Harwich drops fourth straight, 13-12 in Chatham



Complete and utter chaos.

That's the only way to describe the Harwich Mariners' 13-12 extra-innings loss to Chatham on Sunday night. In a game that took well over four hours and that Harwich led by as many as seven runs, it's safe to say that Sunday night was the most wild game that the Mariners have played this season.

As the clock ticked closer to 11 p.m. and the fog began to overtake Veterans Field, the Mariners and Anglers embarked into extra innings, the first time Harwich has needed bonus baseball this season.

A frenzy of runs from Chatham in the eighth and ninth innings brought it back from an 11-5 deficit that it faced through seven innings. With momentum entirely on its side, Chatham took the field in the top of the 10th as the Mariners looked to salvage a game that they completely owned for seven and a half innings.

With the ghost runner on second base, Harwich manager Steve Englert elected to do what most coaches do in that situation: bunt.

Tommy Barth (East Tennessee) carried out his job to perfection, laying down the sacrifice bunt to advance Cade Kurland (Florida) to third base with one out.

Now it was up to Cam Maldonado (Northeastern) to get a ball in play and drive in the run that would give his team the lead. He did just that, ripping a slow ground ball to short that was scooped up by Chatham shortstop Aiva Arquette.

Kurland made a risky decision to break for home on contact, which Arquette recognized and made the decision to go home with the ball.

And he had him dead to rights; that is, IF he had made an accurate throw to the plate. The throw beat Kurland to home by a solid three steps, but it was spiked a foot short of Chatham catcher Campbell Smithwick, who was unable to corral the ball in time to tag Kurland out.

12-11 Harwich.

The Mariners then had a chance to give the Anglers a real test in the bottom of the 10th, by scoring a few more runs and putting all of the pressure on the Chatham lineup. However, Chatham reliever Hayden Murphy locked back in and got the final two outs of the inning before Harwich could scrape any more runs across.

Now needing one run to tie and two runs to win, the Anglers decided to follow the same path as Harwich and advance the ghost runner to third base with a sacrifice bunt. Eli Paton laid down a clean bunt and Harwich pitcher Colton Shaw (Yale) leapt off the mound to try to get that all-important first out. Shaw's throw to a covering Kurland at first was just high, and Kurland was unable to bring the ball in cleanly, allowing the winning run to land on first base with no outs.

Still carrying all of that momentum from their eighth and ninth inning rallies, as well as the support of the many loyal Angler fans who stuck around late into the night, Chatham brought those runs across in dramatic fashion, first with an RBI single from Austin Overn, and finally the knockout blow, a walk-off sac fly from Smithwick.

The Anglers celebrated on the field and then thanked their supporters by walking through the stands and high-fiving the remaining fans in the ballpark.

For the Mariners, Sunday night's collapse is an extension of the subpar baseball the team has been playing in the last week, as their losing streak has now expanded to four games. The M's dropped to third place in the CCBL East Division, while Chatham moved up to second place with the win.

The Mariners are off Monday, along with five other teams. They'll be back on the diamond Tuesday night at Whitehouse Field to take on the Hyannis Harbor Hawks for the third time this season. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.