Published in the July 17, 2017 edition.
WAKEFIELD — With the music of the Rolling Stone’s “Undercover of the Night” heard in the distance, the Unknowns outlasted the Slappers 9-7 under
the darkness of Friday night at Moulton Park.
Kevin Murray was the star of the game as he laced a two-run double just inside the foul line in left field to break up the tie game and propel the Unknowns to their fourth straight win. Brendan Cobb went the distance for his second win of the year.
Brandon Panarese got things rolling for the Orange in the first inning. Panarese singled off Slapper starting pitcher Mike McDonald, and then stole second base. The hot hitting Luke Martin followed with a double to left easily scoring Panarese for the first run of the game. Martin then stole third base and scored when the throw went into the outfield.
The young Slappers would get on the board in the bottom of the inning. After a strikeout, Ryan DiBenedetto singled up the middle. Ben Tomsyck followed with a single to centerfield. The Slapper runners then executed a double steal with DiBenedetto scoring when the throw sailed into the outfield.
The Unknowns added another run in the second inning. Bryan Butt reached on an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Heffy Power walked, and then both runners advanced a base on a groundout. Panarese would loft a fly ball to centerfield deep enough to allow Butt to make it home with the third run of the game.
Steve “Sunshine” Cain of the Slappers started off the bottom of the second inning by lining a hit to right field. After a strikeout, Cain stole second base and moved to third on a base hit by Dylan Melanson. Third baseman Dave Holman then sliced a single to right field that scored both Cain and Melanson, to tie the game at three. But the Slappers were not done. Cobb got the next batter to strikeout but allowed a walk to leadoff hitter James Lamphier. DiBenedetto then slapped a hit to right field, scoring Holman with the go ahead run. DiBenedetto stole second then trotted home with Lamphier on Tomsyck’s frozen rope single to centerfield, to put the Slappers up 6-3.
The Question marks tied the score at six all in the top of the third inning. Chad Dwyer led off with a base hit to right field. Dwyer scampered to third after two wild pitches and Graham Robertson connected for his first hit of the day to left field, plating Dwyer. Robertson would be cut down trying to steal causing the first out of the inning. After a fly out, Murray reached first base by getting plunked. Cobb followed with a single sending Murray to second base. Both runners then performed a double steal. Butt then came up clutch by slicing a hit to left field that scored Murray and Cobb to tie the game.
This is the part of the game when the pitchers settled down and stopped the bleeding. Melanson came in for relief of McDonald in the fourth inning and shut the door on the Orange batters for the next three innings. Meanwhile, Cobb found his groove as he hurled four shutout innings until the final inning.
The Unknowns, in the top of the seventh, with darkness beckoning, finally got to Melanson. Robertson reached on an infield error, and rookie Brett Maloney smashed a double to left center field. This set up the Murray heroics as he ripped the double that scored Robertson and Maloney. Cobb then poked his first hit of the game to center, moving pinch runner Moe Maloney to third. The Unknowns would add an insurance run when Cobb attempted to steal second base and the throw went high, allowing Maloney to score the ninth run of the game for the Orange.
Cobb came back out for the bottom of the seventh inning and got the first two batters out. Tomsyck hammered the next offering to left center field for a double. Jake Barresi, who’d been quiet until this point, unleashed a bomb that landed up against the left field fence for a double, scoring Tomsyck, making it 9-7.
Cobb reached back for what he had left in his arm to strikeout the next batter to end this marathon and give the Unknowns their fourth win of the season.