Friday, August 11, 2017

Townies beats Rowley, meet the Mariners in ITL Finals

Townies beats Rowley, meet the Mariners in ITL Finals

ROWLEY — Rockport's runs didn't come pretty on Thursday night.  But they were enough.

The Townies' scratched out a 2-1 win in a pitcher's duel over Rowley at Eiras Park to take the Intertown Twilight Baseball League semifinal series in three games. With the win, the Townies earned themselves a berth in the now all-Cape Ann ITL finals against the Manchester Essex Mariners.
The two Cape Ann squads last met in the ITL finals in 2010.

This is the team's first trip since 2011 and the team will be looking for its first ITL title since 2007..
"It's awesome, it really is," said Townies' Manager Jay Pallazola. "It's a great feeling. Just the first time we've gotten by (Rowley) in the playoffs three out for the four years I've been here. It means a lot."

In a series where one run decided two of the three games, scoring was at a premium and both teams took it any way they could get it, be it unorthodox or ugly.

After loading the bases in the first thanks to hits from Connor Ressel and Alex Webb plus a hit batsman, Keady Segel grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to make it 1-0 Townies.

The spin was also a victory for Rams starter Adam Chatterton, who pitched well on the night and escaped the jam without further damage.

He worked five innings with just the one run on three hits and one walk with one strikeout before yielding to Tim Cashman.

Cashman was also effective and gave up a tough-luck run on a throwing error on a tough play to make it 2-0 in the sixth. The ball again came of Segel's bat.

"That's this field," said Pallazola. "Not a lot of runs get scored. We got a bounce today that was the difference... For us to get that in that situation was key."

The Rams then pushed one across in the bottom of the inning after C.J. Ingraham singled to center and later came around to score after a Cashman single, but that was all the offense they'd get.

"When you're going to play games like this, you've got to get a big hit here or there and we just didn't do that," Rams manager Jeff Wood said. "No problem with the way we played tonight."

The home team only had four hits on the night thanks to a fantastic performance from Townies starter Nolan Webb. He tossed six innings of one-run ball allowing just one walk while striking out three before giving way to Dylan Maki, who shut the door in the seventh.

"I can't say enough about Nolan Webb," said Pallazola. "He was unbelievable. He didn't get into too much trouble, he had a couple of base runners on second and they got to third and he got out of it."
Both Webb's and Ressel had the only hits for the Townies in a defensive struggle that saw both team's shortstops in particular — Reese Fulmer for the Townies and C.J. Ingraham for the Rams — make play after play.

"We still hit the ball well," said Pallazola. "Not as well as we did in the first game, but we did well enough."

The Townies square off with the Mariners, five time defending ITL champs, at Memorial Field in Essex at 4 p.m. on Saturday in a best-of-five series to determine the league champ. For now, though the squad will savor getting there first.

"It was a total team effort, one through nine and we played solid defense," said Pallazola. "We made the plays when we had to. Manchester's the next step."