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