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)