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Schooners Drop Game Two, Setting up Winner-Take-All Game Three

August 11, 2015 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) - Mystic Schooners News Release

MONTPELEIR - The Vermont Mountaineers became the first team to defeat the Schooners in the 2015 playoffs. A tremendous pitching performance from Sean Leland sent the NECBL Championship Series back to Fitch High School.

In the first inning the Schooners got their first run of the game. Ben Ruta got on base with a one out single to bring up the heart of the order. Rich Slenker hit one to the deepest part of Recreation Field. The ball was driven to straight away center for an RBI triple to bring Ruta home from first.

For a team that has been on fire offensively in the playoffs, the Schooners were not able to score again until late in the game. And Sean Leland is the reason why.

Leland went eight full innings of six hit ball and struck out six. The run in the first was the only time the Schooners would score against him.

The Mountaineers, who have won ten straight at home since Mystic beat them on July 13th came storming back. They immediately struck for two runs in the home half of the first. A lead off walk, a base hit and another walk from Tim Holmes loaded the bases for the Mountaineers best playoff hitter. Garret Copeland lined one into right center field and brought in two runs to give Vermont the 2-1 lead after one inning.

The Mountaineers brought around another run in the third. Holmes was not able to find the strike zone and after he gave up a leadoff base hit in the fourth his night would be done. Tre Gonzalez was brought in for the fourth inning to stop the damage. After a sac bunt moved Austin Clemons to second base, a base hit from Joe Dudek was able to bring around the run. The Mountaineers then loaded the bases and Gonzalez walked in the fifth and final run of the game for the home team.

Heading into the ninth the Schooners finally got a new pitcher to work with in Billy Whaley. Dan Hoy hit a no-doubt leadoff home run over the left-center fence to cut the Vermont lead to three. Two outs later Lou Ionatti drew a walk for John Brucker. Brucker smashed one into deep right field to score Ionatti. Then Chase Livingston stepped up in a pinch-hit spot. He sent one to center field and Brucker was able to come around and the Schooners just trailed by one run. Nick Mascelli was the Schooners last hope. Good contact was made but right into the center fielders glove to end the game.

The Schooners tied their lowest run total in the playoffs and they have their backs to the wall for the first time. A pivotal game three will be at Fitch High School on Wednesay, first pitch is at 6:05 pm.

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