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Chatham, Mass. — Gradually, then suddenly. It builds. A crescendo of small defeats, mistakes that accumulate until an inevitable collapse is reached.
As night fell over Veterans Field, the Anglers (17-19) fought to recover from a deficit of five to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (23-11-1).
“We got down early, [had] a couple frustrating at bats, made some mistakes early,” said manager John Schiffner. “It just wasn’t a good night for us — things weren’t clicking.”
A pair of singles, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch had plated four Red Sox in a third-inning maelstrom, teasing a chance at victory out of Chatham’s hands.
“They [the Red Sox] made the fundamental plays, and we kind of made some mistakes,” said third baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest). “They just outplayed us.”
Aiello drove in both of Chatham’s runs, plating left fielder Jake Palomaki (Boston College) twice on singles in the second and sixth.
“Once you get the guys on base, you’ve just got to come through with that clutch hit,” said relief pitcher Reiss Knehr (Fordham). “We’re like one hit away from putting runs on the board every time, so we’re right there.”
The Red Sox struck first, when Christian Koss (California Irvine) knocked in two runs on a bases-loaded double in the opening frame.
Knehr kept the team steady, stepping in for starting pitcher Jeff Belge (St. John’s) on the mound after Yarmouth-Dennis mounted back-to-back runs in the third. He allowed just one earned run over 4.2 innings — his longest outing of the season.
“I tried to go for the windup today for my second inning and then I didn’t feel right, so I went back to the stretch,” Knehr said. “That’s how I figured out my release point.”
Belge allowed five earned runs, walking five and striking out four over 2.1 innings.
Nick Rand (Massachusetts Lowell) and Dan Metzdorf (Boston College) combined to keep the final two frames blank.
“We got caught by surprise a couple times,” Schiffner said. “We had some mental lapses that didn’t help us. We were not prepared for certain things, and we’ve just got to stay on those things.”
The loss ensured Yarmouth-Dennis a berth in the playoffs, beginning August 5. The Anglers face co-third place East Division rivals, the Brewster Whitecaps (16-18-2), at Stony Brook Field, Brewster Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.