Published in the July 2, 2015 edition


NORTH READING — It has been the same story for the North Reading A’s baseball team the last three games as they have held a late lead only to see the opponents come back and pull out the win. On Monday night, the host A’s led the North Shore Storm, 3-1, going into the sixth inning. However, the Storm scored twice in the sixth and once more in the seventh to win, 4-3, at North Reading High School.

“We have got to learn how to close these games out,” said A’s player-manager Joe Dardeno. “We are much better that our record shows.”

With the defeat, the A’s record dipped to 3-10-1 as they are in seventh place in the North Shore Baseball League.

Forrest Lovett was the losing pitcher going 2/3‘s of an inning in relief. Mike Banda was an emergency starter and went the first three innings only allowing one run.

“Mike was hurt but he gave us all he got,” stated Dardeno.

The A’s scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings as they finished with with eight hits. Dardeno and Mark DeMasse led the way as both players went 2 for 3 with one run batted in.

Jon McQuarrie had the other RBI with a single.

Last Friday night, also at home, the A’s led the North Shore Phillies, 4-2, heading into the seventh but the guest were able to plate four runs and shut the A’s down in the bottom of the seventh to win, 6-4.

Adam Halley was the losing pitcher in relief as he went the final two frames.

North Reading’s offense had six hits in this game led by Jonathan Gravallese who was 2 for 3. Kevin Rooney had a two-run double while Anthony Capuano and Matt Divecchia had the two other RBI. Capuano reached base all four times he was at bat with three walks and a triple.

On June 24, the A’s hosted the Storm as well. North Reading led this one, 3-0, heading into the seventh but the visitors erupted for five runs and won 5-3.

Anthony Lupi went 6+ innings and gave up only one earned run before the bullpen struggled in the seventh.

“I felt bad for Anthony,” admitted Dardeno. “He is our best pitcher and he is an all-star. He walked the first hitter of the seventh and he was tired.”

The A’s had sixth hits in this game led by Rich Giannatassio who was 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI. Zach Szczechowicz also had a good night at the dish going 2 for 2 with a walk. Capuano, the second A’s All-Star along with Lupi, had the other RBI with a single.

On July 2, the A’s take on the Storm again at Peabody High at 8 p.m. They then host Beverly next Monday and the Bistany Bombers next Wednesday.

Both of those games will start at 6 p.m.

Lupi and Capuano will both play in the All-Star Game on July 5 at Haverhill Stadium. That game will start at 7 p.m.