Life take rematch on Monday,w 8-2
Published July 31, 2019
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — Friday night saw the Loafers square off with the Highlife in a regular season matchup with playoff implications.
Entering the game, the Loafers stood atop the standings with 11 points from nine games, while the Highlife were on the outside of the playoffs looking in with seven points in eight games played.
Max Marchino got the start for the Highlife, and despite allowing just one baserunner in the first inning, he struggled in the second inning, surrendering six runs before leaving the game.
On the other side, Taylor Robinson got the start for the Loafers.
Robinson, a former pitcher from Umass Lowell ran into some trouble in the first inning against the Highlife as they managed to score five runs on four hits in the inning. Dan Concessi, Anthony Cecere and Mark Sullivan all got hits while Jake Vezga delivered an RBI double.
Down 5-0 after the first inning, the Loafers stormed back, scoring six times in the 2nd inning. Control issues plagued Marchino as he allowed the six runners to score on two hits, two walks, and two hit by pitches. Taylor Robinson and Sal Mendonca delivered the most damage as they stroked a double and a triple back-to-back. After Matt Russo walked in his second plate appearance of the inning, the third out was made when he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
After establishing a 5-0 lead and subsequently relinquishing it over the course of one inning, the Highlife came to bat in the 2nd. A one-out single by Ryan Doyle was all they could muster and the score remained 6-5.
The Highlife sent Doyle out to pitch as Marchino’s struggles continued. The Highlife didn’t help their pitcher out behind him, as they allowed the first two runners to reach on errors and a fielder’s choice, and they would come around to score to make it 8-5 after 2.5 innings.
Highlife centerfielder Dan Concessi made sure to get those two runs back the very next inning, as he stepped in with two on and two out, he lined a base hit, scoring Chris Dettorre and Mike Melanson and making the score 8-7.
The Loafers made it 9-7 in the top of the fourth, after Doyle struck out the leadoff man, he struck Sal Mendonca in the back with a pitch, and then Matt Russo crushed a double to deep right center, scoring Mendonca from first. Doyle got the next two batters to fly out ending the inning.
The Highlife had their leadoff man reach as Anthony Cecere smacked a screamer down to first that Russo couldn’t handle. A strikeout and two grounders to second followed and the Highlife would come up empty in the fourth.
Nick Dettorre relieved Doyle on the hill and after the leadoff man reached on an error, and was erased on a fielder’s choice, Jared Pavey flew out to center for the inning’s second out. A pair of two-out singles by Connor O’Brien and Taylor Robinson brought the 10th run in for the Loafers before Mendonca popped to third ending the inning with the score 10-7.
Jake Vezga led off with a walk to start the bottom of the fifth for the Highlife, but he was cut down stealing second. Mike Melanson reached on an error, but Joe Stackhouse tapped one back to the pitcher who threw to first for the second out of the inning.
With a man on second base and two away, Robinson’s rusty cage was rattled as Concessi took a 2-0 pitch the other way to left field. The slicing line drive tailed away from the left fielder, and the speedy Concessi raced around the bases for a two-run homer, making the score 10-9.
Nick Dettorre went out for the 6th inning, getting the first two batters to retire quietly before giving up a two-out bloop double to Justin Sencabaugh. Dom Sorrrentino worked a walk to make it two on with two out, but Evan McGuire grounded out to end the inning without any runs coming in.
With a one-run lead and daylight running out, the Loafers took their time getting in the field, but the Highlife had their ups no matter what, but this game wasn’t going to make seven innings.
Jason Federico led the inning off for the Highlife in the most ideal way, lacing a double down the line. Robinson’s command started to betray him, and Federico advanced to third on a wild pitch. After two ground balls saw Federico stranded at third, Jake Vezga stepped in and came through with a clutch RBI single to score Federico, tying the game at 10-10.
Mike Melanson followed up with a base hit and Vezga moved up to third bringing up Joe Stackhouse with a chance to win it for the Highlife. Robinson was able to get the better of Stackhouse, and the game ended at 10-10 after six innings due to darkness.
Highlife win rematch 8-2
Monday night saw the Twi League’s final week of the regular season kick off with the Highlife hosting the first place Loafers.
Twi League veteran, Stoneham native and Stonehill alum Anthony Caracciolo got the start for the defending champion Highlife, and opposite him, former Umass Lowell pitcher Garrett Cole got the call for the Loafers.
On this occasion, it was the Skyhawk out-dueling the River Hawk. While both threw complete games, Cole gave up eight runs on seven hits, while Caracciolo gave up just two runs on three hits, leading the Highlife to the 8-2 victory.
At the dish, the Highlife did almost all of their damage in the 1st inning with two out. After getting leadoff man Dan Concessi to fly out to center, and 2two-hitter Ryan Doyle to ground to second base, Cole ran into some trouble.
It started with a double by Anthony Cecere, who then stole third base. After Jason Federico worked a walk, Cecere came in to score on a Matt Davis single. The next batter, Mark Sullivan was hit by a pitch and then Caracciolo singled home Federico to make it 2-0. Eric DiTonno drove in a run with a base hit to make it 3-0 before Joe Stackhouse and Concessi both reached on errors, clearing the bases and bringing the score to 7-0. Cole struck Doyle out to finally end the inning.
On the Loafers’ side, they had an uphill struggle starting in a 7-0 hole. Jared Pavey led off the top of the 1st with a single for the Loafers, and after Connor O’Brien popped out for the first out of the inning, Caracciolo issued back-to-back walks to Taylor Robinson and James Beaton, loading the bases. In stepped Sal Mendonca, who lifted a deep fly ball to center that forced Concessi to make a catch on the run for the second out of the inning, but Pavey tagged and scored to make it 7-1. Joe Galli ended the inning by grounding out, ending the threat with only one run across.
After a tumultuous first inning, Garrett Cole got on a roll, allowing a run on two walks and a Concessi double in the third inning, a single and a walk in the fifth inning and a single in the sixth inning, while recording 10 strikeouts. For his part, Cole was effective in holding the Highlife to one run after the first inning. The issue the Loafers ran into was that Caracciolo silenced their bats just as effectively.
The only real threat the Loafers had before the final inning came in the fourth inning, when a leadoff walk to Beaton and a Sal Mendonca single meant they had two on and nobody out. Caracciolo came back and got Galli to fly to center and Dom Sorrentino to bounce one to Doyle at shortstop to start an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
Caracciolo got the side in order in the fifth and stranded a one out Taylor Robinson double in the sixth.
With Cole dealing on the mound for the Loafers, and the Highlife getting a glove on everything they hit, the seventh inning arrived quickly. Joe Galli worked a leadoff walk against Caracciolo, who’d thrown a lot of pitches at this point, but wanted to finish off the deal. Sorrentino then lined a screamer to short, but Doyle didn’t need to take a step to either side to snag it for the inning’s first out.
Pinch hitter Matt Russo got hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. The pitcher, Cole came up next and he hit into a fielder’s choice that saw Russo cut down at second but Galli moving up to third. With runners on the corners and two outs, Jared Pavey smacked a hard ground ball between third and short. Doyle was unable to come up with a clean backhanded scoop, and in his haste, threw the ball past the first baseman, allowing Galli to come in from third and Cole and Pavey to move to second and third.
Connor O’Brien stood in with a chance to make it 8-4 with a hit, but Caracciolo froze him with a 3-2 fastball and O’Brien was called out on strikes to end the game with an 8-2 final score.
The Brewers defeated the Loafers 8-1 on Tuesday, ending the Loafers’ season in a slump going 0-3-1 in their last four games.