Game One Comeback Falls Short For Baseball At Northern Essex In Regional Tournament
HAVERHILL, Mass. ---- The Massasoit baseball team fell into an early 3-0 hole and battled back to pull within a one, but a two-run homer by Colby Maiola proved to be the difference as Northern Essex claimed game one of the NJCAA Region 21 baseball tournament, 6-3 on Friday night.
Bryan Dwyer (Abington) paced the Warriors lineup with a 3-for-4 day, including a double and run scored. Alex Carey (East Bridgewater) and Jon Hurley (Plainville) each added two hits as Massasoit out-hit Northern Essex, 11-6 in the loss.
The Warriors were able to get on base all evening against Knights' starter Anthony Dally, but were unable to cash in on those scoring opportunities. Massasoit left 13 runners on base for the game, including a bases loaded, no out situation in the fifth.
"The opportunities were there tonight, we just didn't take advantage of them," head coach Tom Frizzell said.
Northern Essex jumped out early against Warrior ace Jake Stearns (Plymouth) as Mathew Marquez roped a two-out, two-run single in the last of the first. Marquez was the lone Knight with multiple hits, finishing 3-for-4.
After tacking on a run in bottom of the third, Jordan Roper caused havoc on the base paths against the Warriors in the fifth. The leadoff man drew a walk and then proceeded to steal second and third base. Then with two outs, the speedster darted home, beating the pitch with ease as NECC went up 4-0.
"Jake (Stearns) did a fine job for us," Frizzell said. "But, we talked about the importance of keeping their leadoff hitter, Roper, off the bases and the first three times up he got on and he scored all three times. He's a good, solid ball player and that was the margin of victory right there. I give the kid (Roper) a lot of credit (on the steal of home)."
But, the Warriors would not go down quietly. The visitors broke up a string of five consecutive zeros against lefty Dally on the scoreboard in the sixth. Dwyer ripped a one-out single and came around to score on an infield error. Later in the frame, Jimmy Lawless (Hull) slapped a RBI single to left, plating Justin Martinho (Dighton).
An inning later, Massasoit added another run when Martinho hit a sac fly to right allowing Tyler Morini (Plymouth) to tag up and score.
In the top of the eighth, the Warriors had an opportunity to knot up the score. Still trailing 4-3, Evan McSherry (Halifax) led off the inning with a walk and made his way to third with two outs against NECC reliever Gianni Esposito. But the tall right-hander induced a ground out to end the threat with the Knights clinging to a one-run lead.
That would be as close as Massasoit would get as Maiola roped a two-run inside-the-park home run to dead centerfield in the last of the eighth to round out the scoring.
Stearns (6-2) was saddled with just his second loss of the season working 7.1 innings, yielding six runs off six hits. The sophomore struck out seven and walked three.
Dalley (4-1) earned the victory for the Knights. Despite allowing nine hits and walking two, the lefty worked out of several jams. He also struck out five in the win. Esposito worked the last 2.2 innings for the save.
Jordan Roper was a menace at the top of the lineup for the Knights, scoring three runs, walking twice and stealing four bases.