Staying Alive: Rowley shuts down Mariners in Game 3 win
By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor | Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 8:37 pm
Mariners shortstop Cole Josselyn makes contact Wednesday night in Game 3 of the ITL Finals.
Joe White made sure that his Rowley Rams lived to fight another day in the Intertown Twilight Baseball League Finals.
The Rams south paw allowed just three hits and one run in a complete game effort in Wednesday’s Game 3 leading Rowley to a 4-1 win over the Manchester Essex Mariners. With the win the Rams have successfully fought off elimination. The three time defending ITL champion Mariners lead the series 2-1 and Game 4 will be played on Saturday at Eiras Park in Rowley (4 p.m.).
If Rowley is again victorious on Saturday, a winner-take-all Game 5 will be on Sunday back at Memorial Field (4 p.m.).
“Joe has been our ace all season and tonight he did what he usually does,” Rowley manager Jeff Wood said. “He is inside and outside, he kept them off balance all night and he was almost always ahead in the count. We had the mind set that we just need to win tonight. Now we are back at home in Game 4 and hopefully we can even the series.”
The Mariners were uncharacteristically sluggish in Wednesday’s loss. The team committed three errors in the field and all of them led to Rowley runs and struggled at the plate against White putting just two runners in scoring position over the first six innings.
“It just wasn’t one of our best games, hitting, pitching and in the field” Mariners starting pitcher and manager Ryan Marques said. “We have to put this one behind us and focus on Saturday. We will need to put in one more good performance to win this series.”
Rowley took the lead in the top of the second inning plating a pair of runs on a Cam D’Agostino single to center after loading the bases with nobody out in the frame.
In the third the Rams scored again as Colin Sitarz hustled down the first base line to prevent a double-play and score Jordon Silva from third to make it 3-0.
The Mariners threatened in the third with two on and one out, but the Rams were able to get out of the frame with a slick 5-4-3 double play started by third baseman Silva, who snared a hard chopper off the bat of Bryan Lafata to turn two.
White took over from there. The south paw had just one strikeout on the night but perfect defense behind him kept the Mariners off the board.
D’Agostino, the lone player with more than one hit on the night, would deliver his third RBI of the night in the sixth doubling in Colton Fontaine to give the Rams a 4-0 lead heading into the final inning of play.
“We’re an athletic team and we like to put pressure on the defense,” Wood said. “(The Mariners) don’t make many mistakes but we were there to take advantage of those mistakes tonight. We are always happy any time we can get a win here, especially over one of the premier pitchers in the league.”
Peter Clark spoiled White’s shut out with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning, but that’s all that the Mariners would get as Rowley stayed alive in the series with the victory.
Both teams are now looking forward to Game 4, as the Mariners can clinch a fourth straight title with one more win.
“We didn’t play our best tonight but we will be ready on Saturday,” Marques said. “Rowley is a tough team to finish off and we just need to focus on winning Game 4.”
The Rams, on the other hand, are looking to erase an 0-2 deficit the same way the Mariners did in 2014.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence moving forward,” Wood said. “We are going back home and we won’t be focusing on anything but Saturday’s game.”