Monday, August 30, 2010

Mariners topple Townies to take third ITL title in a row

Mariners topple Townies to take third ITL title in a row
By Jason Brisbois/
Posted Aug 25, 2010 @ 07:26 PM

If games one and two of the series gave no inkling as to who was going to come out on top during the Intertown Twilight League finals, game three left little doubt who fortune was going to favor.

After Manchester Essex took game one in a tightly-contested pitchers duel, and Rockport came back with a strong offensive display in game two to knot the best-of-five series at 1-1, it appeared that fate was leaning toward the Townies during game three last Wednesday.

That is, right up until the seventh inning.

Down 4-1 in the bottom of the final inning of the game, the Mariners mounted a memorable comeback, scoring four runs to pull out a 5-4 victory.

“In my 19 years in the league, plus all my years playing in college, that was one of the best endings – and craziest games – I’ve been a part of,” said Manchester Essex player/coach Bryan Lafata.

It was the momentum from this victory that helped the Mariners close out the Townies in game four on Saturday, a 3-1 win earned on the arm of ace Steve Stout, who also pitched a gem in game one of the series for Manchester Essex.

With Manchester Essex winning the series, 3-1, the Mariners have now won the last three ITL championships in a row, with the Townies winning two prior to this. The 2010 series was a rematch of last year’s series between Cape Ann’s two entries into the oldest amateur baseball league in the country.

With the history as such, and the fact that the last two finals featured the two teams that have won at least the last five ITL championships, one could argue the Townies and Mariners are the equivalent to their league that the Lakers and Celtics were to the NBA back in the 1980s.

“It’s always a great rivalry, a great battle,” said Lafata. “I heard from former Townies players when they congratulated us on winning, saying, ‘Man, those Townies still know how to fight.’ It’s always a good series. Even the retired players get the itch to play again when they read about it in the paper.”

Game three was probably enough to get retired players from both sides itching to play again, with former Mariners wishing they were part of the big comeback and former Townies hoping to dust off the cobwebs and help their team bounce back and get back into the series.

The bottom of the seventh in game three began with Nate Bertolino reaching on a fielder’s choice, and was then subsequently brought home by Joe Orlando’s single. Charlie Choate hit a monstrous two-run homer to left center field to tie things up at 4-4. Former Gloucester High School star Brett Cahill drove in the game-winner with a walkoff homer off of Rockport pitcher Mike Emerson.

“I think our pitcher, Mike Emerson, ran out of gas there,” explained Rockport player/coach Jeremy Spittle. “They have guys one-through-nine who can hit, and we were hoping he could give us one more good inning. We had a chance for a double-play that would have given us two outs and no one on, but it didn’t turn out that way. We weren’t able to make the play we needed.”

“Choate’s two-run homer was a no-doubter,” said Lafata. “So the place was going crazy. Cahill had a great at-bat and got it to 3-2 and hit the game-winner. And it all happened so fast. If Cahill doesn’t hit that homerun, it was too late to play extra innings. We’d have to play the game entirely over, and it wouldn’t have much helped us with the injuries we’ve had, or Rockport being short on pitching.”

Game four was a near duplicate of game one. The same pitchers from that game – Steve Stout and Derek Osmond – faced off in that game. Both pitchers were masterful in game one and game four. And ultimately, it was Manchester Essex that prevailed at the end of both games.

In Saturday’s game-one, series-clinching win, Stout allowed only an unearned run and eight hits while striking out four and walking two. Osmond allowed only six hits and two earned runs, while hitting two batters and issuing a walk.

Also similar to game one, the Townies were able to hit, but weren’t able to do much with runners on base, while the Mariners were able to string some hits together and make things happen. The most crucial inning for the M’s was the fourth, when Manchester Essex’s Mike Cain hit a solo homer to tie things at 1-1. Shortstop Whit Graham reached base on a single, and Rory Gentile advanced Graham to third with a single of his own. Lafata’s line drive scored Graham and gave the Mariners the lead for good, and ultimately, the series.

The rest was up to Stout, and he delivered in spades.

“He pitched 14 innings in this series and didn’t allow an earned run,” explained Lafata. “People watch him in games and don’t think he’s very intimidating because he’s a soft-throwing lefty. But he hits his spots and he throws strikes. “

Despite posting the loss on Saturday, Spittle stated Osmond was essential to his team’s success this season.

“Without him, I don’t think we make it to the finals,” said Spittle. “We might not win the first series versus Rowley without him. He’s an important piece for us.”

As a result, Osmond is considered an important piece not just for the present, but for the future of the team as well. And he’s not the only young Townie to show promise this year.

“I like to think that we overachieved a bit this year, given our struggles during the regular season,” explained Spittle. “It was a good building block. Including myself, we’ve got some of the older guys mixed in with the younger guys, and I thought we overachieved. At the same time, it was good to get that experience for the younger guys.”

In the meantime, the Mariners can celebrate their third title in three years, with designs on a fourth thanks to this year’s performance, and an influx of young players of their own, including Brett Cahill and Alex Ray.

“We’ve won the last three, and Rockport won the two before that,” said Lafata. “It took me a good 14 years to get one championship. Now, I’ve won a few in a row, and every one is different. There’s always a new face here and there. We get new guys, some guys hang up their cleats and the next year is the same thing.”

Townies vs. Mariners just as entertaining for second year in a row

Townies vs. Mariners just as entertaining for second year in a row
By Jason Brisbois/
Posted Aug 17, 2010 @ 08:50 PM

The first game of the series was a low-scoring pitchers’ duel, punctuated by strong defense and manufactured runs. The second game featured offensive fireworks and 14 total runs scored between two teams.

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to Townies vs. Mariners for the Intertown Twilight League crown.

It’s the second year in a row that both of Cape Ann’s entries into the oldest amateur baseball league in the country have faced each other in the finals. And the intensity, spontaneity and entertainment value that comes along when Manchester Essex faces off with Rockport in the ITL is as palpable as it was one year ago.

“This seems like a tighter series,” said Townies player/coach Jeremy Spittle after the best-of-five series was knotted at 1-1 over the weekend. “I don’t know why I feel that way. I think [Sunday’s game, a 10-4 Townies victory) was closer than the score indicated. I think game three [scheduled for Aug. 18] will be very pivotal, just like last year. The team that wins will have momentum. The team that loses will have a couple of days to think about it.”

“I think the intensity level is notched up a bit from last year,” continued Spittle. “I feel like this series has been played tighter, with some very intense games.”

Of course, this is simply a standard for two teams that know each other as well as the Townies and Mariners do. Both player/coaches have been at this for a while, and both are aware of the tradition involved not only with their own team, but the opposition as well.

“Of course, there’s an advantage and a disadvantage to knowing each other so well,” said Spittle. “The advantage being you already know your opponent, you know what their so-called weaknesses and strengths are. At the same time, it’s a disadvantage because if something the other team does well plays into your weakness, it doesn’t serve you as well.”

While Manchester Essex coach Bryan Lafata can’t argue against the intensity of the series in 2010, he sees one major difference that the Mariners haven’t seen in the past.

“One thing that’s different is you look at the Rockport lineup, and there are a lot of new faces,” said Lafata. “There are some veterans that we’re used to seeing, like the Currier brother (Brock and Brent) and Danny Greel, but they’ve got a lot of young guys. We’ve also got young guys who’ve had successful high school seasons, guys who haven’t been seen a lot in this league. Even though they’re young, they’ve been there, guys like Brett Cahill and Alex Ray. Even pitching-wise, [the Townies] threw Sean Hull at us, the ace from Gloucester High this year, and he’s new to this series.”

And while there are a lot of familiar faces from last year’s title-winning team on the Mariners’ side, they are missing a key piece or two for this all-important series.

“Our team, we’ve got pretty much the same lineup, and the fact that everyone is now showing up gives us a deeper lineup,” explained Lafata. “We’ve got our core of veterans like Nate Bertolino and Whit Graham who last year helped us win the title. But the fact that Mike Gibbon is hurt hurts our cause. I don’t think he’ll pitch in the finals. Mike’s generally an impact pitcher; every time he goes to the mound, he gives you confidence that you can win. You know you won’t have to score too many runs to win games.”

Despite the presence of new faces, Spittle and Co. know what they’re up against in this series, and they know it well.

“Manchester is the champion, and we’ve got to beat them if we want to win it all,” said Spittle. “Now that’s definitely the case now that we’re in the finals. It’s a challenge, they’re a very good team and Bryan is a very, very good coach.”

Mariners and Townies tied at 1-1 in ITL championship series

Mariners and Townies tied at 1-1 in ITL championship series
By Jason Brisbois/
Posted Aug 17, 2010 @ 08:46 PM
Last update Aug 17, 2010 @ 08:50 PM

Even early on, it’s impossible to tell who will come out on top.

Such is always the case when the Mariners take on the Townies. Throw in the fact that the Intertown Twilight League title is on the line, and the stakes – and intensity level – instantly goes up another notch or two.

“It’s always fun to have a rivalry like this,” Rockport coach Jeremy Spittle said after Sunday’s 10-4 Townies’ win. “Every series is always eventful. Both teams are so good, anything can happen in any given game. This is about the norm for Rockport and Manchester.”

Game one and game two of the 2010 ITL Finals, a best-of-five series, served to further underscore this notion. Manchester Essex took game one in a tight, 2-1 game that featured some stellar pitching performances. Game two saw the Townies roar back and pick up a 10-4 win over the Mariners, coming alive at the plate and taking advantage of Manchester Essex miscues.

“I’m big on the fact that we’re not in an 0-2 hole,” said Spittle. “We’re not looking up, it’s a new series tied at 1-1. It’s more comforting in that sense. At the same time, we can’t think of more than one game at a time.”

Game one saw Manchester Essex’s Steve Stout outduel Rockport starter Derek Osmond in a 2-1 Mariners victory. The winning run was scored in the bottom of the seventh, when centerfielder Charlie Choate hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, driving home Brett Cahill from third and effectively ending the game.

Stout went seven full innings, surrendering only one unearned run and three hits while striking out three and walking three. Osmond went six-plus innings, allowing two earned runs and ten hits while striking out four and walking three. Two of those walks issued by Osmond were intentional, in an attempt to keep Nathan Bertolino’s bat out of the low-scoring affair.

Rockport took an early lead with Mike Emerson reaching on a double, and advancing to third with a steal. When the ensuing relay from third back to the pitcher went wild, Emerson was able to scamper home for the 1-0 lead.

Manchester Essex tied things up in the bottom half of the fifth inning, when Whit Graham and Alex ray reached base on singles, and Cahill sacrifice bunted both runners ahead one base. Bertolino was intentionally walked, and Joe Orlando’ single brought Graham home.

Orlando was 3-for-4 for the Mariners with an RBI, and Cahill and Ray both had two hits each. Emerson, Dan Greel and Conor Ressel all had hits for the Townies.

“Steve did a great job on the mound,” said Mariners player/coach Bryan Lafata. “Defensively, we played with good fundamentals. Whit Graham at shortstop may be our MVP with his defense this year.”

“We didn’t do the little things well,” Spittle said of his team’s performance in game one. “There were a couple of instances where we’re trying to bunt guys over and move guys. We have runners in scoring position, and we’re not able to capitalize. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due: I thought Stout pitched a good game for them.”

Game two was a different story, with the Townies outscoring the Mariners, 10-4 on Sunday afternoon, just one day after their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester Essex.

Shawn Hull got the victory for Rockport, going seven innings while allowing only two earned runs and four hits, striking out three and walking two. Lucas DaSilva started for the Mariners, but was removed from the game by the fourth inning, allowing five earned runs and six hits.

“We were giving them more baserunners without them having to earn it,” said Lafata. “We’re a team that can hit one-through-nine, and we have four guys who could start elsewhere on our bench. We have veteran players on our team and we’re not hitting. We’re hitting fly balls and giving them easy outs where they don’t have to do much. We have to hit the ball hard on the ground, get some line drives, to have more success.”

Greel was 3-for-4 with two RBI’s and Garret Folger was 2-for-3 with three RBI’s, a double and a stolen base. Brent Currier, Spittle, Ressel, Emerson and Osmond all had hits for Rockport, and Ray, Joe Orlando, Ian Buckley and Choate had hits for the Mariners.

“It all begins with Shawn Hull, who pitched really well for us,” said Spittle. “There were a couple of innings there where he had to work out of a couple of jams, but for the most part he held it together. On the pitching end and offensive end, we took advantage of some miscues on Manchester’s part.”

Townies earn trip to ITL championship, Mariners one win away

Townies earn trip to ITL championship, Mariners one win away
By Jason Brisbois/
Posted Aug 11, 2010 @ 07:30 PM

At the start of the week, it was a given that one of Cape Ann’s ITL teams would be back for the Intertown Twilight League’s championship series. By mid-week, the other local team was hoping to do the same.

Both the Rockport and Manchester Essex entries into the Intertown Twilight League were hoping to return to the finals and replicate the Cape-Ann-only matchup from the 2009 ITL baseball championship series. Manchester needed one more win as of mid-week, while the Townies were able to sweep Rowley with a dramatic finish in game two on Tuesday night.

Down 7-3 in the seventh inning, the Townies erupted for six runs in the final stanza to rally and win the game, 9-7. Brock Currier hit the game-winning, walk-off homerun that clinched the game and sent Rockport to the finals for the second year in a row.

“I’ve got to give our guys credit, we were able to work their starter and make him throw a lot of pitches,” said Townies player/coach Jeremy Spittle. “In the seventh, they brought out a lefty, and we took the approach of one pitch at a time, and it worked in our favor. We didn’t draw it up this way, but we’ll certainly take it.”

The drama and importance of the victory was not lost on the Townies.

“It was very reminiscent of 2007, our game three win over Hamilton,” explained Spittle, referring to the walk-off win over the Generals that gave Rockport its third ITL title in three years. “It was almost the same setup. We scored most of our runs with two outs, and we scored runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.”

The team will take advantage of the break provided with a four-day respite. The finals begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Should Hamilton win, Rockport would host game one; if the Mariners win the series, game one would be at Memorial Field in Essex.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time, and I think rest is the key,” said Spittle. “Getting a couple of days off is key; with no game on Thursday, we have four days in the middle, and that certainly helps. The biggest thing is that guys are fired up after that win, and we’re certainly looking forward to the finals.”

The Townies took game one of their series, defeating Rowley, 9-6, on Monday night. Down by a 3-0 score in the bottom of the third, Rockport battled back with a seven-run fourth inning that all but put the game away and stole momentum away from the Rams. Brent Currier had the highlight of this huge inning, knocking out a three-run homer.

While the Townie offense did a number on previously undefeated Rams’ pitcher Nick Liguori, Rockport starter Derek Osmond was solid on the mound for Rockport, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings.

“Derek Osmond pitched the whole game for us, and he pitched well,” said Townies player/coach Jeremy Spittle. “He quieted them down when he needed to, and we gave him two handfuls of good at-bats. We got to a pitcher that normally has been historically good against us.”

Osmond helped his own cause with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, while Brock Currier was 2-for-5.

“We had a couple of guys step up,” said Spittle. “Top to bottom, it was a good team effort.”

Manchester Essex scored an 8-4 victory over Hamilton on Sunday night to take the first game of the best-of-three series against the Generals, but Hamilton struck back just one day later to tie things up with a 14-6 victory. The winner of the Aug. 11 rubber match game at Memorial Field heads to the Intertown Twilight League’s championship series, which begins on Saturday. If the Mariners get in, they will be able to defend their title against the winner of the Rockport/Rowley series. A loss, and they’re out.

Steve Stout earned the victory, pitching a complete game in Sunday’s 8-4 win over the Generals. Stout allowed 10 hits and three walks while striking out one. The Manchester Essex offense, meanwhile, was able to get to Hamilton ace Judd Funchion, and padded their lead thanks to Generals errors.

Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third thanks to Mark Provost’s RBI double, but Manchester Essex put forth a resounding answer with five runs of their own in the bottom of the same inning. Mark Ruggiero’s bases-loaded double was the key hit, driving in three runs and giving the Mariners the lead for good at 5-4. Rory Gentile, Mike MacFarland and Nate Bertolino all had key hits in the game, which the Mariners iced with three runs scored off of errors in the fifth inning.

“Steve Stout was huge pitching a complete game for us,” said Manchester Essex player/coach, Bryan Lafata. “He kept them off balance, and our defense made all the plays. He kept the ball down and was ahead in the count, and that makes it easier on the defense. We had timely hitting, hit the ball hard on the ground and found some holes, which you’ve got to do. It was a good game, with good pitching and defense for us.”

The Generals struck back a day later with a 14-6 win in Hamilton. Jeff Jensen was the winning pitcher for the Generals, and Hamilton hit six homeruns in the game to tie the ITL series at 1-1.

The Mariners were out of this one early, falling behind 9-2 by the second inning. Highlights for the defending champs included big days from Matt Cain (3 hits, 2 RBIs, homerun) and MacFarland (2 RBIs).

“Pretty much, we’ve got to leave game two in the past,” said Lafata. “It was one of those games where we didn’t get much out of it. They came out swinging the bats very good, and they made us pay. Our pitchers left a couple of balls up, and they didn’t miss. One thing we need to take out of this is that we need to keep the ball down, and have our defense make plays, the way we’ve always done it.”

Generals In the News

Hamilton Generals ITL team teeters on brink of elimination
By Dom Nicastro / Correspondent

Hamilton’s Intertown Twilight Baseball team dropped from first to fourth place over the course of the second half of the season.

It put them in the predicament of facing the defending champions, Manchester/Essex, in the first round of this year’s playoffs. And even worse, the Generals lost the opening game, falling to the Mariners, 8-4, in Essex.

But the local team wasn’t going down all that easy.

The team that missed the playoffs came storming back by taking Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinal with a convincing 14-6 win over Manchester/Essex Monday night at Patton Park.

Game 3 was Wednesday night in Essex [after press deadline]. The eventual winner of the series faces the winner of No. 3 Rockport-No.2 Rowley.

“The team that was able to balance pitching, offense, and defense won the game,” Hamilton player/manager Tom Jones said Monday night. “We were able to put it all together where they were able to in Game 1. Game 3 should be a great battle. The Mariners are a very deep team and deserved the No. 1 seed with their great constant play all year.”

Monday night, Jeff Jensen pitched a complete game to earn the win for the Generals, who smashed six home runs.

Jim Maloney had the first, a three-run blast in the opening inning. Tim O’Leary and Justin Tilley then struck back-to-back homers in the next inning, and in the same inning, Bryan Vitale and Maloney had two-run bombs to give Hamilton a 9-2 edge after two.

The next jack came from Jered Stewart, whose three-run bomb in the sixth gave the Generals a 14-4 lead, and the game was eventually called because of darkness in the sixth.

Maloney had five RBI, and Stewart added four. Mark Provost and O’Leary also added multi-hit games.

In Game 1 in Essex Sunday, Steve Stout got the complete game victory over Hamilton, scattering 10 hits and walking just one in an 8-4 Mariners win. Judd Funchion got the start for the Generals, pitched well, but was charged with the loss. The Generals kept it close for most of the day but had a few errors that made the difference in the game.

The Generals got on the board first with an RBI double from Provost in the top of the third.

The Mariners took the lead in the middle innings, and Mark Ruggiero got a bases-loaded double that scored three runs to cut the Mariners lead to 5-4.

Provost, O’Leary and Mark Potter each had two hits apiece for the Generals. Ruggiero had three RBI.

Jones knows it won't be easy to pull off two straight against Manchester Essex.

“They have the league’s past two Cy Young winners, and won the last two ITL championships,” Jones said. “We will have our work cut out for us come Wednesday night, but I like our chances. We are playing great ball and can hopefully carry it over through Wednesday night.”

Hamilton Generals called out of Intertown Twilight League playoffs
By Dom Nicastro / Correspondent
Posted Aug 13, 2010 @ 02:25 PM

Hamilton’s Intertown Twilight League baseball season came to an end Wednesday night in Essex as the Generals fell to Manchester-Essex in the series finale of a best-of-three semifinal, 4-1, at Memorial Park.

Manchester, the two-time defending champion, hosts Rockport in the best-of-five ITL finals in Game 1, Saturday in Essex at 4 p.m. Rockport swept Rowley in the other semifinal.

Ryan Marques pitched the Mariners to victory over the Generals Wednesday night, holding a lineup that scored 14 runs and smacked seven home runs in a Game 2 Hamilton victory to three hits. He had four strikeouts in a complete-game victory.

The Generals ace, Mike Drinkwater, went 5.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on eight hits while striking out five.

Charlie Choate got Manchester-Essex started by driving in Rory Gentile (walk) with a sacrifice flyout in the first inning.

The Generals tied the game in the top of the third inning with a solo home run to right field off the bat of Jim Maloney.

Bryan Lafata’s sacrifice fly in the fifth gave Manchester-Essex the lead for good, and Nate Bertolino singled to drive in Gentile and give the Mariners a 3-1 edge.

Ian Buckley lined a sharp single to right field to drive in the fourth and final run for the Mariners in the sixth.

Tim O’Leary and Mark Provost hit safely for Hamilton.

The schedule for the ITL finals is as such:

Saturday, Aug. 14: Rockport at Manchester-Essex, 4 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 15: Manchester-Essex at Rockport, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 18: Rockport at Manchester-Essex, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 21: Manchester-Essex at Rockport (if necessary), 4 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 22: Rockport at Manchester-Essex (if necessary), 4 p.m.

Hamilton Generals forced to wait till next year

By Dom Nicastro / Correspondent
Posted Aug 18, 2010 @ 03:30 PM

Hamilton may have been bounced from the first round of the Intertown Twilight League baseball playoffs. But if there’s any reason to be hopeful for next summer, it’s the performance of the Generals this season.

After all, one year ago, they didn’t even make the four-team playoffs in the seven-team league.

This season, they won nine of 10 at one point, vaulted to the top of the league, and worked their way into the playoffs at the No. 4 spot, drawing two-time defending champion Manchester-Essex.

The Generals took them to the brink, losing Game 3 of the best-of-three series.

“It was a tough end to a great season,” Hamilton player/coach Tom Jones said. “It was great to get back into the playoffs, and we had a legitimate shot at first place heading into the last week of the season. We ended up fourth, but that just goes to show how close and competitive the league has been. We faced Manchester-Essex in the finals two seasons ago and were swept. This year we forced a deciding Game 3 in the first round.”

The improvements this summer should get the Generals “over the hump” next summer, Jones said.

And the good news is it looks like Hamilton will be bringing back most, if not all, of its players.

Mark Ruggiero, the team’s first baseman, felt the team had a lot of chemistry and just some good camaraderie on and off the field.

“It’s too early to tell right now, but it appears that we won’t be losing anyone next season,” Jones said. “The younger guys will have another year under their belts, and we might make another key pickup or two that will help us improve. That has been the best thing about having a successful team and fun atmosphere — guys want to play. We had no problems and never had to worry about having enough guys. We had enough for two teams plus a few extra this year. It makes it a great team, but makes my job harder trying to get everyone playing time and still focusing on winning. A good problem to have, however.”

Tim O’Leary had no problems at the plate this year. He hit .407 to lead the team and added three homers. Mark Provost was behind him at .384 and led the team in doubles (10) while finishing with four homers.

Jim Maloney was the team’s best power hitter, finishing with seven homers and 35 RBI to go along with a .380 average. He also had 16 stolen bases and was never caught.

Jered Stewart (.365), Ruggiero (.358) and Reggie Maidment (.321) also hit above .300.

Jeff Jensen (6-1) and Connor Sullivan (4-1) led the pitching staff with wins, and Mike Drinkwater contributed 47 strikeouts in 44.1 innings. He also had a pair of wins.

“You know it’s a great season when the guys don’t want it to end,” Jones said. “It’s a tough void to fill when everyone comes together and is enjoying it, then it’s over. That is a good sign heading into next season, though. We can’t wait to get started so this offseason should be productive for us. Time will tell but spring can’t come fast enough for us.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mariners Defeat Townies in Game #4 to Clinch Title

On Saturday afternoon, at Evans Field in Rockport, the Manchester-Essex Mariners defeated the Rockport Townies in Game #4 3-1 to clinch the 2010 ITL Championship. In another tight battle the Mariners were able to hold off several rallies from the Townies to capture their 3rd straight championship.

Just as in Game #1 of the series, this proved to be a matchup of starting pitchers Derek Osmond of Rockport and Steve Stout for the Mariners. Both pitchers excelled on the mound for their respective teams, each pitching their second complete games of the series. Stout for the second straight outing surrendered only 1 unearned run, while scattering 8 hits, striking out 4, and walking 2. Osmond gave up only 6 hits on the day, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk and hit 2 Mariners batters.

The Townies got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the 2nd inning when with 1 out leftfielder Jason Koerth reached first base on a fielder's choice and moved up to 2nd base while the lead runner was tagged out in a run down. After a strikeout, the #9 hitter and rightfielder Garrett Folger drove a single up the middle to knock in the first run of the game.

The Mariners were kept in check until the 4th inning, when all the action occurred with 2 outs already on the board. #8 hitter Mike Cain took an Osmond pitch to the woods in centerfield to tie the game at 1-1. Shortstop Whit Graham immediately followed with a sharply hit single to left field to bring the top of the order back up. Centerfielder, Rory Gentile stroked a single to centerfield to move Graham to third base. Player/coach and catcher Bryan Lafata then took the first offering right back up the middle for the Mariners 4th consecutive hit and driving in Graham to take a 2-1 lead.

Every inning from there on the Townies would get atleast one baserunner each inning but Stout and the Mariners defense came up at the right times to prevent the Townies from getting that 2nd run across the plate. The best threat put forward by the Townies was when MVP candidate, 3rd baseman Brent Currier hit a line shot over the leftfielders head all the way to the far end of Evans Field. Currier ended up with a triple on that hit to lead off the bottom of the 5th inning. After a Dan Greel walk to put runners on the corner, shortstop Mike Emerson hit a ground ball to 3rd baseman Nate Bertolino's left and appeared to be forcing Bertolino to go to 2nd base with the ball and try and turn a double play. At the last moment Bertolino pump faked, held the ball and threw off balance to the plate where Currier had taken off for. Lafata had plenty of time to catch Bertolino's throw and have a short dance contest with Currier before tagging him out.

In the top of the 7th inning the Mariners tacked on an insurance run when Bertolino reached on an error and pitch runner Jeremy Nicastro replaced him. Nicastro moved up to 2nd base on a wild pitch and immediately afterwards moved to 3rd base on a Joe Orlando ground out to 1st base. With the infield in the Mariners grounded out to shortstop without getting the run home. Brett Cahill, the DH, then drove a single up the middle with 2 outs to drive home Nicastro.

The Townies threatened again in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 more hits, but helped out the Mariners with a baserunning error. With two outs Nate Bertolino caught the final out in foul territory to clinch the Mariners 3rd consecutive title.

The Townies were led offensively by Currier and Dan Greel with 2 hits a piece, while Osmond, Folger, and Thomas Robertson also hit safely. For the Mariners 6 players recorded a hit with 4 of the 6 hits being the consecutive hits in the 4th inning.

Congratulations to both the Mariners & Townies on a great series and season overall, also to all the teams in ITL for another successful season.

To see more pictures of Saturdays action go to

Click on "View your Pictures" then "events", and you will see the ITL Mariners album.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mariners over Townies Game #3

August 18, 2010

Dramatic Manchester win shifts momentum in series
By Nick Curcuru
Staff Writer

ESSEX — Following their 5-4 victory over the Rockport Townies at Memorial Field, the Manchester Mariners gathered in a team huddle and yelled "magic!" signifying that their victory was nothing short of magical.

Trailing 4-1 heading into the last of the seventh inning, the Mariners started an improbable comeback with four runs in the frame to give the team a 5-4 win and more importantly a 2-1 lead in the Intertown League Championship series. Manchester can close the series out with a win in Rockport on Saturday (4 p.m.); a Townies win sets the stage for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday in Essex (4 p.m.).

"That's why you play all seven innings," Mariners manager and catcher Bryan Lafata said. "Whenever Manchester and Rockport get together it's going to be a close and crazy game, tonight was no different."

Joe Orlando cut the Townies lead to 4-2 in the frame when he singled in Nate Bertolino, who reached on a fielders choice. The very next batter, left fielder Charlie Choate, hit a towering two-run homer to left center field to both tie the score and send the Mariners bench into a frenzy.

That set the stage for designated hitter Brett Cahill. The Gloucester High School standout worked the count to 3-2 and ripped a fastball over the right field fence on the pay off pitch to send the Mariners home with the win. In the seventh inning the Mariners had four hits compared to just four hits through the first six.

"I knew I was getting a fastball on 3-2," Cahill said. "I was out in front of the ball all game so I waited a little. I knew it was going out as soon as I made contact."

The Mariners now find themselves one win away from their third straight ITL title. With an emotional win for Manchester, combined with an equally emotional loss for Rockport, the momentum has definitely shifted in the series. Lafata, however, has played Rockport too many times to be comfortable.

"They will be ready to play on Saturday on their home field," Lafata said. "This is the first game where the winner and loser really have time to ponder what happened, that could work in our advantage because it was such an emotional finish."

Unlike the last inning, the first six innings saw the Townies in complete control. Rockport jumped out to a fast start with five hits in the first inning and a 2-0 lead. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the third on a solo home run from Brent Currier.

Through the first four innings, the Mariners struggled offensively off of Townies hurler Mike Emerson with just three hits and 10 runners left on base. They finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a solo shot from Orlando. Rockport, however, answered right back in the top of the sixth when Conor Ressel scored on a Tom Robertson ground out. The Townies looked to extend the lead in the top of the seventh, putting a runner on base, but he was called out for leaving second base too early while tagging up on a fly ball to deep center field by Brock Currier.

Lafata hailed starter Ryan Marques for battling through the early innings. The Mariners right-hander allowed just one hit after the third inning, a Garrett Folger single in the seventh.

"Ryan had to have been frustrated because we weren't hitting behind him," Lafata said. "But he battled and so did Emerson, they got some big outs when they needed them. Now we are looking to close things out on Saturday, we just need to start hitting earlier."

Manchester 5, Rockport 4

at Memorial Field, Essex

Rockport: Osmond 2b 2-1-2, Brock Currier 1b 4-0-2, Brent Currier 3b 2-1-1, Greel c 3-1-1, Ressel cf 2-1-1, Spittle ss 3-0-1, Robertson lf 3-0-0, Emerson p 3-0-0, Folger rf 3-0-1. Totals 25-4-9

Manchester: Gentile cf 3-0-0, Lafata c 3-0-1, Bertolino 2b 4-1-1, Orlando rf 3-2-2, Choate lf 4-1-1, Cahill dh 4-1-2, Maki 3b 2-0-0, Cain 1b 3-0-0, Graham ss 3-0-1. Totals 29-5-8.

Rockport: 201 001 0 —4

Manchester: 000 010 4 —5

RBI: R, Brent Currier, Greel, Spittle, Robertson; M, Orlando 2, Choate 2, Cahill

WP: Marques; LP: Emerson

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Game #3 of ITL Finals: Mariners 5 - Townies 4

The Mariners defeated the Townies 5-4 on Wednesday night in Essex. Details of Game #3 will follow shortly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Townies Take Game 2 - Series Tied 1-1

Game 2 of the Finals went to the Rockport Townies as they defeated Manchester-Essex Mariners 10-4 at Evans Field in Rockport on Sunday to even up the series at one game a piece.

Shawn Hull went 7 innings to pick up the victory, surrending 2 unearned runs on 4 hits, while striking out 3 and walking 2. Lucas Da Silva got the loss for the Mariners... going 3+ innings, allowing 5 earned runs, 6 hits, while striking out 3 and walking 5.

The Townies got offensive production from various players. Dan Greel (3for4, 2rbis) and Garret Folger (2for3, 3rbis, 2b, sb) led the way, while Brent Currier, Jeremy Spittle, Conor Ressel, Mike Emerson and Derek Osmond all hit safely for the Townies. For the Mariners... Alex Ray, Joe Orlando, Charlie Choate and Ian Buckley all hit safely.

Game 3 takes place Wednesday night at Memorial Field in Essex. First pitch 5:30pm.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mariners Take Game 1 in Pitcher's Duel

Game 1 of the Finals went to the Manchester-Essex Mariners, as they defeated the Rockport Townies 2-1 at Memorial Field in Essex on Saturday. Game 2 is slated for a 4pm start on Sunday at Evans Field in Rockport.

Steve Stout of the Mariners and Townies pitcher Derek Osmond combined to pitch in a classic pitcher's duel that came down to a walk off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 7th inning. Stout went 7 innings to pick up the victory, surrending 1 unearned run, only 3 hits, 3 strikeouts and 3 walks. Osmond went 6+ innings for the Townies giving up 2 earned runs, 10 hits, 4 strikeouts, and 3 walks (2 intentional).

The Townies got on the scoreboard first in the top of the 5th inning when Mike Emerson hit a one out double to right centerfield, after a strikeout Emerson proceeded to easily steal 3rd base. After the play as the 3rd baseman was attempting to get the ball back to the pitcher, the ball was overthrown and continued to roll out of play on the first base side, allowing Emerson to score.

In the bottom half of the 5th inning, the Mariners came right back to tie the game at 1. Whit Graham led the inning off with a single, immediately followed by an infield hit by Alex Ray. Brett Cahill succesfully sacrifice bunted the 2 runners up and Nathan Bertolino was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Clean up hitter, Joe Orlando, laced a single to right field scoring Graham, but a perfectly executed relay by the Townies to home plate cut Ray down for the second out of the inning.

The score remained tied at 1, until the bottom of the 7th inning. Cahill led off the 7th for the Mariners with a double off the wall in right centerfield. Bertolino was then intentionally walked for the second time. Orlando than executed a perfect base hit bunt to bring up centerfield Charlie Choate with the bases loaded. Choate lifted a fly ball to centerfield, deep enough to bring home Cahill on the sacrifice fly and end the game.

Emerson, catcher Dan Greel, and centerfielder Conor Ressel all hit safely for the Townies. For the Mariners Orlando led the way going 3-4 with an rbi. Cahill and Ray both collected 2 hits a piece, while Choate, Graham and leftfielder Ian Buckley all collected base hits.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mariners defeat Generals to Advance to Finals

The Manchester-Essex Mariners defeated the Hamilton Generals on Wednesday night 4-1 at Memorial Park in Essex to advance to the ITL Finals. The Semifinal series went to the decisive game 3, with the winner advancing on to play the Rockport Townies, who defeated the Rowley Rams with a 2 game sweep.

Ryan Marques was the standout for the Mariners on the hill. Marques was able to keep a potent Hamilton lineup (14 runs & 7 HR's in Game #2) in check all evening at Essex. Marques threw a complete game, giving up only 3 hits, with 1 earned run, 4 strikeouts and 2 base on balls. Generals ace, Mike Drinkwater, had a strong outing on the mound going 5 2/3 innings while surrending 4 runs (2 earned), 8 hits, 5 strikeouts, with 2 walks.

The Mariners got on the board in the 1st inning with a leadoff walk to Rory Gentile, followed by a Gentile stolen base, a Nate Bertolino infield hit and Charlie Choate driving Gentile home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The Generals tied the game back up in the top of the 3rd inning with a solo home run to right field off the bat of 3 hole hitter Jim Maloney.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 5th inning when the Whit Graham led off for the Mariners with a single, followed by a Gentile sac bunt attempt that was thrown away and advanced runners to 2nd & 3rd base. Bryan Lafata followed with a sac fly to left field to give the Mariners the lead, and Bertolino singled immediately after to drive in Gentile and give the Mariners & Marques a 3-1 lead. The Mariners tacked on 1 more run in the bottom of the 6th inning as Joe Orlando reached on an error, pitch runner Jeremy Nicastro reached 2nd base on a tremendous diving catch by Generals 2nd baseman Mark Potter, but the catch carried Potter out of play which advanced Nicastro automatically to 2nd base. With 2 outs, pinch hitting veteran Ian Buckley lined a sharp single to right field to drive in the 4th and final run for the Mariners.

The Generals were led at the plate by Maloney with the solo home run, and Tim O'Leary and Mark Provost also hit safely. The Mariners were led by Graham (run scored) and Bertolino (rbi) with 2 hits apiece. Gentile (2 runs, 2b, bb), Choate, Buckley and Christian Maki recorded the other hits for the Mariners.

The win by the Mariners lines up a rematch of the 2009 ITL Finals between the Mariners and the Rockport Townies. Game #1 is slated for 4pm on Saturday at Memorial Park in Essex. Here is the full game schedule.

Saturday August 14th 4pm Rockport at Manchester-Essex
Sunday August 15th 4pm Manchester-Essex at Rockport
Wednesday August 18th 5:30pm Rockport at Manchester-Essex
Saturday August 21st 4pm Manchester-Essex at Rockport (if necessary)
Sunday August 22nd 4pm Rockport at Manchester-Essex (if necessary)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Townies Advance to the ITL Finals

The Rockport Townies came back from a 7-3 deficit in the bottom of the 7th inning to win 9-7 and take the series 2 games to none. Brock Currier's three run homer into the woods in right center provided all the dramatics and gave the Townies a return trip to the ITL Finals.

The Rowley Rams jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Conte walked and scored on an infield error. In the 2nd inning, Rams scored three more thanks in part to singles by Espositio, Ligouri, Moore and a double by Renzulli. In the bottom of the 2nd, Rockport scratched two runs across the board on walks to Spittle and M.Emerson, followed by a double to deep center by Ty Watkins and a sac fly by Osmond.

In the 4th inning, the Townies closed to within one run as M.Emerson reached on a FC, stole 2B and scored an Osmond single. In the 5th, the Rams added a run to make it 5-3 on a Ligouri sac fly to score Bolla who reached on a single to begin the 5th. In the bottom of the 5th, the Townies threatened with the bases loaded and one out but could not capitalize as the Rams got out of the jam.

In the 6th inning, Rams added another on a Renzulli single and Mariani triple to make it 6-3. Then, in the top of the 7th, the Rams added another run on a Vigliotti walk, Esposito double and Ligouri sac fly to increase the Ram lead to 7-3.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Townies plated six runs, all with two outs. It began with a Greel single, followed by a Ressel single, then Robertson grounded out to second. Spittle managed a walk to load the bases with one out. Emerson popped up to the second and the Rams were now one out away from tying up the series at one game apiece. However, Watkins worked a walk and Osmond doubled to get it within one run (7-6) with two outs. With runners at 2B and 3B, Brock Currier stepped up to the plate and smoked a liner into the woods in right center to cap off a dramatic 9-7 Townies win.

Townies advance to the Finals to face the winner of tomorrow's game between Manchester and Hamilton.

Jade Donaldson Clubhouse

Please click image to enlarge letter about the Jade Donaldson Clubhouse project...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Townies take game 1

Rockport took game 1 of the series in Rowley tonight 9-6 behind a complete game effort from Derek Osmond. Dave Mariani put the Rams up 3-0 in the in the bottom of the 3rd with a bases loaded double but Rockport responded with 7 runs in the top of the 4th capped by a monster 3 run HR by Brent Currier. Nick Liguori suffered his first loss of the season for the Rams. Down 9-4 in the 7th the Rams would plate 2 on another Mariani double but that would be all the Rams could do against Osmond (7INN, 7H, 7K, 3BB 6R,W). The Rams travel to Rockport tomorrow searching for their first playoff win in over 2 decades. Game time 5:30.

Generals Even Series with 14-6 Win Over Mariners

Jeff Jensen pitched a complete game to earn the win for the Generals. The win ties the series at one game apiece in the best of three series. The two teams will face off Wednesday night with a trip to the ITL finals on the line. The Generals' bats came alive tonight at Patton as the team recorded six Home Runs, giving Jensen plenty to work with on the mound.

The Generals scored three in the first, back-to-back walks to start the game set the scene as Jim Maloney followed with a three run HR into the willow. Cain answered in the top of the second with a two run shot to make the score 3-2.

In the bottom half the Generals got back-to-back HR's to start the inning from O'Leary and Tilley. With two outs the home team managed to keep the rally going. Maloney and Vitale each got 2-out 2-run HR's to make the score 9-2 after two.

MacFarland got a sac-fly in the fourth to make the score 11-3 Generals. Jered Stewart lengthened the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a 3-run HR. In the sixth the Mariners got three on RBI hits from MacFarland and Gentile. Jensen was able to shut the door and get the final out. The game was called in the sixth due to darkness. Generals came out on top 14-6.

Maloney (2 HR, 5 RBI) and Stewart (HR, 4 RBI) led the way for the Generals offensively. Provost and O'Leary also added multi-hit games. Cain (3H, HR, 2 RBI) and MacFarland (2 RBI) stood out for the Mariners. The two teams meet again this Wednesday night in Essex to decide who will go the the Finals. 5:30pm start time.

Mariners Take Game 1 Over Generals, 8-4

Steve Stout got the complete game victory over the Hamilton Generals allowing 4R, 10H, 3BB, & 1K. He was backed by some nice all around team defense. Judd Funchion got the start for the Generals, pitched well, but was charged with the loss. The Generals kept it close for most of the day but had a few errors that made the difference in the game.

The Generals got on the board first with an RBI double from Mark Provost in the top of the third. The Mariners struck back in the bottom half with 5 runs. Buckley and Cain delivered RBI hits in the Mariner's big inning. The score remained until the fifth inning where the Generals fought back to pull within one run. Mark Ruggiero got a bases loaded double that scored 3 runs making it 5-4 Mariners.

In the bottom of the fifth the Mariners answered with 3 unearned runs to put the game away. With two outs and nobody on the Mariners got a rally going. An error extended the inning and the Mariners were able to put up a 3 spot. Gentile, MacFarland, and Bertolino all had big hits in the inning. That's how the game would end, the Mariners take game 1 by the score of 8-4.

Gentile, Ray, & Cain all had a multi-hit game for the Mariners. Provost, O'Leary, & Potter each had two hits apiece for the Generals. Ruggiero had 3-RBI.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rams' Mariani Takes HR Derby Title

Dave Mariani takes the 2010 ITL HR Derby title with 9 total Home Runs. This is the fifth different winner from 5 different teams in the competition's five year history. The wind played a factor once again and made it really difficult for all batters involved, especially right handers.

The first round saw 20 total HRs from six players. All six made it to the second round. Tom Jones, Brent Currier, and Mike Cain all had 2. Jered Stewart had 3. John Boyle and Mariani led after the first round with 5 and 6 HR's respectably.

In the second round Boyle, Stewart, & Currier all contributed two to Mariani's one. Boyle and Mariani would face off in the finals tied with 7 HRs. Boyle would go first in the final round and managed to get one more. Mariani followed and was able to deliver his second HR with only 7 outs recorded to take the 2010 Title. Boyle made the finals for the second straight year, but Rowley's Dave Mariani comes away with the victory.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

HR Derby Today!

The annual ITL HR Derby is today at Patton Park, starting at 1pm. Hamilton's Jered Stewart is the defending Champion of the event. There has never been a two time winner. All ITL players are encouraged to participate, we hope to see everyone there.

Mariners Over Generals

Hamilton battled back to tie the score at 6-6 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Mariners then erupted for 9 runs in the top of the sixth to put the game away. The game was called after six because of darkness.

The Mariners finish the season as the top seed, the loss puts the Generals in the fourth position heading into the playoffs. The two teams will meet up in the first round starting Sunday night in Essex.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rockport 16 Topsfield 5

Rockport erupted for 13 runs in the top of the 1st inning on it's way to a 16-5 win to close out the 2010 regular season.

The Townies travel to Rowley to face the Rams on Monday in Game One of the Semifinals. First pitch 5:30pm.

Mariners in control of own destiny as playoffs approach

"Mariners in control of own destiny as playoffs approach"
By Jason Brisbois/
Posted Jul 28, 2010 @ 09:04 AM

It’s that time of the year where teams competing for playoff spots actually start rooting for other teams in the Intertown Twilight League to win games.

It’s a little odd, but true. With Manchester Essex now firing on all cylinders and coming close to entrenching itself as the top seed in the ITL, and the curtain call for the regular season a mere two weeks away, the Mariners find themselves with some unlikely allies.

That is, until the playoffs start.

“I was hanging out with some of the Ipswich Chiefs, and they want us to beat Rowley so they have a shot,” explained Manchester Essex player/coach Bryan Lafata. Now that we’ve locked up the top spot, some teams want us to pretty much win out because they know they don’t have a shot at that spot. They want us to knock the other teams out that they’re competing with.”

It’s an enviable position to be in. The Mariners are 13-4-2, ahead of second-place Hamilton (12-7) and third-place Rockport (10-8). If they win out, they are guaranteed the top seed in the ITL playoffs.

“At this point, we’ve definitely clinched a playoff spot, and we’re in control for seeding,” said Lafata. “We have Rowley this week (scheduled for back-to-back games on July 27-28), then the week after we end the season with Hamilton after a make-up game with Topsfield. That series looks like it’s going to come down to deciding home field overall. Like every year, it comes down to the last week.”

The Mariners have won their last six in a row, with the most recent being a 6-0 win over Ipswich. The victory showed multiple reasons to believe that Manchester Essex is hitting its stride at the perfect time. Nate Bertolnio hit his third homerun in three games against the Chiefs, and Steve Stout continued his strong season by pitching a three-hitter. To boot, younger players like Alex Ray and Brett Cahill are available to play more often, and are now making their presence felt.

“Most of the guys on the team are now out of college and they haven’t been playing as much,” said Lafata. “Alex and Brett have been playing non-stop since April – high school, Legion ball, travelling teams. To bring in guys who have been swinging the bat six, seven times a week, just adds a new dimension. And to be honest, they’re younger, so they run better and go out and play the game hard.”

The team will also continue to lean on its pitching staff, which is punctuated by the performances of Stout and Mike Gibbon.

“Stout and Gibbon have been our workhorses for the last three, four years,” said Lafata. “When it comes down to big games, you know you’re going to see one of our two lefties. Right now, they’re right on point. Stout has been getting stronger and stronger as the season goes along.”

Townies, Mariners clinch ITL playoff berths

"Townies, Mariners clinch ITL playoff berths"
By Jason Brisbois/
GateHouse News Service
Posted Aug 04, 2010 @ 07:50 PM
Cape Ann —

At the start of the week, the Intertown Twilight League’s playoff field of four had already been decided. What hadn’t been decided is just where everyone in that four-team group will end up when the dust has settled.

With Manchester Essex topping Topsfield on Monday night, and Rockport knocking off the Tories in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, both the Mariners and Townies are guaranteed a spot in the ITL playoffs. Hamilton and Rowley are also in. Manchester Essex and Hamilton were set to play a key, season-ending series against each other on Aug. 3 and 5, with the series determining who ends up with first place in the regular season, and the corresponding top seed in the playoffs.

Additionally, Rockport will attempt to improve its lot Friday night in Topsfield, while Rowley will do the same against Beverly on the same night. Rockport and Rowley could finish anywhere from second- to fourth-place. Playoffs are set to begin this weekend, with the first and fourth seed facing off on Sunday, with the rest of the best-of-three-game series played on Monday and Wednesday, and the second and third seeds playing Monday, Tuesday and, if necessary, Thursday.

The Townies, for their part, hope the team that showed up in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, a 7-4 victory, is the one that shows up Friday night. The one that let a 6-3 lead slip away into a 7-6 defeat in game one can stay home, as far as player/coach Jeremy Spittle is concerned.

“We were up, 6-4, until the top of the sixth inning; then things fell apart,” said Spittle. “In the second one, we were down, 3-0, after the first inning, and [pitcher] Brent Currier settled down into a nice groove. We made it back and scored five runs in the fifth to get the lead for good, and that was the win that clinched it for us. We had a sense of urgency in that game that we didn’t have in the first game.”

Spittle hopes his team can find the consistency that the Townies have been lacking in 2010, first against the Tories on Friday, and next week once the playoffs begin.

“From a team standpoint, I think this has been a pretty challenging year for us,” said Spittle. “We’ve had stretches where we play pretty good baseball, and we have some games where we’re playing with a sense of urgency, and playing good baseball in all three facets. In other games, we’re not. Consistency has been an issue. That came into play [Sunday]. We were cruising along, but I feel that at times we might get a little complacent, and that came back to bite us. When we’re playing our best baseball, we can match up with anyone.”

There can be no complacency in the playoffs, and especially in Friday’s key game against Topsfield. Earning a win could be crucial to Rockport’s placement in the playoffs, and the Tories are a much-improved team from the one that started the regular season.

“They’re certainly a different team than they were the last time we played them in June,” said Spittle. “They’ve got some good, young players and they present some challenges. I’ve got a feeling they’ll be a good, young up-and-coming team if they get more pitching.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tories Giants tie at 10

Topsfield and Beverly played to a tie, only getting in six innings last night at Proctor. The game saw many lead changes with the Giants coming from two down to go up two heading into what would be the last at bat for Topsfield in the home half of the sixth. The Tories came back to tie the score, however they left the bases loaded to end the game in a tie. Topsfield will end it's season this friday at home against Rockport.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rowley 1 - Ipswich 0

The Rams were able to come up with the lone run of the game on an RBI single from Anthony Conte with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th. Kevin Michael was outstanding for the Chiefs in the complete game tough luck loss. For the Rams, Joe Martin, Nick Liguori and Mike Sloban combined for the shutout. The Rams travel to Beverly Friday for their final regular season game.

Mariners Clinch Regular Season Title

Mariners 4 Generals 0

Mike Gibbon pitched a six hit shutout to lead the Manchester/Essex Mariners over the Hamilton Generals Tuesday night at Memorial Field in Essex. The win clinches the regular season title for the Mariners and assures them of home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Mariners scored single runs in the first two frames to take an early lead. Nate Bertolino stroked an RBI single in the first and Rory Gentile added a sacrifice fly in the second. In the third, Brett Cahill contributed a sacrifice fly and Joe Orlando knocked Generals’ starter Connor Sullivan from the game with a RBI single extending the lead to 4-0.

Hamilton had scoring opportunities, but could not get the big hit against the reigning ITL Cy Young winner. The Generals stranded seven runners, including leaving the bases loaded twice. Bertolino and Mike Cain both had two hits for Manchester/Essex as did Jim Maloney and Tim O’Leary for Hamilton. Luke Painchaud pitched 3.1 innings of shutout relief in the loss and recorded four strikeouts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rams Over Chiefs

Mariners Over Tories, 5-1

Mariners beat the Tories last night in a makeup game. The result sets the playoff field this year, but the standings are still undecided heading into the final games this week. Manchester/Essex, Hamilton, Rockport, & Rowley will all make it to post season play.

1 point in either of the last two games will clinch a regular season title for the Mariners. Hamilton can finish anywhere from 1-4, Rockport and Rowley could each finish in the 2-4 spots.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Townies and Tories Split Sunday Doubleheader

Topsfield came back from a 3 run deficit late to win 7-6 in Game One, but the Townies rallied from an early 3-0 hole in Game Two to prevail by a score of 7-4 to clinch a playoff spot.

More details to follow later this afternoon.

Ipswich - 16, Beverly - 7

Chris Lane earned the victory for Ipswich on the mound while Kevin Michael's 3 run homer led the offense. Joe Gill was 2 for 4 with a homerun for Beverly.