Harwich down over six scoreless innings.

“He [Belge] is getting better each start,” Schiffner said. “Today, he was fantastic.”

Rodney Hutchison Jr. (North Carolina) preserved the Chatham lead, striking out two in the final three frames.

“We’re just starting to know each other as players on the field,” Koppens said. “That really helps out with consistency because you don’t have those little mental slip-ups — you don’t think that another guy’s going to get the ball, you just go for the ball because you’re comfortable with the guy next to you.”

The Anglers host the Bourne Braves (14-13) at Veterans Field Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.