Monday, August 30, 2010

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.”