Seventh Inning Outburst Overwhelms Upper Valley
SANFORD - Just as these two clubs had done in their previous five matchups, the Mainers and Upper Valley Nighthawks competed closely all evening long. However, the hosts took advantage of their late scoring opportunities to put away their Northern Division foes 6-3.
Through the early goings, the Nighthawks jumped out to an early lead with timely two-out hitting. Brian Moore and Portland native Jake Knop singled and walked respectively in front of Jeff Costello, whose double put the first two runs on the board in the second inning. He followed up once again in the fourth with another RBI hit, this time a single to give his team a 3-0 edge.
At that point, the Mainers started to turn it on at the dish. Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga./Georgia) doubled and Orlando Adams (Atlanta, Ga./Kentucky) drew a free pass, placing two runners on with one out. A wild pitch and passed ball on consecutive tosses plated Tate ahead of an Erik Stock (Virginia Beach, Va./UConn) roped a base hit to right field to double his team's tally.
It did not take much longer for the Mainers to tie the game as they did so in their next turn at-bat. Drew DeMartino (Pittsfield, Mass./Hartford) laced a double down the left-field line with one away and promptly scored one batter later when Shane Marshall (Webster, N.Y./Binghamton) flared a fastball over the head of Cole Frederick at third base, equalizing with the Nighthawks at three.
While the offense found their way back into the game, the pitching kept the Nighthawks right where they stood. Entering the game in the fifth inning to make his team-leading 13th appearance, Nick Laster (Atlanta, Ga./Eastern Kentucky) could do no wrong. He tossed four scoreless frames, scattering only one hit and three walks across Upper Valley's lineup.
As the two teams entered the contest's back third, the Moose offense came to life, erupting for three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Reece Armitage (Falmouth, Maine/Marist College) led off with a triple, forcing the Nighthawks to play their infield in. The move gave Sterling Hayes (San Diego, Calif./Vanderbilt) a better chance to send a hit past the four infielders, which he did easily. He hit a hard ground ball that caromed off the second base bag and rolled into center field for an easy double before an errant throw allowed him to advance another 90 feet.
Not satisfied with just a one-run cushion, DeMartino dug back in to try and drive in Hayes. A routine fly ball to center field did the trick, but outfielder Jack Zyska lost the ball in the Goodall Park lights, enabling the Hartford second baseman to record a double as well and register his 30th run batted in of the season.
Marshall then legged out an infield single, planting runners at the corners still without making an out. At this point, the Mainers decided to fluster the Upper Valley infield via smart baserunning. A steal of second base prompted a throw from catcher Andrew Cossetti, gifting DeMartino a free shot at home as the Moose perfectly executed a delayed steal to double up the Nighthawks 6-3.
That was all Laster and Nolan Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./Virginia Tech) needed to close out the ballgame. A scoreless eighth paved the way for a similar ninth as Wilson hammered down his first save wearing green and yellow to finish off the Nighthawks.
The victory marks the fourth against Upper Valley in 2019 as the Mainers finish the year 4-2 against their rivals to the west.
The Moose are in action once again tomorrow as they play host to the Valley Blue Sox at 6:30 PM. You can catch every pitch on the Patriot Subaru Sanford Mainers Radio Network powered by the NECBL Broadcast Network. Until then, stay in the know about all things Mainers baseball by heading over to sanfordmainers.com and following the team on their social media accounts.
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