Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Downtime affects Townies, Mariners continue to roll

Downtime affects Townies, Mariners continue to
By Jason Brisbois - Cape Ann Beacon

This is just what Jeremy Spittle was hoping wouldn’t happen.

After a 10-day layoff, it was apparent the Townies weren’t playing with the same fervor as when they had a streak of three wins in five days and pulled just above .500. Last Thursday, Rockport’s entry into the Intertown Twilight League fell to Beverly, 4-3.

“We had that layoff, and the layoff hurt us,” said Spittle, the Townies’ player/coach. “This is what I was worried about.”

Andrew Vafallo pitched admirably in a complete-game effort for the baseball team, but it wasn’t enough as Rockport mustered a total of only four hits.

“If we score runs, we’re going to win,” said Spittle. “But we need to score runs to win the game.”

It was a far cry from the team’s streak from a couple of weeks ago, one that helped them to overcome a slow start and get back on track. With numerous rainouts and postponements dotting the ITL landscape so far this summer, July’s schedule is loaded with multiple games on consecutive days. After seeing the Townies respond positively to playing four or five games in a short amount of time, this could be seen as an advantage for Rockport.

“The schedule starts to pick up from here on out,” said Spittle. “In July, we’ve got a boatload of games. It’s a good, little stretch. Hopefully we can start to get some momentum back.”

The Townies are far from out of it at this point. In fact, at 5-5, they are in third place in the league, with first-place Manchester Essex looming this weekend.

“There are a lot of teams under us who are struggling the same, if not worse,” Spittle said. “It’s not like we’re in danger here. We’re right where we want to be. I’d prefer not to have five losses at this point, but we’re playing catch-up to Rowley and Manchester. Those are the two teams right now. I’d be happy if we take two out of our next three.”

The Mariners, meanwhile, remained in first place with a dramatic, extra-inning victory over Hamilton last Friday. The 6-4 win put Manchester Essex firmly in first place in the league at 9-1.