Moose Outlast Hawks in Ten-Inning Shootout
SANFORD - The Sanford Mainers and Upper Valley Nighthawks combined for 23 runs on 34 hits in a thrilling extra-inning encounter as the visiting team's ability to convert their scoring chances down the stretch that propelled them to an improbable 12-11 victory.
Neither team pushed across a run in the first inning before the Moose broke open the scoring in the second. Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga./Georgia) and Orlando Adams (Atlanta, Ga./Kentucky) led off on back-to-back singles ahead of an Elliott Curtis (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada/Kentucky) two-bagger, sending one across home plate. Runners stood at second and third for Ryan Turenne (Lynn, Mass./Maine) who himself doubled to tally two more. Erik Stock (Virginia Beach, Va./UConn) knocked in Turenne, upping the early lead to four.
However, their early momentum did not last long. The Nighthawks got one back in the bottom of the second, but their initial offensive explosion came in the fourth. Brian Moore flew out to lead off the inning while the next four due up all touched home. Though the Mainers began the frame up by three, it ended with a deficit of the same margin.
Despite losing their advantage, the Moose remained locked in at the dish. Nick Howie (Oakville, Ontario, Canada/Eastern Kentucky) started the next rally by walking and advanced to second via a Tate single. Then, up in the count against Nighthawks starter William Carnley, Adams unloaded on a 3-1 heater, sending it over the left-center field fence for a three-run shot, tying the score at seven.
Unhappy with a newly tied ballgame, the Nighthawks plotted to pull in front in the sixth, and that they did. The first five batters to dig in all reached base, resulting in four runs and an 11-7 Nighthawk edge approaching the back third.
Letting the hosts create a four-run buffer refused to deter the Moose, and their hitters proved that in the seventh. Tate doubled and promptly stole third as the inning's first batter, and his aggressive baserunning was rewarded when he became his team's eighth run following a wild pitch. An Adams walk and Moore throwing error led to a Jack Van Remortel (Carmel, Ind./Michigan) sacrifice bunt, placing two runners in scoring position with one out.
Nighthawks reliever Adam Smith quickly bore down and retired the next batter, but Sterling Hayes (San Diego, Calif./Vanderbilt) and Stock made sure this late-inning opportunity to close the gap did not go in vain. Hayes drew a free pass to fill the bases and Stock's single plated two more. By the end of their turn at bat, the Mainers were behind by just one.
One swing was all it took in the eighth inning to equalize the contest. Howie clobbered his first long ball of 2019 which could not have come at a better time. The ball sailed over the center-field wall, traveling well over 400 feet into the White River Junction night sky.
Needing a shutdown inning right away, Nolan Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./Virginia) delivered his finest pitching performance of the season. He faced three Nighthawks in the bottom of the eighth and fanned them all, keeping things deadlocked at 11 with one more regulation frame remaining.
The Mainers had all the pieces in place take control in the ninth. Van Remortel lined a single to right field to kick off the inning and moved up on a Hayes one-bagger. Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y/Binghamton) walked to fill the sacks with two outs, but Nighthawks closer Aaron Haase made sure came in clutch for his team and recorded a punch out to give his team a shot at a walk-off.
Upper Valley primed to send the fans home happy as their first three up all reached base. However, staring defeat in the face by virtue of the winning run dancing off third, Matthew Pushard (Brewer, Maine/Maine) defied the odds and rode his electric fastball to three consecutive outs. He punched out Jack Zyska with his heater and induced a fielder's choice against Cole Frederick. When Howie caught an Anthony Quirion fly ball, a deflated group of players in the first-base dugout took the field for the tenth inning.
Starting with a runner on second base in Howie, the Moose offense wasted no time progressing him to third. Adams and Curtis both found their way aboard without putting a ball in play on a walk and hit-by-pitch respectively, setting the stage for Van Remortel. Given the chance to be a hero, he left nothing to chance. His hard-hit groundout to first base caught Nighthawks infielder John Hosmer in a moment of indecision, permitting Howie to score and putting the Mainers on top.
The Nighthawks started their half of the tenth with Quirion on second base, yet he could not go any further. Pushard struck out the side, bringing down the curtains on an entertaining game in victorious fashion.
The result marks the first Mainers extra-inning win under the NECBL's new format and the sixth after trailing in the eighth or later. Their 18 hits also shattered the team's single-game hit record.
The Moose return to Goodall Park tomorrow to take on the Keene Swamp Bats at 6:30 PM, their fourth matchup against their Northern Division rival this week. Coverage begins fifteen minutes prior to the first pitch on the Patriot Subaru Mainers Radio Network powered by the NECBL Broadcast Network with Ryan Zimmerman's play-by-play call. Until then, keep in touch with all things Mainers by visiting sanfordmainers.com and following the team on their social media accounts.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from July 19, 2019
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- Mountaineers Claim Season Series Over Martha's Vineyard - Vermont Mountaineers
- Moose Outlast Hawks in Ten-Inning Shootout - Sanford Mainers
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