Rally from a 5-0 deficit, edge Loafers 6-5 to sweep semifinal series

BREWERS SHORTSTOP Matt Fiore takes the throw at second base on a steal attempt by Dom Sorrentino (#24) in the third inning. Second baseman Andrew Patti gets races over to the bag as well. (Donna Larsson Photo)

BREWERS SHORTSTOP Matt Fiore takes the throw at second base on a steal attempt by Dom Sorrentino (#24) in the third inning. Second baseman Andrew Patti gets races over to the bag as well. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Published in the August 6, 2015 edition


WAKEFIELD — The Brewers nearly accepted a win the easy way by forfeit. But when a ninth player arrived for the Loafers, the Brewers were forced to earn the victory. The Brewers had to work even harder when they spotted the Loafers five runs in Game 2 of the best-of-three Twi League semifinal series last night at Moulton Field.

But after falling behind by a 5-0 score after two innings, the Brewers stirred things up in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings as they erased the deficit and the edged the Loafers by a 6-5 score to sweep the series, 2-0.

The third-seeded Brewers will now face the top-ranked Expos in the best-of-five final which is scheduled to get underway on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Moulton.

Last night’s game was nearly not even played as the Expos had just eight players at game time. But after a 15 minute delay, the contest started with a ninth player on route and the Loafers up at bat.

Eventually the Loafers not only had a ninth player show up but a 10th man as well.

The delay did nothing to hurt their momentum as they plated a run in the first and four in the second to jump out to a 5-0 advantage.

In the top of the first, Connor O’Brien singled to right-center field with one out. After taking second on a ground ball, O’Brien scored on an error at second base.

The Loafers pushed four runs across in the second and sent nine batters to the plate.

Matt Russo doubled to right field with one out. A pop up to shortstop resulted in the second out. So that meant that the Loafers did most of their damage with two outs. Neil Cacciola was hit by a pitch and Kevin Loveless reached on an infield single to third base to load the bases. Jared Pavey blooped a single to center field which couldn’t be caught as Russo and Cacciola scored. On an errant throw to third base, Loveless scored as well and Pavey advanced to third base. O’Brien then singled to left field to drive in Pavey.

O’Brien then stole second and James Beaton was hit by a pitch but Brewers pitcher Tom Leahy induced a fly ball to left for the third out. But the score was 5-0.

Leahy overcame the rough inning and went all seven innings for the Brewers and earned the win. The right-hander gave up five runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out three and walking none. He also hit three batters.

From the second inning on, the Loafers had just three base runners. In the third, Dom Sorrentino was hit by a pitch but was thrown out trying to steal second on a fine throw from Brewers catcher Joe Greer. Russo, who had two hits, singled to right field in the third as well. Beaton also had a single to right field and stole second base. But other that, the Loafers were retired by Leahy.

Meanwhile, Loafers starter Ken Runge worked his way out of a couple of jams in the first and third innings.

In the bottom of the first, Andrew Patti singled to left field and took second on a passed ball. Matt Fiore singled to left field to put runners at the corners. Fiore then stole second but Runge retired the next three batters to keep the Brewers off the scoreboard.

After a 1-2-3 second inning, the Brewers mounted another threat in the third inning. Mike Coombs singled to left field but was was forced at second base on a ground ball hit by Matt Byrne. Patti reached on an error at third base to put runner at first and second. Byrne was tagged going to third for the second out of the inning on a ground ball. A pop up to second base ended the frame as the game remained 5-0 in favor of the Loafers.

But the Brewers were undeterred as they chipped away at the lead with three runs in the fourth inning.

Darren Bisso singled to right field and Brian DiRuzza reached on an infield hit to shortstop. Myke Fortier singled to left field to load the bases. After a hard hit line drive to shortstop by Leahy which O’Brien made a nice diving stop on, Greer delivered with a two-run single to center field to plate both Bisso and DiRuzza. After a fly ball to center field for the second out, Byrne lined a base hit up the middle to score Fortier to cut the lead to 5-3.

The Brewers tallied two runs in the last of the fifth inning to tie the game up 5-5.

Fiore reached on an infield hit to shortstop. After a pop up to short, Bisso singled to right-center field. DiRuzza then blooped a base hit to right-center field to load the bases. Fortier walked forcing in Fiore. Leahy then helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly ball to left field to plate Bisso.

The Brewers took the lead with the go ahead and eventual game-winning run in the home half of the sixth inning.

With one out, Byrne walked and pinch-runner Mike Fiore advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Patti ripped a single to left field as Fiore came around and scored. Patti stole second base and then took third on a ground ball. But a line drive to left field ended the inning with the Brewers leading by one run, 6-5.

Runge pitched five and one-third innings for the Loafers and gave up six runs on 12 hits while striking out three and walking two. He also threw one wild pitch.

Loveless went the final two-thirds of an inning and retired both batters he faced.

In the top of the seventh inning, Leahy induced three ground ball outs, two to shortstop and one to third as the Brewers gained a berth into the Twi League finals. The Loafers, meanwhile, put in a valiant effort in two closely contested semifinal contests.

Game 1 of the best-of-five final is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. at Moulton. Game 2 is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Moulton. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Moulton. Games 4 and 5 (if necessary) are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at Moulton and Sunday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. at Moulton.