ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
John Torres slides safely into third base in the 10th inning.
By MIKE ALONGI
SAUGUS — It may have taken 12 innings and a full week to finish, but the Danvers baseball team finally came up with a timely hit to sneak past Saugus, 2-1, in a tightly contested matchup at World Series Park Tuesday afternoon.
The game was a continuation from May 9 and went nine innings with the score tied 1-1 before it was postponed due to darkness.
“It was big to finally get a key hit,” said Danvers coach Roger Day. “We had so many chances in the nine-inning game last week and then more chances today, so we needed to capitalize on one of them.”
The big hit came from centerfielder Jordan DeDonato, who smacked a line-drive RBI double with two outs to left field to give Danvers the lead in the top of the 12th. The inning started off with Tommy Mento reaching on an error before Matt Andreas moved him over with a bunt and Zach Dillon struck out. Then, with two outs, DeDonato worked a full count before lining a ball down the line in left to bring in Mento.
“Luckily for us we were able to get a big two-out hit, which we haven’t had many of this year, so that was great,” said Day. “We had to move guys to second to give ourselves some chances, and we were able to make some big plays when we had to on both sides of the ball.”
The win didn’t come without a fight, as both teams moved at least one runner to third base in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. The Falcons came out and got runners to second and third with two outs in the 10th, but Saugus pitcher Todd Tringale worked out of the inning by forcing a groundout. Saugus then moved runners to first and third with two outs in the bottom of the 10th before Danvers pitcher Dean Borders notched a strikeout to escape.
Danvers once again got a runner to third with two outs in the 11th, but the Sachems escaped unscathed after Tringale made an impressive barehanded play on a comebacker to the mound and the score remained at 1-1.
Saugus’ best chance for a win came in the bottom of the 11th, when a walk to Steve Ruggiero and an infield single by Justin Horvath put runners on first and second with no outs. The rally was slowed when Borders picked the runner off second, but a walk to the next batter and then a passed ball placed runners on second and third with two outs. Then, after throwing one pitch to Saugus second baseman Mike Mabee, Borders was forced to leave the game with an injury, forcing Justin Roberto into the game. Roberto responded with a big strikeout to get Danvers out of the jam.
The Sachems had one more chance to get that elusive tying run in the bottom of the 12th, moving runners to first and second with two outs, but Roberto worked his way out of the jam once again to give the Falcons the win.
Danvers (13-2) takes on Swampscott tonight.
For Saugus (6-8), the mantra is clear: win four of the next six and get into the tournament. It won’t be easy though, as the Sachems will play four more games over the next five days.
“We just have to get into the tournament,” said Saugus coach Joe Luis. “All we can do here is take this as a learning experience and keep pushing. We’ve got a tough stretch coming up here and pitching will be key, but we’ve just got to take it one game at a time.”
Saugus will play against Salem this afternoon.