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Bullpen Woes Bite Bay Sox, as They Fall 7-4 to Schooners

July 25, 2019 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) - New Bedford Bay Sox News Release

The New Bedford Bay Sox snapped a four-game home winning streak on Thursday night, falling 7-4 to the Mystic Schooners in a game that their Southern Division rivals needed in their hunt for a playoff spot.

Jake Rockefeller (Rhode Island) hurled a quality start, tossing six innings with just one blemish - a three-run second inning - on his record, and was in line for the win, but the Schooners rallied for the tying run in the seventh and three runs in the eighth to take the victory. Sam Henrie (Southern New Hampshire) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, while college teammate Thomas Blandini had two hits and Bryan Hart (Bryant) reached base three times for the Bay Sox, who dropped to 10-7 at home and suffered their third straight loss overall. Mystic moved to 19-17, which is a game ahead of Danbury (18-18) for the final playoff berth in the South.

After an 11-pitch first inning, highlighted by a terrific diving catch in center field to begin the game from New Bedford's lone All-Star Rafe Chaumette (Trinity), Rockefeller was a bit wild in the second, surrendering three runs on two base hits and two walks. Mystic shortstop Will Lucas picked up an RBI with a single that drove in catcher Jerome Huntzinger, and David Beam plated two runs with two outs as he singled with the sacks packed.

The Bay Sox (11-27) struck for a run in the bottom of the third, showing off their wheels to manufacture runs. Hart reached on a leadoff single, then swiped his fifth base of the season to reach scoring position. A single from Blandini (Southern New Hampshire) put runners on the corners, and a fielder's choice from Ryan Markey (St. John's) brought home Hart for the first New Bedford run.

Two unique half innings occurred in the middle of the game, as the Schooners were picked off twice on the bases in the top of the third, with cleanup hitter Ben Maycock getting thrown out after a double and a wide turn at second base and Huntzinger caught napping at first after a walk.

The Bay Sox tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, as they loaded the bases on a single by Henrie, Andrew Rapoza (Barry) getting hit by a pitch, and a walk by Noah Rivera (Becker). Hart ripped a single up the middle to bring home Henrie, and a balk prior to a sacrifice fly by Blandini brought home the tying run - and confused literally everyone at Paul Walsh Field.

The Schooners collected three hits and added a fielder's choice in the top of the sixth, but were robbed of runs thanks to terrific defense by the Bay Sox infield. James Taylor, who was a defensive replacement at the plate in the fourth, doubled to deep left center to begin the inning, but with one down he was nabbed in a rundown, as a weak fly ball to Blandini at short was purposely allowed to hit the ground so the Bay Sox could retire the lead runner. That smart play turned out to be huge, as two more base hits packed the sacks for Steven Barmakian. The Mystic leadoff hitter rolled a slow grounder to second, but Hart flipped the ball from his glove to Blandini covering second base for the final out.

New Bedford took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the sixth, with Blandini driving in pinch runner Josh Goldstein (Southern New Hampshire), as the Bay Sox had runners on first and second on a single by Rapoza, a fielder's choice by Rivera - who was eventually lifted for Goldstein - and a walk given to Hart.

That lead was short lived, as Tylor Arruda (UMass Boston) came in for the seventh and allowed a leadoff double by David Beam and a one-out single by Maycock that bounced by the drawn-in glove of Hart at second base. That run prevented Rockefeller from possibly earning the victory, which would have been his second in as many starts, as he earned the win in a six-inning outing in New Bedford's 9-4 win over North Adams on July 16th.

Mystic took the lead in the top of the eighth, as nine-hitter Justus Burke doubled home Isaiah Byars for the go-ahead run. The wheels fell off for Arruda with two outs, as consecutive singles by Beam and T.T. Bowens added two more runs, and a walk to Maycock ended his night. Logan Maitland (UMass Dartmouth) got out of the inning with a strikeout of Taylor. Nicholas Couhig (Boston College) came in with the bases loaded in the ninth, but retired the final two batters to keep the game at 7-4.

Schooners' closer Nicholas Robino pitched a perfect ninth for the save, while Jordan Warecke earned the win and Arruda was dealt the loss.

The Bay Sox have an unconventional doubleheader on Friday, as they host the Newport Gulls at noon in a makeup game, then have their regularly scheduled contest with Keene at 6:30pm. Their final home contests will be next Tuesday with a doubleheader starting at 4:30pm vs. Ocean State.

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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from July 25, 2019

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