Schooners Open with Walk-Off Win
GROTON - Casey Baker (Stony Brook) sent the fans home happy as the Mystic Schooners opened up their 2016 campaign with a 5-4 walk off victory over the Sanford Mainers.
The layoff between the end of the college season and the start of the NECBL season did not seem to bother the Mainers offense early on in the ball game. Their first three batters all reached base to load the bases with no outs against Schooners starting pitcher Mathew Ardente (Seton Hall). Ardente avoided the worst-case scenario by giving up just two runs on a pair of sacrifice flies by Mainers batters to make the score 2-0 heading into the bottom of the first inning.
The Schooners offense went to work in the home half and got one run back when Nick Mascelli (Wagner) drew a leadoff walk. Taishi Terashima (St. Bonaventure) followed that up with a single and Rich Slenker (Yale) walked to load the bases with no outs for the Schooners. The fifth man in the lineup, Brett Bond (Missouri) hit a slow roller to first base that was flipped to first to the covering pitcher, allowing Mascelli to score from third to cut the lead in half.
The Mainers did not wait much longer to extend their lead. In the third inning Shaine Hughes started it off with a single and Chris Gaetano doubled to put runners on second and third. The next batter, Sam Stauble drove in Hughes and advanced Gaetano to third. Derek Bauer followed that with another RBI base hit to score Gaetano and make the score 4-2 heading into the bottom of the third.
The Schooners immediately took advantage of three Mainers errors. Taishi Terashima started things off by hitting a sharp grounder to short that was misplayed and allowed him to reach first safely. After Scotty Bradley (Indiana) worked a walk, Terashima would eventually advance to third base and Brett Bond would drive him in with a single to make the score 4-2.
Zach Goldstein (Southern New Hampshire) kept it going when he lifted a ball sky high that was dropped by the center fielder allowing the bases to be loaded. And the third Mainer error of the inning proved costly as CJ Moore (Grambling State) hit a routine ground ball to second that was misplayed and the second run of the inning scored to make it just a one run game.
The offense for both teams went quiet thanks to the Schooners bullpen trio of Doug Domnarski (UConn), Mason Kukowski (Yale) and Kellen Croce (New Haven) who picked up the win.
But the Schooners would tie it up in the eighth inning. Baker drew a leadoff walk and CJ Moore bunted him over to second base. With Baker in scoring position, Nick Mascelli hit a grounder to first base and the throw to the pitcher covering first went to the fence allowing Baker to score from second to tie that game up at four.
In the bottom of the ninth the Schooners loaded the bases for Casey Baker who ripped one into right field scoring Scotty Bradley from third for the walk off victory.
The Schooners are now 1-0 on the season. They will hit the road for their next game against the Newport Gulls on Friday at Cardines Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from June 9, 2016
- Mainers Drop Season Opener on Walk-Off Single - Sanford Mainers
- Schooners Open with Walk-Off Win - Mystic Schooners
- Hart Leads the Way as Swamp Bats Win Season Opener - Keene Swamp Bats
- Gulls Strohschein Garners National Accolades - Newport Gulls
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