CHATHAM, NJ - It was inevitable that the scoreless pitching streak to start the season had to end for the Chatham baseball staff. The winning, however, continued on.
The Cougars ran their streak to 28 straight scoreless innings to start the season before Hanover Park pushed across an unearned run in the third inning of Chatham's 4-2 victory on Tuesday at Chatham High.
"That was a helluva impressive streak we had going there," Chatham coach Todd Leathers said. "We knew it was going to happen at some point. We just wanted to make sure that when it did happen, the wheels didn't fall off.
"Stam (Matt Stamford) went out and had another great start and Billy (Gyves) came in and did exactly what you're supposed to do when you have a three-run lead is pound the zone and come away with another victory."
The offense for Chatham (5-0) was fueled by Peter DeMaria. The junior first baseman hit two doubles, drove in two runs, scored a run and stole a base.
Stamford (2-0), a junior left-hander, allowed six hits and struck out eight in his six innings before Gyves closed out the seventh for Chatham. In the second inning, Stamford had to battle a sore back and a little bit of a jam. With one out, a shot up the middle bounced off Stamford's back, but he shook it off to pick off the runner at first and strike out the next batter to end the threat.
"I think that woke me up," Stamford said of the ball that hit his back.
With two outs in the third, Hanover Park had a runner reach on an infield error. Two straight hits followed, ending the scoreless streak at 28 innings and tying the game at 1-1. Stamford scattered two hits over the next three innings before handing a 4-1 lead to Gyves.
"His curveballs were real good today," Leathers said. "He didn't have his best stuff, but he goes out there and competes. He did a great job."
Peter DeMaria talks about Chatham's 5-0 start to the season
Chatham had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Jimmy Cunningham singled with one out and scored on DeMaria's double to center. Cunningham walked in the third ahead of DeMaria's drive to left center for his second double and a 2-1 lead (see hit below).
Chatham improved its lead to 3-1 in the fourth. Connor Kressler's double to center scored Sam Browning, who had reached on an error. In the fifth, DeMaria walked, stole second and scored on Chris Delsandro's single up the middle.
"The bats have been good for us all year," Delsandro. "Each day, we expect our seniors to show up. We didn't panic when we gave up a run. It's baseball, that's what happens."