SHARON, Mass. – In a battle between two sophomore pitchers, Mansfield’s Tyler Dalton emerged victorious, throwing a one-hit complete game shutout to give the Hornets a 3-0 over Sharon on Friday afternoon.
Dalton and Sharon’s Max Tarlin, who was making his varsity debut, both went the distance. Dalton’s one hit came in the fifth inning, a single down the right field line by Jordan Chabot. Only one other Sharon runner reached – Jake Teven – on an error in the sixth inning while Dalton finished with eight strikeouts. Tarlin scattered seven hits, issuing just one walk and two earned runs in his debut.
“Tyler’s performance, it was exactly what we needed,” Mansfield head coach Joe Breen said after his squad improved to 4-7 on the season. “Our seniors have been great leaders all year and a couple guys are struggling a little bit so we’ve needed the younger guys to pick it up and try and set the tone a little bit until the seniors get back on track. Tyler was certainly the guy for us today.”
Both Dalton and Tarlin had three strikeouts apiece through two innings of play. Mansfield was able to cash in first in the top of the third inning behind a one out triple from Zack Peterson. Peterson ripped a shot to right center field and was singled in by Aidan Cahill on the first pitch he saw. Tarlin recovered with a pop up and a strike out to end the inning.
The Hornets were back at it in the fourth inning. Two straight throwing errors that drew the first baseman off the bag put Dan Saraceno and Jake Tryder on base with no outs. Sharon’s Mark Botaish made a nice running grab in foul territory for the first out and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with two outs. Max Boen, hitting in the nine spot, drove a base hit up the middle to plate Saraceno to make it 2-0.
Mansfield scored a run for the third straight inning in the top of the fifth. Aidan Cahill’s hit eluded the sliding attempt of Sharon centerfielder Andrew Filipkowski, turning a single into a runner on second with no outs situation. Mike Arnold’s single moved Cahill to third and Tyrone Pascual’s sacrifice fly – which was turned into a double play at first – brought Cahill in as final run of the game in from third.
“It’s been the story of the season for us so far, we’re getting guys on just not scoring,” Breen said after his Hornets had a runner on base in all innings except two. “We’ve had games where we get guys on six out of the seven innings and haven’t scored. We haven’t gotten those one or two big hits to break a game open. We still didn’t get those hits today but we got enough.”
Sharon finally was able to reach base in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chabot ripped a two out shot into right field. The Eagles tried to build the momentum by sending Chabot to try and steal second but Mansfield catcher Mike Arnold’s throw and Boen’s tag was in time to end the inning.
“It’s a combination of Tyler on the mound, kind of growing up a little bit in the last couple of weeks, being able to get over a hit like that because he knew what he had lost, I could see it in his eyes. And then getting some help from a senior captain, throwing the guy out at second to kill any of their momentum, it was a big one,” Breen said.
Although Tarlin was dealt the loss, he was impressive in his first ever varsity start. He struck out seven in seven innings of work.
“His performance is the main thing I’m taking away from this game,” Sharon first year coach Kee Arguimbau said. “That and the fact that the Mansfield pitcher was just as good, maybe a little better. A little better in the sense that he was pitching ahead but overall I couldn’t be any happier with Max Tarlin’s performance today. As far as the game, you just have to tip your cap to the other pitcher, he threw the lights out. We couldn’t get around on him, and when you don’t get any hits or score any runs, you’re not going to win games.”
Mansfield baseball (3-6, 4-7) will look to make it two in a row when they travel to the Kelley-Rex leading Warriors of King Philip on Monday. Sharon (1-8, 1-10) will try to bounce back when they host Milford the same day.
“At the halfway mark, we were 3-7,” Breen said. “We needed to go 7-3 the rest of the way but the message has been, and the guys did it today, we need to go 1-0 each game. We have to worry about each day individually, we can’t go 7-3 in one game so we have to take it one game at a time.”
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.