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Chatham, Mass. — You know it. That sweet, familiar sound that announces the meeting of wood and leather, a hollow echo that rings in the air.
As the ball soared high out to left field off of catcher Fabian Pena’s (Manhattan) bat, the crowds at Veterans Field broke out in applause.
Pena rounded the bases to an ovation from the dugout. His home run had doubled Chatham’s lead over the Bourne Braves (14-15) in the seventh inning, giving the Anglers extra breathing room entering the final two frames.
“Fabian Pena basically wins the game and takes the pressure off the 1-0 score going into the last two innings,” said manager John Schiffner. “[It] gives you a chance to do different things – you don’t have to worry about the bunt situation and all those other things.”
Third baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest) seized a chance to give Chatham (15-15) an early lead in the first, driving in shortstop Jeremy Pena (Maine) on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice.
“We’re getting a lot of production from everyone because we’re rotating the lineups so much,” Schiffner said.
“At this point in the season, we’ve seen enough pitching already and we’ve seen enough of how people play around us,” Pena said. “Everybody’s getting adjusted and having good swings, having good at bats.”
Veterans Field was no stranger to some defensive heroics Sunday night. As designated hitter Shea Langeliers (Baylor) knocked a roaring hit out to center field in the sixth, Bourne’s Andy Atwood (Oregon State) lunged backwards. Atwood gloved the ball over the fence, overturning and landing at the feet of the scoreboard.
“That was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen in all these years,” Schiffner said.
On the mound, four Anglers kept the slate blank.
Starter Austin Bergner (North Carolina) shut the Braves down, striking out eight over 5.1 innings.
Left-handed reliever Adam Wolf (Louisville) ended a one-out bases-loaded threat in the sixth, dealing a strikeout and a groundout to leave Bourne stranded.
“It was the perfect situation to bring him in — they had two lefties coming up,” Schiffner said.
Andre Pallante (California) and Josiah Gray (Le Moyne) combined for the final two innings.
“If we have a good inning, it gets us rolling,” Pena said. “We have more confidence in each other.”
The Anglers host the Brewster Whitecaps (15-14-1) at Veterans Field Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.