CHATHAM – Friday nights might be where the fun is at, but this past Friday night found the Chatham Anglers not having a good time as they struggled against the Wareham Gatemen, ultimately falling 7-4 in Cape League action.
A troublesome first inning proved Chatham's undoing in the June 28 outing, which kicked off with a Wareham home run from leadoff batter Braiden Ward. His shot over the fence would be the first of four runs from the opposing team, giving the Gatemen a comfortable 4-0 edge before Chatham's defense finally shut them down.
Unfortunately for the Anglers, the third inning proved just as challenging, with the visitors again leading off with a homer, this time from Adrian Del Castillo, who sent his second pitch over the fence.
A wild pitch during Jonathan Gates' at bat then let Matt McLain race home, with Dallas Beaver making it across the plate thanks to a single from teammate Chad Stevens, putting Wareham ahead 7-0.
Kaden Polcovich gave Angler fans hope in the bottom of the third when a sacrifice shot allowed Jorge Arenas to score Chatham's first run of the game, but Wareham pitcher Austin Weiermiller struck out Jamal O'Guinn II to end the inning before the Anglers could do more damage.
Although the Angler bullpen settled into a groove after the third and kept the Gatemen scoreless for the game's remainder, there was little offense to back them up until a late-game surge that saw Hueston Morrill score on a single from Anthony Vilar.
Then came the ninth inning, which put Angler fans on the edges of their seats, albeit temporarily. After Wareham pitcher Coy Cobb stepped in for Landen Roupp, Chatham's Ben Ramirez led off with a double. Next up was Cade Cabbiness with a single that allowed Ramirez to make it home, narrowing Wareham's lead slightly.
Arenas was hit by a pitch, putting two men on with no outs as the fans in the stands began to buzz with hope of a rally. The buzz mounted when Charlie Welch was walked, loading the bases.
A pitching change brought about a strikeout against Morrill, but left the bases loaded with one out and Polcovich at bat. A single to right scored Cabbiness for Chatham's fourth run. With the bases still loaded, the potential winning run stepped to the plate, but after a ball, a swinging strike, and another ball, Colin Hall swung into a fly out.
With only one more chance left at turning the ending around, Vilar stepped to the plate, his teammates and fans chanting for a big hit. But it wasn't meant to be, with the game ending on a dropped strike that was quickly snagged and thrown to first for the final out.
Next up for Chatham is a trip to Eldredge Park in Orleans to face the Firebirds tonight (July 4) at 7 p.m., with the Anglers then venturing to Falmouth for a doubleheader against the Commodores tomorrow, with the first game set to start at 3 p.m. On July 6 the Anglers head to Cotuit for a 5 p.m. game, returning to Veterans Field on July 7 for a doubleheader against Brewster, with Game 1 set to begin at 4:30 p.m. On July 8 the Anglers head to Orleans for a make-up game at 7 p.m., and on July 9 travel to Harwich for a 6:30 contest.