When your starting pitcher doesn't give up a hit, your team is probably in good shape to pick up a win. Chatham's Garrett Davis (UNC) did not allow a hit and the Anglers defeated Wareham, but the victory did not come easy. In a very entertaining game last night, Chatham added to Wareham's early-season miseries as the Anglers escaped Spillane Field with a 6-5 win. Davis' struggles began in the second inning when he walked Chris Walker and Max Muncy to start the frame. Tyler Bream helped Davis when he swung at what would have been ball four and popped to the shortstop. Davis proceeded to walk Robert Kral to load the bases. Chatham escaped unscathed when Derek Dennis ripped a 3-1 pitch that seemed to be ticketed for rightfield. Instead, Anglers first baseman Ricky Oropesa used every inch of his 6'3" frame to snag the ball and he tossed to second to nab the baserunner for an inning-ending doubleplay.
The beat continued in the third inning when Adam McClain walked and stole second to get things started. After a groundout, George Springer walked to put runners on the corners. Davis then uncorcked a wild pitch that allowed McClain to score the first run of the game. With a 2-0 count on Alex Dickerson, Chatham manager John Schiffner had seen enough and he summoned Chris Munnelly from the bullpen. Dickerson walked, but Munnelly got just what he needed as Chatham turned a 5-4-3 doubleplay to avoid further damage.
In the meantime, Wareham's Eric Pfisterer (Duke) was mowing down Chatham batters with relative ease. He ran into a little trouble in the fourth when Oropesa recorded Chatham's first hit. Pfisterer then walked Mark Ginther but a strikeout and popup ended that threat.
Chatham broke through in the fifth when Dan Paolini hit a ball that just made it over the fence in left for his first homerun of the season. Wareham wasted little time taking back the lead when Springer hit a shot that landed in the leftfield bleachers.
With the Gatemen up 2-1, Chatham did some damage in the seventh. Aaron Westlake singled to start things off. After hitting Kevin Vance, Pfisterer was replaced by Joseph Flynn. Flynn got just what he needed - a doubleplay groundball - but second baseman McClain dropped the throw from the shortstop and instead of being out of the inning, the Anglers had the bases loaded. With the count full, Flynn walked Peter Verdin to force in a run. The Anglers took the lead when Brian Humphries lined a single up the middle to score Vance and Paolini.
Zack Jones relieved Munnelly to begin the home half of the seventh. With two on, and two out, Walker roped a shot to the base of the fence in right-center scoring both runers and knotting the game at 4-4. Muncy stepped to the plate and hit a shot to nearly the same spot at Walker. Chatham centerfielder Humphries raced back and made a fully-extended, diving catch to end the inning.
Wareham threatend to re-take the lead in the eighth when a single, error and walk loaded the bases. Jones got Springer to fly out to right to end the inning.
Flynn's defense let him down in the ninth. Paolini hit a ground ball to third and Bream threw the ball away, allowing Paolini to move to second. The next batter, Verdin, topped a ball toward third. Bream fielded it cleanly but threw wildly again as Paolini came around with the go-ahead run. Wareham manager Cooper Farris was visibly frustrated as he came out to replace Flynn with Keith Bilodeau. Humphries greeted Bilodeau with a double to plate Verdin with what would turn out to be the game-winning run. The last out was recorded when Ginther hit a ball to Bream. Bream's throw to first was wide and in the dirt but Muncy scooped up the throw, preventing another run from scoring and saving Bream from his third throwing error of the inning.
Matt Brazis came in to try to close it out for Chatham but Wareham would not go quietly. Dickerson and Walker provided hope for Wareham when they each singled to start the inning. Muncy hit a grounder to short and Walker was forced at second. Muncy took second on a clear case of defensive indifference (although he was credited with a stolen base for some reason.) Dickerson scored to bring Wareham within one when pinch-hitter Jerrud Sabourin grounded out to first. Brazis got L.J. Mazzilli to ground out to second and end the game.
NOTES: The win allows Chatham to take over the top spot in the East with a record of 7-2-1. Wareham dropped their third in a row to fall to 3-7. The Gatemen are 1-5 at Spillane Field. The Anglers are 3-0 in one-run games. Davis issued 7 free passes in just 2.1 innings of work and of his 58 pitches, only 19 were strikes. Teams from the East have gotten an early jump on teams from the West. Head-to-head, the East leads 17-8-1. So far, there have been 7 games played that have taken three hours or longer to play. Chatham has been involved in five of those games. Chatham (.242) and Wareham (.240) rank second and third respectively in team batting average. Wareham's 3.78 team ERA puts them last in that category. Chatham and Wareham will meet again on Sunday for a doubleheader at Veterans Field. Before that, there is the potential for a great pitching matchup in Wareham tomorrow evening when Brewster's Anthony Ranaudo (LSU) is slated to face Matt Barnes (UConn). Billy Besinger, an infielder from Milton, MA. who was released by Chatham to make room for Miami's Stephen Perez, has signed with Bourne. After the game, Wareham released Kral and Arizona State's Jordan Swagerty.