HARWICH ─ The magic number when Harwich Mariners hosted the Chatham Anglers on July 2 was five. The Mariners were looking to end a five-game losing streak and thanks to a five-run fifth inning did so with a bang, coming away with a 7-3 victory to end their drought.
The game-changing inning kicked off when Max Burt reached first on an error by Chatham first baseman Ashton McGee, with Burt racing to second before the Anglers settled the ball. A fly ball from Andrew Moritz drew the first out, but when Travis Moniot was hit by a pitch, Harwich had two on with only one out.
Enter Ryne Ogren, who swung into a single that he parlayed into a trip to second while Moniot raced to third and Burt came home for an unearned run, the first of the inning.
Next up was Kyler Murray who was also hit by a pitch, with Matt Vierling recording out No. 2 with another fly ball to Chatham shortstop Antonio Ralat. Then came Cameron Simmons to bat, smacking a double to bring Murray to third while Moniot and Ogren each managed to race home, giving Harwich a 5-2 edge.
Chatham instituted a pitching change in an attempt to stanch the bleeding, but during Jacob Stevens's second pitch Harwich's Nick Dalesandro hit a single that allowed Murray and Simmons to blaze around to home, putting the Mariners ahead 7-2 before the inning came to a close on an out from Jordan Verdon.
A seventh-inning home run by Chatham's Fabian Pena gave the Anglers hope, but Harwich closer Austin Hansen clinched the win by allowing just one hit, one walk, and no runs while striking out three in a little more than two innings on the mound.
The Anglers struck first in the outing when Jake Palomaki came around on a single from teammate Jacob Olson to put the visitors ahead, but Harwich responded in the second with two runs, the first when Simmons came in on a single from Verdon and the second when Verdon came home on a hit from Andrew Moritz.
Until the Mariners' triumphant fifth inning the game was stuck in a 2-2 deadlock, similar to the two teams' previous outing the night before in Chatham, which saw both teams stuck at one run apiece until the last inning.
After Mason Koppens scored the game's first run, unearned, in the third inning to put Chatham ahead, Max Burt of the Mariners brought one in for his team to even things up, where they stayed until the ninth.
At the top of the inning it looked as if the Mariners had snagged the win when Cameron Simmons scored on a double from Travis Moniot, but the Anglers were determined to taste victory at home. In their half of the frame Josh Stowers scored on a combination fielder's choice and an error by Harwich third baseman Justin Novak for the tying run, before a bases-loaded walk from Mason Koppens brought in Cody Roberts for the game-winner.
In the July 2 outing Chatham's Jake Palomaki went 2-for-4 with two runs, while Fabian Pena went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. On the Harwich side Travis Moniot went 1-for-3 with a run, while Ryne Ogren went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and Simmons went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
“We played eight great innings,” said Chatham head coach John Schiffner following the Sunday game. “We had that one bad inning, and if we didn't have that inning we win. We have to eliminate that inning. Some things happened that shouldn't have happened and we just didn't get our breaks. That's what happens. If you don't get breaks and you make a couple of mistakes the other team capitalizes.”
Schiffner thought starting pitcher Jacob Stevens had a strong game and was thrilled with JB Pena's homer, as well as Ralat's hitting.
Harwich manager Steve Englert was happy to tuck a much-needed win under the team's caps.
“We got a great start out of the Baumer,” he said of Harwich starting pitcher Tyler Baum, who went six innings with five hits, two runs, and six strikeouts.
He was also pleased with the big fifth inning.
“We strung some hits together and got a bunch of runs and we needed that,” Englert said. “It was a tough one last night that could have gone either way. In the streak we've been on, a few of those games could have gone either way. Hopefully we'll start playing better now.”
Englert felt his team's offensive approach was solid.
“They did a really good job base running,” he said. “Max got us started there with that push bunt and ran to second when he caught them sleeping and that started everything up for us.”
Next up for the Anglers is a trip to Cotuit tomorrow night (July 7) to face the Kettleers with a 5 p.m. start, while the Mariners are at home against Bourne with a 5:30 p.m. start. July 8 finds Chatham at Y-D (5 p.m.) with Harwich hosting Brewster (5:30), while on July 9 Harwich travels to Cotuit for a 5 p.m. game and the Anglers host the Firebirds at 7 p.m.