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Mainers Drop Extra-Inning Heartbreaker to Blue Sox

July 31, 2019 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) - Sanford Mainers News Release

SANFORD - The Moose played their hearts out in front of a nicely sized Goodall Park crowd, but the Valley Blue Sox successfully held them off, stealing a 7-6 win in 10 innings.

From the get-go, this game had the makings of a back-and-forth affair. In their very first at-bat, the Blue Sox immediately got their bats working. Joe Lomuscio took a pitch off his forearm and immediately stole second base. Two consecutive groundouts got the run in and put Valley ahead 1-0.

It took the Mainers a bit of time to tie the score, but in the bottom of the third inning, they did just that. Casey Buckley (Long Beach, Calif./Michigan) wore a cutter off the shoulder and advanced to third on a Drew DeMartino (Pittsfield, Mass./Hartford) single. Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y./Binghamton) lifted a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field, sending Buckley home and getting the Moose on the board.

Both teams traded zeroes in the fourth inning before going off in the fifth. The Blue Sox kicked off the frame on three consecutive bunt singles, applying the pressure on the Moose defense. However, starter Darren Williams (Maysville, Ky./Eastern Kentucky) maintained his composure and prevented the rally from getting out of hand. He limited Valley to just two sacrifice flies, holding their deficit to two.

The Mainers offense showed their appreciation for their starter's mettle by spotting him a lead. With two outs, Sterling Hayes (San Diego, Calif./Vanderbilt) used his speed to discombobulate Blue Sox third baseman Cody Littlejohn to reach first base on an error. After a stolen base one pitch later, DeMartino brought him across the plate on his second base hit on the day. Marshall then crushed a home run over the left-field wall, his team-leading seventh in 2019, sending the fans in attendance into a frenzy as the Moose pulled ahead 4-3.

They tacked on insurance in the seventh inning through impressive gap-to-gap power. Ryan Turenne (Lynn, Mass./Maine) knocked a two-bagger off the right-field wall to kick things off. He became the fifth Moose run when Hayes ripped a double of his own to left-center field, providing some breathing room for his team needing just six outs to record their third victory in a row.

Unfortunately, two runs could not hold off a Blue Sox comeback. Down to their final four outs, they turned to the bench and called upon John Marti to pinch-hit. The team's faith in their newest player paid off as he lined a single to right field. Lomuscio tripled as the next hitter to cut the Mainer lead in half. A wild pitch soon afterward enabled him to waltz home, leveling the two Northern Division rivals at five.

Right away, the Moose threatened to reclaim their lead. Erik Stock (Virginia Beach, Va./UConn) responded with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the eighth and promptly moved up to third on a flyout. The next batter, Nick Howie (Oakville, Ontario, Canada/Eastern Kentucky), seemingly did enough to push Stock across the plate, sending a deep fly ball to right field. However, a strong throw from defensive replacement Danny Ryan cut down Stock at the dish with a strong throw, keeping the score deadlocked at six.

Following a ninth inning where neither squad could tally the winning run, extra innings became necessary to decide the contest.

At the start of the tenth, with a runner on second base, the Blue Sox offense went right to work. Littlejohn's bunt got Collin Mathews to third base, giving them two chances to record the go-ahead run. Ryan dug into the batter's in hopes of playing the hero a second time, and his two-run home run to straightaway left field propelled Valley to a 7-5 advantage, cementing his status as his team's savior.

Though they suffered a huge blow, the Mainers were not willing to give up. Down to their final strike with Hayes on third base, Stock smoked a triple into the right-center field gap, decreasing the Valley edge to one and placing the tying run 90 feet away from scoring.

Unfortunately, Blue Sox pitching stranded him right where he stood, racking up the final out and securing a 7-6 win.

The Moose look to avenge the tough-luck loss tomorrow via a trip to Montpelier Recreation Field to lock horns with the Vermont Mountaineers. Coverage begins at 6:30 PM on the NECBL Broadcast Network and 104.3 FM/1220 AM The Legends back in Sanford. Until then, stay connected to the Mainers by visiting and supporting the team's social media accounts.

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