CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham did all it could against a strong Delbarton team, but extra innings proved too much to handle for the Cougars.
Delbarton handed Chatham their first loss of the season on Monday. The Cougars fell to Delbarton, 7-2, in 10 innings.
“We played well for nine out of 10 innings,” Cougar senior outfielder Sam Browning said.. “We can’t hang our heads too much. We’ve got to come back strong.”
Matt Stamford had the start for Chatham, and he worked his way out of a few tough situations in his first three innings of work. After a throwing error allowed Delbarton’s Greg Olson to reach third with only two outs in the first inning, Stamford managed to force a Hunter Waldis groundout to keep Delbarton off the board.
Stamford later allowed back-to-back hits to Olson and Waldis in top of the fourth. With runners at second and third and nobody out, the junior left-hander induced two fly outs and a strikeout to escape danger once again.
“I was pretty confidant on the mound,” Stamford said. “I had no reason to be scared. I just did what I did and it worked for a while."
Waldis started for Delbarton and was dominant in the early going. He held the Cougars hitless for the first four innings while striking out five.
Both teams managed to get on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. With two outs, Delbarton’s Anthony Volpe drew a walk and stole second base. Kevin Schroeder followed up with an RBI single to center field, putting Delbarton ahead, 1-0.
Chatham was able to answer right back in the bottom of the fifth, as Browning notched the first hit of the day for the Cougars with a triple into right field. With a runner on third and two outs, Waldis hit three consecutive Cougars. Jack Lamar's hit by pitch forced in Browning and tied it at 1-1.
Delbarton (4-3) regained the lead in the sixth. With one out, Pat Harrington and George Parsells hit back-to- back singles to give the Green Wave a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars were able to put together a rally of their own in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game once again. Matt Devlin singled through the right side, leading to an RBI single from Browning to even the score at two.
“I felt like I was seeing the ball pretty good and getting some good swings,” Browning said. “I was just trying to do my job and move the line for the next guy.”
Both teams fought hard to score in extra innings, but Delbarton was able to get the advantagewith a five-run top of the 10th. Volpe led off the inning with a single and advanced to third base on an errant pickoff attempt from Devlin. Schroeder followed up with a grounder to short, and a wild throw allowed Volpe to score and give Delbarton the lead. RBI singles from Parsells and Thomas Colicchio extended the Green Wave’s lead to 5-2, and an RBI double from Peter Rayse widened the deficit to 7-2. The Cougars were unable to answer back in the bottom of the inning.
“It was just one of those days,” Chatham coach Todd Leathers said. “Losing is not fun, and our guys understand that. But the beauty of baseball is that we can come back tomorrow and we get another chance to play.”
Another blow for the Cougars is a potential injury to Peter DeMaria. The junior first baseman was pulled after his at-bat in the first inning with an injured hamstring. He managed to come back into the game in the sixth inning and hit a single, but he came up limp on his way to first base.
“We just wanted to be a little cautious,” Leathers said. “Its early in the season, no reason to rush him back.”
With the loss, Chatham falls to 6-1 on the season. They resume action on Tuesday when they play host Pope John at 4 p.m.