19 July 2006

Mariners seek smoother waters

In the latest battle to stay out of the Eastern Division cellar, Chatham claimed an 8-2 victory over Harwich Monday night, putting the Mariners back in last place. 

Harwich third baseman Chad Flack (North Carolina) attempts to throw out a Chatham runner. (Merrily Lunsford photo)

"We’re just going to keep on working hard and not let ourselves get down," said Harwich infielder Sergio Miranda (Virginia Commonwealth). "This is a quality team, and we just need to keep playing hard and having fun out there." 

At 11-15 with 22 points, the Mariners are sitting a point behind Chatham and 12 points behind division leader Y-D, which won its ninth straight on Monday, beating Brewster 3-1. The Red Sox pitchers have given up just two hits over the last two games, thanks to Terry Doyle’s no-hitter against Chatham Sunday. 

Harwich starting pitcher Johnny Dorn (Nebraska), now 0-4 on the season, struggled from the start and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning against the A’s, giving up seven runs on eight hits. 

Chatham scored runs in five of the first six innings, including three in the second, giving the A’s a big lead they wouldn’t give up and breaking their two-game losing streak. 

The Harwich offense got off to a slow start, not registering its first hit until the fourth inning off Chatham starter Rob Woodard. 

The Mariners were coming off a 1-0 victory over Orleans Sunday, thanks to another stellar performance by Tony Watson of Nebraska. 

Watson pitched seven strong innings, giving up only five hits and striking out seven while keeping the Cardinals scoreless to become the league’s first four-game winner. 

Reliever Josh Ellis (Wake Forest) pitched the final two innings, allowing a pair of harmless hits, to earn his second save of the year. 

Watson has emerged as one of the Mariners’ most reliable starters, registering a 4-1 record in five starts and a 2.10 ERA. 

Relievers Dan McDonald (Seton Hall) and Ellis have proven to be very effective out of the bullpen. McDonald has compiled 1.04 ERA in 10 games, and Ellis’ ERA is 1.53 in 11 games. In more than 34 innings pitched between them, the pair has only allowed 15 hits and five earned runs. 

After a pair of rainouts July 12 and 13, the Mariners defeated Wareham 2-0 last Friday behind another solid performance from starter Dan Merklinger of Seton Hall, who pitched six scoreless innings to earn the win and lower his ERA to 1.30, the best among Harwich starters. 

The Mariners had a much harder time against Cotuit Saturday, losing 12-4 and committing eight errors, including a painful three on one play. 

Starter P.J Zocchi (Clemson) was knocked out of the game after the third inning as the Kettleers took advantage of the shoddy defense, scoring seven runs in those first three innings. 

Although he made two errors, hard-hitting Josh Donaldson smashed his third home run of the season against Cotuit. The Mariners’ top batter, Donaldson is fourth in the league in average (.315), first in doubles (nine), second in slugging percentage (.511), and third in hits with 29 as of Monday. 

Although in last place in their division, the Mariners claim the fourth-best team batting average at .229. 

The Mariners will try to string together a few victories to get back in the playoff hunt as they hit the road to take on Falmouth tonight at 7 p.m. Scheduled to make his first start of the season, John Leonard of Virginia Commonwealth will take the mound against the Commodores.


By Matt Rice/ mrice@cnc.com