CHATHAM ---- If you had not heard, it rained a lot last summer. That’s why this summer’s beautiful weather was even more welcoming for the teams in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
That is, until the past two weeks.
Rain has once again made a mess of the schedule, and the Chatham Anglers have been effected more than most by the recent postponements. The Anglers had four games postponed over the last week, and on Monday began a stretch of 12 games in 10 days to close out the season. Add this to the fact that they are battling for their playoff lives and it’s easy to see they are faced with a daunting task.
“We are obviously concerned about how tired the kids are going to get,” Chatham field manager John Schiffner said. “I said to the guys the other night in Falmouth, ‘We are here to play baseball and you are going to play a lot of baseball in the next week and a half. Enjoy it.’”
The Anglers have enjoyed it so far. After three straight rainouts over the weekend, they defeated Brewster for the second time in a row with a walk-off hit on Monday, and then swept a doubleheader from Bourne the next day. The four-game winning streak is the longest of the year for the Anglers, who recently endured an eight-game losing streak. With a deep pitching staff and a versatile roster, they are poised for a late-season run.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and I know it’s going to be a lot of games and a lot of hard work, but that’s what we’re up here to do, play baseball,” catcher Phil Pohl (Clemson) said. “We’re playing a bunch of games in a short amount of time, so right now is a time if we get hot and get on a good roll we can slide into that last spot.”
After three games in two days, the task ahead does not get any easier. They travel to face the top two teams in the East ---- Brewster and Y-D ----- on consecutive days before hosting Cotuit.
And then the schedule really gets interesting. The Anglers were scheduled to play a 5 p.m. game on Sunday in Wareham, but thanks to last Sunday’s rainout with Falmouth, they will make a stop at Guv Fuller Field for a 1 p.m. first pitch before moving on to face the Gatemen.
The same holds true on Tuesday when they host Hyannis in a make-up game at 1 p.m. before facing an Orleans team that they are chasing for the final playoff spot.
“The travel is going to be tough,” Schiffner said. “Stopping a game, your emotions run out and your adrenaline runs out. Now you got to crank it up again on the bus because your body is accustomed to getting on the bus and taking a nap and getting ready to get something to eat.”
Pohl was ever the optimist when he spoke about the double-site doubleheaders his team will play.
“I loved playing baseball ever since I can remember” he said. “It’s just we get to do it twice in a day. It’s going to come down to who has life in their legs and their arms and we’ll see what happens from there.”
The journey has begun for the Anglers. Three games down and three victories have pulled them within four points of fourth place Orleans, with two games in hand. With every game and each victory, they are getting closer and closer to making those final two games with the rival Firebirds mean something.
“I really hope things work out for these guys, because they could have packed it in a long time ago and they have not,” Schiffner said. “They are still battling and still working hard, and I think they deserve a shot at making the playoffs.”