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Wareham, Mass. — It all became automatic. The quick outs, the quiet turnovers in the dugout between innings. The names that dissolved into the air over the speakers.
As a rosy sunset peeked over Clem Spillane Field, Chatham (16-17) and Wareham (16-15-1) entered extra frames. Nine quick innings had yielded a blank scoreboard.
The Anglers fell one by one in the tenth, but the promise of another chance at the plate loomed near.
Until Wareham pinch hitter Robbie Metz (George Washington) drove in second basemen Jarren Duran (Long Beach State) on a single in the bottom of the tenth to sighs of defeat from the visitors bleachers.
“RJ [Freure] made a great pitch, and the guy just hit it where nobody was — it was a great at bat for him,” said manager John Schiffner.
The Anglers were unable to capitalize on a chance in the seventh, when shortstop Antonio Ralat (Alabama — Birmingham) and Mason Koppens (Northeastern) reached scoring position after a walk and a single, respectively.
“We have to score more runs,” Schiffner said. “We left too many men on base.”
Starter Justin Lasko (Massachusetts — Amherst) made his first trip to the mound since returning to Chatham this week after his release in late June.
“The last few days being here, building up to the start I had a couple of bullpens where I worked on all my mechanics just to get them all sharp tuned,” Lasko said.
Lasko shut Wareham down over four scoreless innings — his first blank slate of the season.
“After the first inning, I don’t think I threw too many first pitch strikes,” Lasko said. “That’s going to be something that I really focus on this week, getting ahead of guys later on in the game, and staying out in front.”
Rodney Hutchison Jr. (North Carolina) matched Lasko’s scoreless four, before RJ Freure (Pittsburgh) struck out three in the final 1.1 frames.
“A number of these guys have seriously improved,” Schiffner said. “We have sixteen pitchers, and I feel comfortable putting any one of them in at any time.”
The Anglers host the Cotuit Kettleers (16-14-1) at Veterans Field Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.