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For the first time all postseason, the Chatham Anglers (4-1) are one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs. After losing to the Wareham Gatemen (5-0), 5-3, on Saturday, Chatham needs a win in Game 2 of the CCBL Championship Series Sunday to continue its quest for the CCBL title and the Arnold Mycock Trophy.
In Game 1, neither team managed to get on the scoreboard in the first four at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham as starting pitchers Austin Bergner (North Carolina) and Ryan Garcia (UCLA) traded zeros.
The Gatemen finally managed to break through in the bottom of the fifth. Wareham loaded the bases with one out in the frame. Bergner induced a pop out from Jakob Goldfarb (Oregon) for the second out, but could not retire Austin Shenton (Florida International). Shenton drove a fly ball deep into the right-center gap, where Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) failed to make the catch as he ran into the outfield wall. The end result was a bases-clearing double for Wareham.
After Torkelson cut the lead with no-doubt home run in the top of the seventh, Wareham added two more runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-1 lead. Tristin English (Georgia Tech) managed to give the Anglers some life when he blasted a two-run home run in the ninth inning, but Chatham could not muster any more runs.
With their backs up against the wall, Chatham is sending its dugout leader to the mound — Alek Manoah (West Virginia).
Manoah — a constant wave of energy and support in the dugout when not pitching — will make his second start of the playoffs Sunday. The right-hander’s first start came in Game 2 of the East Division Series against the Harwich Mariners. He struggled to start the game, allowing five runs in the second inning. But he immediately bounced back, retiring nine straight batters and finishing the game with a playoff-high 11 strikeouts.
Derek West (Pittsburgh) will be the starting pitcher for the Gatemen. The right-hander made five appearances during the regular season with two starts and finished with a 1.10 ERA. Despite his regular season success, West struggled in Game 2 of the West Division Series against the Cotuit Kettleers. West was pulled from the game in the middle of the fourth inning after having given up two runs and allowed two runners in the fourth.
The A’s are playing in their first Championship Series since 2001, when they lost in three games to Wareham. The last time Chatham won the Championship Series was in 1998. Also facing off against the Gatemen, the A’s lost the first game of the series in Wareham before coming back to win the series in a winner-takes-all Game 5.