Monday, July 12, 2010

Encouraging signs for Rockport as Townies surge to second place in ITL

Encouraging signs for Rockport as Townies surge to second place in ITL
By Jason Brisbois/
Cape Ann Beacon

With the Intertown Twilight League’s midseason now upon us, there’s a tight race atop the baseball league’s standings. And the Rockport Townies are right in the thick of things. A week ago, the Townies were hovering just above .500 and looking to get back in the ITL race. Three wins and seven days later, and Rockport is there, holding down second place in the league with a 7-3 record, just behind Manchester Essex (8-3-1) and just ahead of Hamilton (7-5), a team that took two first-half wins over the first-place Mariners.

“Those three games were big for us,” explained Rockport player/coach Jeremy Spittle. “It’s very encouraging, especially the way we’ve won some of those games. I think each win is a little different.”

Last Thursday, the name of the game was pitching and defense in a 4-3 win over Beverly. Derek Osmond picked up a complete-game win, scattering three runs, while the defense was solid behind him. The Townie offense did just enough to give Rockport the edge.

“Our team defense played really well,” said Spittle. “I think that win alone was a total team effort, with timely hits on top of good pitching and defense.”

On July 2, starter Matt Sharon struggled on the mound – as did the Rockport defense – but the Townies were able to do some damage at the plate to pull out an 11-7 win over Topsfield.

“Topsfield was a bit of a struggle,” said Spittle. “Even though we won, 11-7, we weren’t as crisp defensively. Matt Sharon pitched and it was a struggle for him. But at the same time, we were able to string hits together and score runs. It was a struggle, but we were able to find a way to win a game where we weren’t playing our best.”

On Monday night, the offense and the pitching of Brent Currier helped the Townies to overcome defensive deficiencies and earn a 7-2 win over Hamilton.

“We had great pitching from Brent last night,” explained Spittle. “There were a couple of extra runs given up by our defense. Our offense was great. We got the runs we needed in the key moment that we needed them.”

It all adds up to an intriguing battle in the season’s second half between the three heavyweights of the ITL, and the schedule makers have wasted no time in bringing on some dramatic matchups. On Thursday, the Townies travel to Hamilton to attempt to stay ahead of the Generals (5:45 p.m.). On Sunday, it’s a double-header against Manchester-Essex at Evans Field in Rockport (starting at 2:35 p.m.).

“I still don’t think we’ve played our best game, but we’re starting to get there,” added Spittle. “I think our best baseball is yet to come.”