CHATHAM – When the Chatham Anglers hosted the Harwich Mariners on June 30, for the better part of the game it seemed either team could be the victor, but a four-run seventh from the home team put the game away for good, especially thanks to the prowess of the Chatham bullpen.
“The guys on the mound really set the tone for us,” said Chatham head coach Tom Holliday. “Dan Hammer pitched really well. Every guy that went to the mound pitched well. We didn't have anybody get in trouble on the mound tonight.”
Chatham reached the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third after two-plus scoreless innings as starting pitchers from both teams, Hammer for Chatham and Jack Dreyer for Harwich, retired their respective sides 1-2-3.
Then, in the bottom of the third, Chatham's Branden Fryman hit a single to center to reach first before stealing second and hitting third on an error by Dreyer. A single from Greg Jones allowed Fryman to come home, putting the score at 1-0 in the Anglers' favor.
A scoreless fourth saw the Mariners Danny Casals, Aaron Schunk, and Andre Lipcius go down in quick succession, with the Anglers' following suit as Tristin English struck out swinging and Rankin Woley hitting a fly ball for the second out before Drew Mendoza earned the final out, stranding Adam Fogel who had reached on a walk.
A single to right from Nate Eikhoff put a little hope in Harwich fans' hearts, with Gave Rivera's fielder's choice stoking that fire, but with two outs and two men on, Chatham pitcher Nick Scheidler stepped in to relieve Hammer, forcing a fly out from Logan Driscoll to end that half of the inning.
Meanwhile, Harwich starter Dreyer was still hard at work, quickly regrouping after allowing a single from McGee and a double from Fryman before striking out Jones before Jorge Arenas drew the final out.
The Mariners tied the game 1-1 in the sixth with two outs on the board when Casals swung into a double before scoring on a single to center from Schunk. Though Schunk was also eager to make it across home plate, Chatham reliever Zach King kept his wits about him and ended the inning with an out against Lipcius.
With Michael Bienlien now on the mound for Harwich, the Anglers went to work trying to break the tie, with Tristin English landing on first after an error by Mariners third baseman Schunk. Ben Ramirez then struck out swinging for the first out, with Blake Sabol earning out number two. A walk put Drew Mendoza on first, with all men on base advancing after Nick Kahle was hit by a pitch, but any hopes of scoring were dashed when Ashton McGee was struck out by Bienlien.
Then came the decisive seventh, which began with the Mariners bowing out fairly quickly, save for a walk from Rivera, before the Anglers stepped up to the plate. Branden Fryman led off with a walk, with Greg Jones clocking the ball on a 2-1 count for a deep triple that saw Fryman blaze around the bases fast enough for his helmet to fly off for Chatham's second run of the game.
Harwich pitcher Jackson Gillis took over for Bienlien as John Rave subbed for Chatham's Jorge Arenas, with Rave hitting a double to score Jones, bringing the score to 3-1 for the home team. After a fly out from English, Ben Ramirez hit a sac fly to center that saw Rave land safely at home, with Blake Sabol capping things off with a solo homer to right.
From there it came down to Chatham's King and Andrew Miller, with King earning the save in his three innings of work, during which he allowed just two hits, one run, and one walk, with four strikeouts.
Holliday was pleased to see his team carry over the momentum from the previous night's 5-2 victory against the Y-D Red Sox.
“Every baseball game has a personality,” he said. “After last night, we snapped a losing streak, so you kind of want to ride that momentum a bit.”
He praised his team's hitting in their outing against Harwich as well as their overall energy.
“We haven't hit left handers well, and we finally hit the ball hard a couple times,” he said. “And there was a little bit of a spirit about the team tonight that was different. It was like, 'we're going to turn that scoreboard around.' You start sensing a little bit of confidence. You start sensing maybe a bunch of guys deciding they want to be a team. I thought we played really good baseball. It was just one of those games you feel really good about.”
Meanwhile, Harwich head coach Steve Englert was disappointed, especially given his team's big 10-8 win against Orleans the previous night. But he isn't counting his team out.
“Sometimes you have a bad inning, and that bad inning just turned out to be a bad inning,” he said. “We were a little flat from last night, an emotional, come-from-behind, extra innings win, but that's the whole challenge in this league, to stay even-keeled. To grind out every single game. It's tough to do that. But that's what they're going to get at the next level. But I think we'll be OK. Some guys are starting to improve, which is what the main point is up here. To get better every single day, and hopefully you win some games along the way.”
Next up for the Mariners is a July 4 outing at Brewster at 5 p.m., while Chatham hosts Orleans for a 7 p.m. game. On Thursday (July 5) Harwich hosts Brewster beginning at 6:30 p.m., with Chatham traveling to Orleans for a 7 p.m. start. July 6 finds Harwich at Y-D beginning at 5 p.m., with Chatham at Falmouth beginning at 6 p.m. On July 7 the Mariners and the Anglers meet again at Veterans Field for a 7 p.m. game.