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Bergner's scoreless five, Koppens' two-run single fuel Chatham to 5-2 victory over Cotuit

by Alexandra Russell
Sunday, July 23, 2017

Bergner's scoreless five, Koppens' two-run single fuel Chatham to 5-2 victory over Cotuit

Cotuit, Mass. —  At first, a fire. Then, a flicker. But the flame did not extinguish.

As twilight set in over leafy Lowell Park in Cotuit, the Anglers (17-18) began to eclipse the Kettleers (17-16-1).

Chatham’s offense thundered in the second inning, mounting a trio of runs.

Designated hitter Fabian Pena (Manhattan) stepped to the plate and hit the sweet spot, driving third baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest) home on a double.

Center fielder Mason Koppens (Northeastern) followed, knocking in two runs on a single to a loud reception from the dugout.

“We got clutch hitting — you can’t get hits every time up,” said manager John Schiffner. “We didn’t leave as many men on base as we have in the last few games.”

Though they began to wane, the Anglers stayed stubborn. First baseman Nick Patten (Delaware) kept Chatham’s pulse beating, sending right fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) home on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third.

Cotuit whispered back, when Chandler Avant (Alabama Tuscaloosa) hit a solo home run in the seventh. But the Anglers had already secured the victory when the game was called due to darkness after eight frames, a decision that Kettleers head coach Mike Roberts protested modestly to a duo of umpires at home plate.

Starter Austin Bergner (North Carolina) was unassailable on the mound, maintaining composure through five scoreless frames.

“I knew we were going to be facing a lot of lefties, so I was just thinking to throw a lot of changeups,” Bergner said.

Bergner shut down the Kettleers with a storm of nine strikeouts, limiting Cotuit to just one hit.

“I knew if I had my fastball command, and would throw a good amount of changeups in the zone, that it was going to be a good game for us,” Bergner said.

“Starting pitching coming out strong like that’s huge for the whole game, it gets the offense in the game early,” Koppens said. “The bullpen just kind of kept it going — they’ve been doing that all season.”

Reliever Adam Wolf (Louisville) came in with the blank two-frame save, striking out three. RJ Freure (Pittsburgh) stepped in for Bergner in the interim inning.

“We chipped away, and the pitching staff did a great job — just all the starting pitching was excellent, and the relief was excellent,” Schiffner said.

The victory comes after missed chances frustrated the Anglers in a 12-3 loss to the Kettleers Friday.

“That’s the mark of a good team, to come back after that,” Schiffner said. “They got their butts kicked, and they just forgot about that game, went out today and played well.”

The Anglers host the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (21-11-1) at Veterans Field Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.