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Chatham, Mass. — Every movement grew labored, drawn out in frustration. Missed chances haunted the Anglers as long, scoreless innings rolled into one another like verses on a broken record.
“We left way too many guys on base, just way too many,” said manager John Schiffner. “We just didn’t capitalize. We needed clutch hits, [and] we didn’t get them.”
As a pastel sunset cloaked Veterans Field, the Anglers (16-18) were suffering a slow, painful death to the Cotuit Kettleers (17-15-1).
A once even game had turned sour in the face of heavy Cotuit artillery. Three two-run innings from the Kettleers uprooted Chatham’s early lead, driving a chance at victory further and further away from the Anglers.
First baseman Nick Patten (Delaware) put the Anglers on the board the first, sending left fielder Jake Palomaki (Boston College) home on a bases-loaded single. After Cotuit overtook Chatham in the second, second baseman Josh Shaw (St. John’s) knocked in a run to equalize the game.
The Anglers loaded the bases twice more, and twice they fell.
When a pair of home runs from Luke Alexander (Mississippi State) and Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) sent the Kettleers into double digits in the seventh, the park grew quiet.
“We had a few opportunities, but we didn’t come through,” Shaw said. “That happens.”
On the mound, six different Anglers carried Chatham through the turbulence.
Adam Wolf (Louisville) had the only scoreless outing of the evening, striking out two Kettleers in the eighth inning. Josiah Gray (Le Moyne) helped Chatham escape trouble in the ninth, limiting Cotuit to one unearned run and stranding two in scoring position on a strikeout.
Andre Pallante (California — Irvine), Jeff Belge (St. John’s) and Nick Rand (Massachusetts — Lowell) stepped in for starter Jack Perkins (Stetson). Perkins handed Cotuit four runs in the opening three frames.
“We’re on a three-game losing streak now, but that doesn’t show the two big games we played the last two days — we lost by one run each game,” Shaw said. “Our pitching has been excellent, so as long as we put some hits together we’ll be fine.”
“We need to get better rest — I told them in the huddle that it’s going to be worse in minor league baseball,” Schiffner said. “That’s what they’re here for — to get prepared for minor league baseball, and that means they need to get better rest, better nutrition, [and] just take care of themselves a little more.”
Four Anglers will represent the team in the 2017 Friendly’s Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game at Clem Spillane Field, Wareham Saturday. Chatham faces off against Cotuit again at Lowell Park, Cotuit Sunday.