By MIKE ALONGI
METHUEN — Pitching was a real issue for the Connery Post 6 American Legion baseball team on Thursday night as they fell to Methuen Post 122, 11-2, at Methuen High. Connery pitchers walked in five runs and walked 12 batters overall in the loss.
“It was just one of those days, we’ve all had them,” said Connery coach Doug Mullins. “We just couldn’t find the zone, couldn’t throw strikes. And sometimes walks are contagious from pitcher to pitcher, so we got off to a rough start and it continued throughout the game tonight.”
Connery (1-1) got off to a hot start and appeared ready to score a lot in this one. After Jackson Allard and Brandon Devin both singled in the top of the first and a groundout moved them to second and third, Tyler Donovan stepped into the box and laced a two-run single to right field to put Connery up 2-0. Donovan was able to move as far as third base before Methuen escaped the inning with no further damage.
“Things were lined up for a good day after that first half inning,” Mullins said. “It would’ve been nice to get a few more there, but it doesn’t matter much when you give up all those runs on the other side of the ball.”
In the bottom of the first Methuen responded, although the Methuen hitters didn’t have to do much at all. Starter Matt Stanley walked the first two batters and hit the third to load up the bases, then proceeded to walk in three consecutive runs to give Methuen a 3-2 lead. After a strikeout, Nick Ramirez stepped up and grounded into a 2-5 fielder’s choice to save a run. However, catcher Ryan Turenne made an errant throw trying to gun down Ramirez at third base and threw it into the outfield, bringing in two more runs and making it 5-2.
Post 122 added another run in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly from Owen Foote, then they brought out the dagger in the bottom of the third. Methuen once again loaded the bases up on two singles and a walk, then leadoff hitter Brett Blackwell connected on a three-run double into the gap in left-centerfield to blow the game open at 9-2.
Methuen was able to add two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, both on walks with the bases loaded, to put the score at 11-2.
Despite the tough game on Thursday, Mullins is happy with his group of guys this year and sees better days on the horizon.
“We have a strong group this year, a very solid team,” said Mullins. “I think we’ll be just fine in the long run, but at the end of the day we’ve got to take lessons from this loss and keep working to get better for the rest of the season. And I’m confident we can do that.”
Connery will go after redemption with another road game this evening against Newburyport Post 150 at 6 p.m.