Moose Defy the Odds in Eight-Run Comeback Victory
MARTHA'S VINEYARD - When it looked like a comfortable win was in the cards for the Martha's Vineyard Sharks, the Mainers refused to accept defeat. Nine unanswered runs in the game's final two innings saw the Moose grab a historic victory in their first ever trip to Martha's Vineyard.
From the outset, it looked like everything went the host's way. The Sharks sent Will Warren, a rising junior from Southeast Louisiana University to the mount as the starting pitcher, and the team's faith in the tall right-hander paid off. He took a perfect game bid into the sixth inning by retiring the first 17 Mainers to come to bat. It wasn't until Sterling Hayes (San Diego, Calif./Vanderbilt) drew a walk that the Moose finally put a runner on base in the sixth inning.
Warren's efforts were supplemented by an offense that fired on all cylinders right from the get-go. In the first inning, following a two-out walk and a stolen base, the Sharks delivered two RBI singles in consecutive at-bats. They would follow up in the third when Anthony Videtto drove a two-run home run over the left field fence, putting the Mainers in an early 4-0 hole.
Through five-and-a-half innings with a no-hitter still intact, it looked as though the game was headed for an early finish. Multiple lightning strikes forced the two teams back to their dugouts for a weather delay.
Once play resumed in the bottom of the sixth, the Vineyard offense picked up right where it left off. Designated hitter Ryan Hogan led things off by reaching on an error and went from first base to third base on a wild pitch. Dylan Lutz followed up with a walk and stole second, drawing an errant throw which allowed Hogan to score and Lutz to reach third. Collin Shapiro lined a single into right-center field to drive in another run, making the score 6-0. Another two walks gave Vineyard's leading hitter Nicholas Raposo to hit a two-run single, once again doubling his team's advantage from four runs to eight.
Things started to turn for the Mainers in the top of the seventh. Still facing a no-hitter, Drew DeMartino (Pittsfield, Mass./Hartford) ripped a single down the first base line to record the first Mainer hit of the evening, robbing the Sharks of a shot at history. Although DeMartino finished the inning stranded on second base, he provided the Moose the momentum they needed to make history themselves.
Facing an 8-0 deficit with six outs remaining, Brandon Lankford (Mocksville, N.C./UNC-Asheville) led off the top of the eighth with a walk and moved up to second on a Robbie Armitage (Falmouth, Maine/Marist College) base hit. Jack Van Remortel (Carmel, Ind./Michigan) drew a free pass to load the bases for Hayes to rope a two-run single to left field, putting the Moose on the board.
Still yet to make an out, a Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga./Georgia) knock reloaded the bases for DeMartino to hit a two-run single of his own, cutting the Martha's Vineyard lead in half. The Sharks would recover slightly with a strikeout, but the Mainers got right back to work one batter later. Nick Howie (Oakville, Ontario, Canada/Eastern Kentucky) logged an RBI single and Orlando Adams (Atlanta, Ga./Kentucky) coaxed a base on balls to give Lanford another chance to bat. He would take advantage of his second opportunity of the inning with a bases-loaded walk to bring home the sixth Mainer run of the inning.
Though the Moose would leave the bases loaded, the damage had been done, decreasing their deficit to two runs at an 8-6 score.
Upon coming back to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, the Sharks looked primed to kill the Moose momentum. With two outs, Jackson Raper drew a walk, and a long double from Raposo gave Martha's Vineyard a shot at a key insurance run.
However, the Mainers had other plans. On a brilliant display of defensive teamwork, Howie, DeMartino, and Adams combined to cut Raper down trying to score, keeping the score at 8-6.
With one more chance to tie the ballgame, the Mainers reignited their offense. Hayes led off the ninth inning by reaching on a Raper error, setting the stage for DeMartino to complete the comeback.
Facing a 1-2 count, DeMartino crushed a fastball over the right-field wall, equaling the contest at eight.
Even after driving in the game-tying run, the Moose still weren't done. Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y./Binghamton) singled to center field and immediately stole second base, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position.
With the game on the line, Howie put the Mainers on top with an RBI single, officially completing the comeback.
Playing with a lead for the first time in the bottom of the ninth, Nolan Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./Virginia Tech) pitched a three-up-three-down ninth, sealing an improbable 9-8 victory.
The eight-run comeback set a Mainers record for the largest comeback win in team history.
"The guys played an incredible game tonight," manager Cejay Suarez said. "Everybody played hard for 27 outs, and that's all we can ask for. I'm so proud of this team."
The Moose have a well-deserved day off tomorrow and return to action on Monday to face the Vermont Mountaineers at Goodall Park. You can catch all the action starting at 6:30 PM on the Patriot Subaru Mainers Broadcast Network powered by the NECBL Broadcast Network. In the meantime, head over to sanfordmainers.com and follow the team on social media to stay in the loop about all things Mainers.
• Discuss this story on the New England Collegiate Baseball League message board...
New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from June 23, 2019
- Bay Sox Claim Second Straight Win in Boisterous 6-3 Victory over Schooners - New Bedford Bay Sox
- Cats Drop Second Consecutive Game - North Adams SteepleCats
- Mountaineers Firepower Continues in 7-4 Victory over Winnipesaukee - Vermont Mountaineers
- Cats Offense Absent in Loss to Vermont - North Adams SteepleCats
- Moose Defy the Odds in Eight-Run Comeback Victory - Sanford Mainers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.