Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Oliver Ames to Walk Off Win

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames senior Josh Minuskin slides in safely before the throw for a three run home run in the seventh inning that tied the game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning faced with a three run deficit, it looked like Oliver Ames was headed to its ninth loss of the season.

With two outs, not much had changed with the Tigers still trailing 4-1 to the Mansfield Hornets. But on a 2-2 count, OA senior Josh Minuskin belted a three-run home run into left center field, tying the game and it looked like the game was destined to head to extra innings.

But a walk, a single and a hit batter later, suddenly Oliver Ames had the bases loaded and a chance to win. Freshman Chris Pearsons blooped one into left field, right in between a charging left fielder and a pair of back pedaling infielders to score the winning run and the Tigers walked off with a 5-4 win at Frothingham Park.

The rally started with a one out walk drawn by senior Matt Mancini. After a pop out for the second out, sophomore Matt Muir battled his way to a walk to put two on with two outs. Minuskin got a fast ball on a 2-2 pitch and launched it into left center. Mancini and Muir came around to score easily and after a slight bobble at the cutoff in left, Minuskin was sent home and he was able to beat the throw to tie the game.

“He’s a senior captain and that was a bomb, easily the furthest hit all day,” Oliver Ames head coach Leo Duggan said. “With the weather today, we didn’t think the ball would go that far. And then coach [Ed] Rollo sent him home because there was an issue at the cutoff so that was a great call right there.

“We’re thinking we’re going to lose 4-1 or 4-2 maybe if Josh gets a single but then he got a good pitch he could drive and that was a bomb.”

The bases didn’t stay clear for long with Ryan Adams drawing a four pitch walk. Kyle Gagliardi followed with an infield single between third and short to put two on with two out. Sophomore Mitch Goulet was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the freshman Pearson. Pearson connected on the second pitch her saw, blooping one into left as Adams scampered home, sending the Tigers into a frenzy.

“We were happy we tied it so we had [Zach] Sato, probably our best pitcher, was going to warm up for the eighth,” Duggan admitted. “Then Ryan [Adams] drew a walk, Kyle singled and Mitchell got hit. We were playing for extra innings but all of a sudden they woke up. Chris is only a freshman and he seems to be getting better everyday. That was a big situation and he came through.

“That was a great ending, I’ve seen a lot in my long time coaching. We snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.”

Mansfield took the lead in the fourth inning and added a run in each of the fifth and seventh innings. However, the feeling was one the Hornets have had before.

“I just talked to the guys about playing a complete seven innings,” Mansfield head coach Joe Breen said. “For a team that hasn’t had the lead in the seventh inning a lot of times this seasons, I think we get a little too excited and think the game is over and don’t play to the last out. Unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, they played through the last out and came out on top.”

A leadoff single from Zack Peterson in the top of the fourth got things started for the Hornets. Junior Aidan Cahill followed it up by reaching on a throwing error and senior Mike Arnold loaded the bases with no outs after getting hit with a pitch. Tyrone Pascual grounded into a fielder’s choice, plating Peterson to make it 1-0. Jake Tryder singled in Cahill at the next at bat to double the Hornets’ lead.

Mansfield struck again an inning later with freshman Dan Saraceno leading off with a single. A sacrifice bunt from recently called up sophomore Cullin Anastasia pushed Saraceno to second and a ground out from junior Max Boen pushed the runner to third. Peterson came through with a two out base hit up the middle to extend Mansfield’s lead to 3-0.

Oliver Ames was able to pull a run back in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to two. Mancini reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to third on a double from senior Chris Romero. Muir then knocked Mancini in with a grounder to second.

It looked like the Hornets added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, again getting the lead off man on base. Colin Gibbons singled and moved to second on a sac bunt from Saraceno. Max Boen’s sac bunt attempt turned into an error with the throw hitting him as he raced to first, allowing Gibbons to scamper home to make it 4-1.

OA’s Michael Mulrean got the win for the Tigers, allowing a run in two innings of work. Muir was the starter, going five innings with two earned runs allowed. Jack Neureuter pitched a scoreless four innings for Mansfield while Jared Menzer pitched the final three innings.

Oliver Ames baseball improves to 6-8 overall and 6-5 in league play, putting them in second place in the Davenport Division. The Tigers will host Sharon on Monday while Mansfield (4-9 league, 5-10 overall) will play host to North Attleboro on the same day.

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Sato, Adams Power Oliver Ames Past Canton

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames senior Zach Sato struck out six in six scoreless innings of work. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Six solid innings from senior Zach Sato and a three run fifth inning helped Oliver Ames score its first win of the season with a 4-0 decision over Canton.

Oliver Ames took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third and then capitalized on a pair of Bulldogs’ errors in the fifth inning to tack on insurance runs.

Sato tossed six innings in his second start of the season, striking out six batters, walking two and allowing just a pair of hits to get the win.

“Zach’s been in the program for four years now, he’s worked really hard,” Oliver Ames head coach Leo Duggan said. Sato also pitched 3.1 innings in the season debut against Franklin. “He practiced with us last year but didn’t play, he just pitched JV. I thought he did a nice job today, he kept the ball low and kept it away from guys like [Joe] Peccia and [Kevin] Powers. They are aggressive, they were going after the first pitch.”

Both Sato and Canton senior left hander Sean Doyle were efficient through the first two innings. Sato allowed a walk in the first inning but escaped without harm. After allowing a leadoff bunt single to Mike McMahon in the second, OA catcher Josh Minuskin threw him out at second on a steal attempt and Sato got two straight outs.

Doyle let up a leadoff double but induced two ground balls to Powers at shortstop and ended the bottom of the first with a strikeout. Kevin Geary advanced to third after a leadoff single but Doyle induced a pop up to strand the runner.

Sato needed just 10 pitches to get through the top of the third inning and OA used that momentum to cash in in the bottom half. Sophomore Matt Muir led off with a single up the left field line and moved to second on a sac bunt from Chris Romero. A wild pitch moved Muir up to third and senior Ryan Adams laced a shot down the right field line for an RBI triple to take the lead.

After both sides went down in order in the the fourth, Oliver Ames added insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Mancini started the inning with a four pitch walk and stole second. Doyle got two straight infield pop ups and looked like was going to get out of the inning unharmed but an error gave the Tigers life.

Minuskin hit a grounder to third but the throw sailed over first to advance Mancini to third. Adams then found space in the right side to bring Mancini home and push Minuskin to third. A dropped pitched allowed Adams to move to second and Mitch Goulet walked to load the bases.

Canton brought Joe Peccia in to pitch. Geary got contact on the first pitch and it rolled to short. But the throw for the out at second couldn’t be caught and both Minuskin and Adams came across the plate to make it 4-0.

“We haven’t got those [breaks] yet this year,” Duggan said. “We’ve played Franklin, North and Stoughton who have all done really well.”

Sophomore Chris Perron made his varsity debut with a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to earn the save.

Adams finished 2-3 with two RBI and a run scored while Muir had two hits and Geary finished with one.

“Ryan had a big game,” Duggan said. “Muir had a pretty good game, Chris [Romero] and Josh [Minuskin] haven’t really hit yet but Ryan stepped up and performed well today.”

“The bottom line is that when you have two hits, it’s pretty hard to win a game,” Canton coach JP Scott said. “That fifth inning hurt us. We’re still trying to figure out where we’re going to be defensively and trying to get the right combination on both offense and defense. You just can’t make mistakes like that against bad teams let along teams like Oliver Ames.”

McMahon and sophomore Matt Casamento each had a hit for the Bulldogs.

Oliver Ames (1-3) will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to New Bedford for a 11:00AM non-league contest with the Whalers. Canton will next play host to Fairhaven on Tuesday at 11:00AM.

“t was nice to get the win,” Duggan said. “It had been a while since we had lost three games in a row. I think we’ll be alright, we’re still trying to piece together stuff. Now we have three non league games with New Bedford, Silver Lake and Falmouth. The schedule is tough.”

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Noviello, Franklin Open Season With Win At OA

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Franklin sophomore Jake Noviello struck out six in his varsity debut to earn the win. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Franklin plated three runs in the fourth inning and sophomore Jake Noviello was solid on the mound in his varsity debut to lead the Panthers to a 4-2 win over Oliver Ames.

The Panthers erased a two run deficit by sending eight batters to the plate in the fourth inning. Noviello surrendered an unearned run in the first and an earned run in the fourth, allowing just five hits and striking out six to get his first career win.

“Always good to get a win,” Franklin head coach Zach Brown said as the Panthers defeated OA for the second straight year. “Oliver Ames is an excellent team and an excellent program with great coaches and great players so it was good to get this win.”

Although the game was played at Frothingham Park in Easton, Franklin was the home side and batted in the bottom half. To start the bottom of the fourth inning, Franklin senior Josh Macchi singled up the middle and advanced to second when Noviello drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and a walk to Brad Jarosz loaded the bases.

Sophomore Matt Foley’s hit down the line in right fell in, bringing Macchi in to cut the deficit in half. Junior Ryan Hodgkin’s hit to third brought pinch runner Steve Ferguson in to tie the game. Senior Joe Corsi hit one through the left side of the infield to plate Foley and take a 3-2 lead.

OA took the lead in the first inning with Chris Romero reaching on a fielder’s choice. Josh Minuskin blooped one into center with two outs to bring Romero home and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead after the top half of the first. The Tigers extended their lead in the top of the fourth. Minuskin singled to lead off and moved to second off a single from sophomore Mitch Goulet. Kevin Geary moved both runners up a base and then Minuskin came home on a wild pitch.

Noviello was solid throughout. He stuck out a pair in the second and then fanned another in the third. With a runner on third in the fourth, he induced a fly ball to right and a groundout to short to get out of the inning. He allowed one hit in the fifth but escaped without any further and then ended his day on the mound with a 1-2-3 sixth inning, punctuated with a strikeout for his last out.

“Jake was with us basically for the stretch run last year and we knew he was going to be an important part of the team this year and moving forward,” Brown said. “To say this came as a complete surprise wouldn’t be fair. We’re proud of him, we’re proud of all of our guys. They competed hard. Jake did a great job trying to stay ahead and work down in the zone.”

Noviello’s sixth inning came with a big assist from Foley. Ryan Adams led off with a hard hit single into right. Minuskin followed with a rip to right field himself but Foley snagged it and then fired back to first to double up the Tigers.

Hodgkins and Corsi drew walks to open up the bottom of the sixth and junior Jake Lyons reached on an error to load the bases. Tyler Gomes launched a hit into left center field but OA junior Travis Campbell leaped into the air for a diving catch to limit the damage to just a sacrifice fly as Franklin went up 4-2.

Franklin senior Mike Skaza needed just 14 pitched for a perfect final inning to get the save.

“Mike is the veteran arm that we have coming back,” Brown said. ”We figured it would be best for us to have him at the back end of games, getting those outs that mean the most. He did a great job today.”

OA senior Zach Sato suffered the loss, going 3.1 innings and allowing three earned runs. Oliver Ames’ pitchers combined to walk seven Franklin batters.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” OA coach Leo Duggan said. “I thought Sato pitched alright. This was his first varsity start and for three innings he kept the ball down, I think he just got a little tired after that. We didn’t help him out after that. We dropped the ball in right field, we had a mistake at third. Walks killed us today too.

“I thought Muir (2-2) had a great game, he made two legitimate great plays on defense. We’ve got so many kids and we’re experimenting who’s going to be in the lineup still. We only had five hits, we didn’t get any hits from the bottom of the order.”

Franklin baseball (1-0) returns to action on Monday when they travel to Sharon (0-0) to take on the Eagles. Oliver Ames (0-1) will travel to North Attleboro (0-1) on the same day.

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Welch Tosses Gem, Oliver Ames Rallies Past Milton

Brendan Welch

Brendan Welch wasn’t his usual self at the plate but had a monstrous pitching performance, allowing just two hits. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief

NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames broke open a tie game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and junior Brendan Welch tossed a complete game as the Tigers beat Milton, 5-2, to advance to the MIAA D2 South Quarterfinals. 

The fourth-seeded Tigers fell behind 2-0 in the top third inning but leveled the score with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. A three run sixth inning gave Oliver Ames the lead for good while Welch allowed just two hits on the day and struck out five.

“Brendan was great,” OA head coach Leo Duggan said. “He’s been our number one guy all year, he did a good job today.”

With the game tied 2-2, OA senior catcher Joe Walsh ripped the second pitch he saw deep into left center field, into the trees at Frothingham Park, for a lead off triple. With the infield playing in, OA second baseman Adam Burr grounded a single up the middle to score Walsh to make it 3-2. Nolan Edwards then took an 0-2 count and roped a double into left field, scoring pinch runner Andrew Perron from first to make it 4-2. Shortstop Brian Holmes executed his second sacrifice bunt of the game to move Edwards over to third base and center fielder Mike Ferrara hit a sacrifice fly to center field to play Edwards for a 5-2 lead.

Welch struck out junior Jason Turner to start the top of the seventh and then induced back-to-back ground outs from Chris Cullen and Connor Shea to end the game.

The Wildcats took the lead in the third inning on the only two hits they had all game. Number eight hitter Alex Toyias singled up the middle just out of the reach of Holmes to lead off the inning. It looked as though Toyias was picked off at first but was called safe. The next pitch, Milton’s number nine hitter John Lawton ripped a double into left field to plate Toyias to go up 1-0. At the next at-bat, lead off man and pitcher Colin McCabe hit a grounder to second, but the ball eluded Burr for an error and Lawton scored from second to make it 2-0.

It looked as though the Tigers would get at least a run back in the bottom half of the inning, but were unable to push a run across. Holmes led off with a single into center – a play originally ruled as an out on a  diving catch in center, but overturned after Duggan came out to question – and Ferrera and Romero followed up with singles to load the bases with no outs. But McCabe got Welch to strikeout looking and then induced pop ups from David Romero and Alex Geba to protect the 2-0 lead.

But in the bottom of the fourth, Oliver Ames knotted the score at two. Burr atoned for his error in the third inning with a single in the fourth. Edwards followed with a grounder to third, but Chris Cullen’s throw to second to try and turn two sailed just wide and into the outfield, as Burr advanced to third. Holmes’ first sac bunt of the game came next, moving Edwards to second before Ferrara – the Hockomock League’s RBI leader – singled into left field to score both Burr and Edwards to tie the game 2-2.

“The kids were confident and they came back and played well,” Duggan said. “It was nice to come back being down 2-0. I was thinking ‘Uh-oh’ just like last year, we lost 2-0 to Sharon. It was great to see the kids come back. These kids don’t quit.”

After giving up the two hits in the third inning, Welch allowed just one base runner – his lone walk of the game to lead off the fifth – for the rest of the game. He needed just 38 pitches over the last four innings to shut Milton down and tallied four of his five strikeouts.

Ferrara finished 2-2 with three RBI, Walsh went 1-3 with a triple and run scored, Burr was 2-3 with an RBI and a run, Edwards was 1-2 with two runs and Holmes was 1-1 with two sac bunts which both turned into runs. 

Oliver Ames advances to play fifth-seeded Duxbury in the D2 South Quarterfinals. The Dragons took down Stoughton, 9-8 in the First Round. The game is currently schedule for Monday, June 2nd at 4:00 according to the MIAA website.

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.