Moose Nearly Miss out on Win in Montpelier
SANFORD - The Mainers matched the Vermont Mountaineers the whole way on the final day of July, but the hosts maintained hope for postseason play with a 7-5 victory.
A combination of bad luck and clutch relief pitching from the hosts relinquished the Moose down the stretch as they just could not do quite enough to finish the job.
Over the first three innings, starting pitching prevailed over both lineups. Jake Noviello (Franklin, Mass./Fairfield) was perfect in his first trip through the Mountaineers lineup as he retired every batter with relative ease. He recorded six flyouts and two strikeouts, holding Vermont in check.
It took until the fourth inning to register the game's first run, as it was the home team who drew first blood. Two singles from the top of the batting order gifted Connor Charping a chance to give the Mountaineers the lead. He attacked the very first pitch, splitting the left and center fielders to send two runners home, building a 2-0 lead in the middle innings.
Down to their final out of the fifth inning, the Mainers offense started to chip away at their newfound deficit. Reece Armitage (Falmouth, Maine/Marist College) received a 3-1 fastball to his liking and drilled a no-doubt home run over the right-center field fence, cutting the Vermont lead in half.
Unfortunately for the Moose, the long ball lit a fire underneath the Mountaineers, and they exploded for a three-run bottom of the fifth. Corey DiLoreto led off the frame with a swinging-bunt single down the third-base line and touched home two batters later on a Straton Podaras double. Following an Austin Gauthier walk, second baseman Matt McDermott laced a single of his own to left field, plating two runs and pushing their advantage to four.
Despite being behind, the Mainers refused to fold. Facing a reliever in Beau Keathley in the top of the sixth inning, the first two hitters, Sterling Hayes (San Diego, Calif./Vanderbilt) and Drew DeMartino (Pittsfield, Mass./Hartford) took walks to apply early pressure. Though the next two batters struck out and put the visitors at risk of squandering a golden scoring, Orlando Adams (Atlanta, Ga./Kentucky) came up clutch with a two-run single. He himself came home on a wild pitch following another two free passes, pulling the Moose back within one.
Needing to generate something at the dish to keep the Mainers at arm's length, the Mountaineers swung the bats deliberately in their next turn up. The combination of DiLoreto and Podaras delivered once again, adding a key insurance run to their total to create a two-run buffer heading into the contest's back third.
That tally proved necessary as the Moose continued to hit well in the seventh inning. The first two to dig in, Casey Buckley (Long Beach, Calif./Michigan) and Hayes doubled and walked respectively against Keathley, prompting his removal from the mound. The very next batter, Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y./Binghamton) legged out an infield single while forcing an errant throw to permit each baserunner a free 90 feet.
As the tying run stood on third base and the go-ahead run on second, all the Mainers needed was a base hit to take the lead. However, relief pitcher Andrew Mundy held his ground, punching out the next two batters he faced to preserve the Mountaineer edge at 6-5.
They went on to boost their lead by one in the eighth inning by playing small ball. An infield knock and sacrifice bunt saw a runner on second base with one out, and DiLoreto took care of the rest. He slapped a single to right field to bring the Mountaineers ahead by two as the final inning approached.
Two runs stood up comfortably for Mundy who maintained his strong form on the rubber. He struck out the side in the ninth inning to secure the victory for the Mountaineers while preserving his team's playoff hopes.
The Moose take to the diamond for the final time in 2019 when they face the North Adams SteepleCats at Goodall Park tomorrow. Coverage begins at 6:30 PM on the Patriot Subaru Sanford Mainers Radio Network powered by the NECBL Broadcast Network. Until then, stay in tune with the Mainers by visiting sanfordmainers.com and supporting the team's social media accounts.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from August 1, 2019
- Newport Gulls Playoff Bound - Newport Gulls
- Gulls Comeback against Sharks - Newport Gulls
- Moose Nearly Miss out on Win in Montpelier - Sanford Mainers
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