By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — The Unknowns broke free from the Twi League’s middle of the pack last night with a 13-3 victory over the Loafers at Moulton Park.
Both teams entered tied for third in the league. Perhaps most importantly for the Unknowns, their run differential improved from a minus-3 (tied for 4th) to a plus-7.
The Loafers actually got on the board first with an RBI infield knock by Joe Galli to score James Beaton who led off with an infield single of his own, stole second and advanced to third with a groundout.
At that point, it looked like a key run in a low-scoring game. The Orange couldn’t break through against Loafers starter Dom Sorrentino who stranded nine baserunners without giving up a run through the first three innings.
The Unknowns responded to the Loaf’s run by exploding for nine in the bottom of the 4th, breaking the game open on their way to a convincing 13-3 win.
The Question Marks had two hitters reach base in all of their at-bats, led by Brett Maloney who went 2-for-2 with three walks, 4 RBI and a run scored. Adam Chanley had three walks and one hit-by-pitch in his four AB’s, adding an RBI and two runs scored.
In the 4th, eight different Unknowns crossed the plate including Chanley who touched the dish twice. He led off with a walk and moved to second on a blooper by Brandon Panarese. Maloney’s first RBI was a base hit to make it 1-1. Luke Martin (3-for-5, 1RBI, 1R) followed through with an RBI single and Scott Elwell walked to load the bases.
Twi rookie Chris Alden (1-for-3, 2RBI, 2R) stepped up and hit the bomb of the day to deep left-center, bringing home Maloney and Martin and knocking Sorrentino out of the game as the Orange jumped out to a 4-1 lead.
New pitcher James Beaton struggled to find the zone, walking Bryan Butt (1-for-3, 2RBI, 2R) to load them back up before an error made it 5-1. Beaton hit Chanley and walked Tom Caron as the Unknowns went up 7-1.
Maloney later came through with two outs for his second RBI hit of the inning, this time a double ripped down the right field line to score two and make it 9-1.
While the bats were the story for the Unknowns, Maloney had a great game on the mound as well, picking up the win, allowing two hits and three walks while fanning five. He didn’t surrender a hit until the 4th. The second hit, Galli’s RBI single, was a close call for scorekeepers as Elwell had a play on it at second but couldn’t handle it after a wicked hop.
The Orange added four in the 5th, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Butt. With the bases chucked, Panarese was hit by new pitcher Matt Russo to make it 12-1 and Maloney walked for his fourth RBI of the day.
– The defensive play of the day coincided with the funniest line – both delivered by the always entertaining Loafers. Galli threw out a runner at the plate on Martin’s initial knock in the bottom of the 1st. The left fielder charged the rolling hit, scooped it cleanly and fired a dart to the plate on two bounces, getting a speedy Bobby Pearl who was trying to score from second. It was a dangerously high-octane maneuver to be pulling so early in the game. “Galli, your arm ok?” said a teammate, drawing some laughs from the Loaf. “It’s a little tight,” admitted Galli.
– The Unknowns (4-4) are now tied with the Highlife (4-2) for second in the league. The Loafers (3-4) are tied with the Brewers (3-3) for 4th which as of now means both teams would have to battle for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Expos struggling at 1-6. All teams will play a full 12 games this season.
– The Brewers and Highlife will meet tonight, 6 p.m. at Moulton. There will be two games played at Moulton on Sunday when the Brew Crew play the Expos at 2 p.m. and the Slappers face the Highlife at 5 p.m.