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The Anglers' past three losses were grueling. A shutout defeat, a no-hit gut punch and seven-run blowout spoiled the final days of June.
On Friday, it felt like Chatham had a chance.
A day after the Anglers' poor defensive play headlined their loss to Yarmouth-Dennis, Bourne third baseman John Peck's throwing error gave the Anglers life. Dominic Tamez dashed to second after the throw skipped past first baseman Joshua Moylan. With no outs in the bottom of the ninth, Tamez represented the tying run.
Chatham inched closer. After Caden Grice worked a walk, Anthony Nunez dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third base line, advancing the runners to second and third.
With the bases loaded, Marcus Brown and Jake DeLeo each sent pitches from Justin Willis into the black sky, only for them to be hauled in for the final two outs, sealing the Anglers' 3-2 loss to Bourne at Veterans Field.
Magnus Ellerts started 14 games for Florida SouthWestern this past season, but he had come out of the bullpen in his first three appearances with the Anglers. Against the Braves, Ellerts made his first start in a Chatham uniform.
Elijah Nunez dropped a single into left field in the top of the first, making him the first of four leadoff hitters to reach base against Ellerts. Both runners that scored in Ellerts' four innings of work reached to lead off the inning.'I was putting myself in a lot of tough situations today that I had to work out of,' Ellerts said. 'I definitely need to attack the leadoff (hitter) and get him out, that's the key for sure in a good inning.'
Matt Shaw followed Nunez and deposited a soft single into left field as Bourne (8-7-3) began the game with back-to-back hits. Moylan made the hardest contact of the opening frame, driving the first pitch he saw to deep center field, but DeLeo ranged back to make the catch. Nunez came around to score on Jack Duffy's single to center field.
Duffy served a different role in the top of the fourth. After working a 12-pitch walk, Duffy reached second on Mitchell Daly's fielding error before advancing to third on a fielder's choice. With one out around runners on first and third, Evan Sleight squared to bunt. He placed it halfway between the mound and home plate. Ellerts took the sure out at first as Duffy raced home to give Bourne a 2-0 lead.
Ellerts navigated around leadoff walks in his other two innings, inducing a 6-4-3 double play in the top of the second and punching out two batters in the third to help him walk off the mound unscathed.
As expected, Ellerts said after the game that his start Friday was his last with Chatham (4-12-2). Ellerts pitched 69 innings with Florida SouthWestern from late January to early May before coming to the Cape League, where he threw 12.2 innings.
'It lived up to every expectation I had,' Ellerts said about his experience in the Cape League. 'The fans were absolutely amazing. Every field was different and had its own vibe, its own environment. ' Overall, it was just amazing, just playing in front of so many people that love the game and love watching us play baseball no matter if we're losing or not.'
The Anglers' offense gave Ellerts no support, going scoreless over the first four innings. However, DeLeo gave Chatham its first multi-run game since Sunday, sending a two-run homer off the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth.
The Anglers' bullpen kept them in the game, ceding one run over the final five innings. Cam Brown, whom Chatham activated Friday morning, allowed one run on three hits and a walk over 2.2 innings.
Cam Brown capitalized on his one chance to make a first impression. He whiffed the opening batter and blanked Bourne in his first inning. He then set the Braves down in order in the top of the sixth.
For all Cam Brown's success, Bourne tagged him with the loss. In the top of the seventh, Sleight's solo home run broke a 2-2 tie and put the Braves ahead for good.
Chatham continued to fight. With Grice on first in the bottom of the seventh, Roc Riggio sent a line drive down the left field line. Home plate umpire Dave Perry ruled the ball foul, but Grice continued to run. Riggio ran all the way to second base before he was forced to retreat to the batter's box.
The Braves ended the inning after two more batters. The Anglers had come close. Instead, they closed out a two-game homestand with their fourth consecutive loss.