CHATHAM ─ The first time the Chatham Anglers faced the Harwich Mariners this season, the game belonged solely to Harwich. The second time proved the charm for the Anglers, when a home run in the eighth, followed by a 1-2-3 ninth led to a 4-2 victory for Chatham on Saturday.
Things got off to a tense start at Veterans Field when Chatham starting pitcher Tanner Chock allowed Ernie Clement and Pavin Smith to get on base with just one out on the board, but Chock kept his wits about him, forcing Joseph Dunand to fly out before striking out Johnny Adams to end that half of the inning.
After a scoreless but active second inning, the Anglers put the game's first runs on the board, taking a 2-0 lead. After a Jake Palomaki fly out, Stuart Fairchild smashed a long triple, sliding safely into third as Dunand, manning the base for the Mariners, awaited a throw that didn't come. A double from Gunnar Troutwine brought in Fairchild for the game's first run, with Troutwine blazing home for the next score on a single from Chase Pinder.
For the next two innings the game remained scoreless, until the sixth when the Mariners evened things up. After Smith drew the inning's first out, Dunand swung into a double, then made it to third on a wild pitch. Minutes later, walks from Adams and Cal Raleigh loaded the bases and inspired a pitching swap on behalf of the Anglers, with Isaac Mattson stepping in for Chock.
Unfortunately for Mattson, Austin Filiere was at the ready, batting into a ground rule double that came close to dropping over the fence, but instead got tangled up in the outfield and resulted in runs scored by Dunand and Adams.
With the game tied and heading into the later innings, both teams were eager for a go-ahead, and it was the Anglers who found their wish granted in the bottom of the seventh. Leadoff batter Orlando Garcia reached on a single before John Aiello drew the first out. Next up was Palomaki, who reached on a walk, putting two men on with one out.
Once again it was Fairchild who drove a long single that saw Harwich stumble into an error while Garcia raced home, diving for the bag as Harwich catcher Nick Dalesandro lost control of the ball, putting Chatham ahead 3-2.
The clincher came in the eighth when Patrick Mathis, with one out already on the board, hit a soaring home run, giving Chatham a 4-2 edge that closing pitcher Moises Ceja carried into a 1-2-3 final inning that included a fly out foul caught by Aiello, a swinging strikeout, and a fly out to second that Chatham's Palomaki handily tucked into his glove.
Highlights of the outing also included a spectacular throw to home by Fairchild from center field, as well as a stellar diving catch by the outfielder in the eighth. At bat he went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while Troutwine went 1-for-3, also with a run and an RBI. Garcia went 1-for-4 with a run, while Mathis went 1-for-1 with a run and an RBI.
On the mound, Chatham's Chock lasted just over five innings, allowing four hits and two runs with two strikeouts, while Mattson earned the win with five strikeouts, two hits, and no runs in two-plus innings. Chatham's closer Ceja earned the save with one strikeout in his one inning.
At bat for Harwich, Dunand went 1-for-4 with a run, while Adams went 0-for-3 with a run. Meanwhile, it was a tough night for starting pitcher Packy Naughton who allowed five hits and two runs with five strikeouts in four-plus innings, with reliever Brad Bass stepping in for 1.2 innings in which he allowed two hits and one run to draw the loss. Theodore Rodliff subbed for Bass for less than an inning, allowing a hit, while Harwich closer Nick Brown allowed one run on one hit with three strikeouts.
The teams meet again on Sunday night in Chatham with a 7 p.m. start time at Veterans Field.