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Comeback out of reach as Chatham falls to Falmouth 7-6

by Alexandra Russell
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Comeback out of reach as Chatham falls to Falmouth 7-6

Falmouth, Mass. – They battled. As the sun set on a clear day at Guv Fuller Field, a restless energy set in to the Chatham dugout.

The Commodores (15-16-1) had erased an early Chatham lead with seven runs — including a grand slam from Josh Breaux (McLennan) — in the first three innings.

Slowly, but steadily, the Anglers (16-16) began to make up the difference.

Right fielder Landon Kay (Furman) seized a chance in the fifth, driving in shortstop Jeremy Peña (Maine) on a sacrifice fly. Second baseman Jake Palomaki (Boston College) knocked in another run on a single.

Left fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) inched closer to Falmouth, scoring on a wild pitch in the in the eighth. 

For a minute, hope hung in the air, visible in the alert stances of the men in the dugout, the determined focus of batters at the plate. The tight grips, the tense movements.

Designated hitter Fabian Peña (Manhattan) was met with an ovation when he drove catcher Shea Langeliers (Baylor) home on a sacrifice fly, bringing Chatham within one run of a comeback. 

But Falmouth answered the call, sending the Anglers down in order in the final two frames. The Chatham dugout abruptly ceased their loud cheers when the final strike was thrown, dumbfounded.

“We didn’t quit,” said relief pitcher Joe Lienhard (Oklahoma State). “We really stayed together as a team, we fought our way back, and we just couldn’t quite get it at the end.”

Jeremy Peña put the Anglers on the board in the first, driving in Stowers and first baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest) on a single.

On the mound, a quartet of relievers kept the Anglers alive over 6.2 scoreless frames.

Lienhard stepped in for starter Dan Hammer (Pittsburgh), striking out four in 3.2 innings work.

“I’ve been falling behind in counts and walking guys, and tonight I was really trying to just focus on throwing in the zone,” Lienhard said.

Uncharacteristically of his performances early in the season, Hammer struggled, handing Falmouth seven runs in the opening two frames.

“Right now, it looks like he has location issues and that’s correctable, to work on in his bullpen sessions and side sessions,” said manager John Schiffner.

Nick Rand (Massachusetts — Lowell), Adam Wolf (Louisville) and Jack DeGroat (Liberty) kept it clean in the final two innings.

Left-handed Wolf faced just one batter in the eighth, striking out Falmouth right fielder Trevor Larnach (Oregon State). Larnach had put Falmouth on the board in the first, knocking in a run on a single.

“We just wanted to use Wolfy for the lefty,” Schiffner said. “It was just situational — that was one of the better left-handed hitters.”

“It’s never easy — guys at school have different roles than they do out here,” Lienhard said. “It always takes a couple of weeks to get into a rhythm …  I think we’re kind of starting to catch our groove.”

The Anglers face the Wareham Gatemen (15-15-1) at Clem Spillane Field, Wareham Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.