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Hours after Tommy Molsky backflipped, Roc Riggio began 'Go Anglers' chants and Trevor Martin handed out red-white-and-blue leis to young fans during the annual Fourth of July parade, former Anglers manager John Schiffner shifted his attention to the third-base dugout during the pregame ceremony honoring the Chatham Athletic Association's retired numbers.
'The season doesn't start until July 4 against Orleans,' Schiffner said.
Sunday night against the Firebirds, manager Tom Holliday brought Noah Ledford in with two outs in the ninth inning. He yelled at Ledford to 'put it out of the yard,' but he struck out swinging to end the game. Ledford struck out again in his first at-bat Monday, but he smacked the ball over the center field fence in his second.
'A buddy of mine said home runs are an accident,' Ledford said. 'It felt really good, I've been hunting for that one all year. Hopefully that was the turn around I needed, and especially for the team too.'
Ledford's home run brought Cooper Ingle home as well, giving the Anglers their first lead in a game since June 26. Chatham had four runs in its last six games heading into the matchup, but matched that total before the end of the seventh. The Anglers finished with three runs in its final at-bats, defeating Orleans 7-1.
'Start over, let's just start over,' Holliday said. 'I've been working to change the mindset, the mindset has been terrible. The thing that changes the mindset is early execution, and we finally got that.'
Ingle immediately notched the Anglers' first hit after Joe Miller allowed one run on three hits in the first inning. Ingle scorched a grounder directly back at Firebirds starter Patrick Reilly, who couldn't glove the ball, sending it bouncing over the second base bag. Ingle didn't advance further though as Caden Grice flew out and Ledford struck out swinging.
Ingle recorded Chatham's second hit as well, launching the fourth pitch he saw into shallow center field. Ledford brought Ingle home with his homer, giving the Anglers a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Mitchell Daly walked after Dominic Tamez and Marcus Brown were put out to begin the frame, bringing Guy Garibay Jr. into the batter's box. Garibay Jr. rocketed a double to deep center field, and Daly got the wave home from third base coach Randy Whisler, but he slipped on his way to the bag and held up at third.
Ingle walked again, notching his team-leading 15th walk to load the bases. Tommy Hopfe came in to relieve Reilly, but a wild pitch brought Daly home.'We had a lot of quality at-bats,' Ledford said. 'They don't go in the scorebook, but they get the job done and keep the flow that you need in a game like that.'
Fireworks started to erupt around the field, and after a scoreless sixth inning, the Anglers got back on the board in the seventh. In a similar situation that took place in the Anglers' loss to Orleans on Sunday, Chatham had a runner on third base and Garibay Jr. in the batter's box Monday.
Instead of Matt Hogan, Brown occupied third after scorching a double and advancing to third on Daly's sacrifice bunt. Garibay Jr. failed to bring Hogan home Sunday, missing the bunt on a 1-1 pitch, allowing catcher Garrett Guillemette to throw to third for the final out.
'We didn't do any of the bunt, move a runner over or anything,' Holliday said about the Anglers' previous lack of execution. 'All I said is ' 'We're going to go out, we're going to execute the whole game.''
Garibay Jr. worked an 0-2 count with one out, fixing his gloves before taking one practice swing. He tapped home plate twice, bringing his bat up into his stance before touching the dirt once more. Garibay Jr. smacked the ball to shortstop. Brown dove into home, beating Guillemette to the plate for Chatham's fourth run.
'We haven't had a lot of situations with a man on third and less than two outs,' Garibay Jr. said. 'I just did what I could to put the ball in the play.'
Lyle Miller-Green entered the game without a hit this year after leading the league in RBIs with the Anglers last year. He smacked the ball into left field following a single from Ledford, bringing Anthony Nunez into the box.
Nunez properly executed another sacrifice bunt, moving Hogan to third. The Firebirds then opted to walk Dominic Tamez, favoring a lefty-on-lefty matchup with Brown. But Brown made them pay for the decision with the bases loaded, lacing a ground ball down the right side for two more runs.