Monday, August 10, 2009

Mariners Take Game 1 of Finals

In a tightly contested affair, the Manchester/Essex Mariners took Game 1 of the ITL Finals on Sunday afternoon 5-4 over the Rockport Townies at Memorial Park in Essex. Mariners hurler, Mike Gibbon, pitched the complete game for the victory. Gibbon scattered 6 hits throughout the game, while surrending all 4 runs in the top of the 5th inning (1 earned run). In the process Gibbon also struck out 8 Townies and walked only 1. Andrew Vassallo started on the hill for the Townies and went 2 1/3 innings, surrending the 5 runs (3 earned), striking out 1, walking 1, and surrending 7 hits in the loss. Derek Osmond came in relief and kept the Townies in the game, with 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. Throughout Osmond's strong relief performance he gave up only 1 hit, 3 strikeouts, 1 base on balls, and a hit batsmen.

The Mariners struck first in the 1st inning with Rory Gentile leading off the game with a "bloop" double down the rightfield line, which was followed up with an rbi single from rookie Alex Ray. In the 2nd inning the Mariners plated their second run with a Bryan Lafata single, Ian Buckley walk, followed by a successful sacrifice bunt by Whit Graham. Vassallo got the 2nd out of the inning without any harm, but on a routine ground ball for the third out an error was made and pushed the unearned run home. The Mariners tallied their other 3 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning with back to back doubles to lead off the inning by Joe Orlando and Mike Cain. After an out, Cain stole 3rd base which drew the Rockport infield in and leaving Lafata to hit a "cue shot" single up the middle to drive Cain home. The last run of the inning, Lafata was pushed around on a groundout, error, and scored on a wild pitch. From that point on, Osmond held the Mariners bats in check for the remainder of the game.

Down 5-0 in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Townies came storming back with their 4 runs. Matt Ayer led the inning off with a double to right center that just found the crease between the right and center fielders. After a flyout, infield error and Mike Bertolino single the Townies had the bases loaded for the top of the order. Leadoff hitter Tom Robertson promptly singled to left center driving in 2 runs, which was then followed with the second out of the inning. With 2 out and men on 1st and 2nd, Brent Currier lifted a 3-1 pitch to deep right center for a wall ball single, but was able to push across both Bertolino and Robertson for the 3rd and 4th runs for the Townies. Gibbon was able to settle down for the 6th and 7th innings, recording 5 strikeouts in the last 2 innings.

For the Townies Robertson (2rbi, r), Brent Currier (2rbi), Chris Bouchie, Ayer (r, 2b), Eric Junker, and Bertolino (r) all recorded hits. Mike Anderson did score a run for the Townies as well. Leading the way for the Mariners with 2 hits each was Gentile (r, sb, 2b), Orlando (r, 2b) and Lafata (2r, 1rbi). Ray (rbi, hbp) and Cain (r, rbi, sb, 2b) recorded the other two Mariners hits

Game one was a well contested game with a tremendous crowd on hand. The crowd was treated with one of the top defensive plays in years as center fielder Rory Gentile of the Mariners robbed Brent Currier's bid of a solo home run in the top of the 4th inning, by reaching over the fence and pulling the ball back in play.

Game two will take place on Monday August 10th, 6pm at Evans Field in Rockport. Game 3 is scheduled back at Essex on Wednesday at 5:30pm, with Games 4 (Saturday) and 5 (Sunday) scheduled for 2pm starts if necessary.