LYNN– English baseball coach Doug Mullins has preached full seven-inning efforts to his team all season. Saturday afternoon in the Clancy Tournament consolation game, his Bulldogs gave him a strong nine-inning effort.
It took extras in a back-and-forth battle with St. Mary’s but the Bulldogs, behind a five-run rally in the top of the ninth, claimed a 7-2 win at Fraser Field.
“This shows the heart these kids have,” Mullins said. “We talked about it yesterday. I knew they’d come back and fight. Today they played a complete game. It shows how hard they work.”
“It wasn’t a good weekend,” St. Mary’s coach Derek Dana said. “I told our guys that English was still hungry and they’d come down to play.”
Both starting pitchers provided solid efforts. English’s Jomar Moreta tossed seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and tallied six strikeouts.
“It was only Jomar’s second start of the season,” Mullins said. “He throws the ball well. He’s our shortstop. It’s tough taking him out of that position but he threw the ball well. He kept it down and threw both pitches for strikes.”
Jared Coppola took the mound for the Spartans and allowed two runs on five hits in his six innings of work.
“Our pitchers did a great job,” Dana said. “Jared gave us another great start. Colin (Reddy) came in and did a nice job. They kept us in it but we have to make more plays. We have to compete a lot better at the plate.”
After English went down scoreless in the top of the first, the Spartans claimed the lead in the bottom half. Colin Reddy (2-for-4, walk) kicked off the rally with a single and advanced to second on a sac-bunt. Anthony Nikolakakis (1-for-4, RBI, walk) plated Reddy with a RBI single, giving St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead.
That’s how it stayed until the top of the fourth when English applied a small ball play of its own. Briston Maynard (2-for-3, walk) led the inning with a walk and took second on Juan Subervi’s groundout to Spartans shortstop Lee Pacheco. Billy Allen (4-for-5, RBI) singled, moving Maynard to third. Andy Duverge led a perfect suicide-squeeze, scoring Maynard with the tying run.
St. Mary’s reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth- without a base hit. Josh Mateo drew a two-out walk and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Mateo sprinted home on a wild pitch, giving the Spartans a 2-1 edge.
Showing no quit, English knotted things up again in the top of the sixth. Again, Maynard led the rally-this time lacing a single to start the inning. Allen roped a RBI double to deep center, plating Maynard.
“Briston’s the leader of our team,” Mullins said. “He’s been one of the best defensive first basemen and he’s a great hitter as well. This weekend, he got hot. He led the charge and got us going.”
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth but English escaped the jam with a 1-2-4 double play.
Things fell apart for St. Mary’s in the top of the ninth. A pair of walks and an error allowed English to load the bases with no outs. Moreta scored Erick Ubri with the go-ahead run on a RBI single, giving English a 3-2 lead. A Spartans error on a Maynard ground ball granted English another run, and Juan Subervi plated two more with a two-RBI single. Maynard raced home on a wild pitch to seal the rally, giving the Bulldogs a 7-2 lead.
“We gave up a few walks, we didn’t move our feet when we threw the ball, we didn’t catch the ball,” Dana said. “We talked about it before the game. If you let a team hang around, they start making plays.”
Devin Curley, who tossed the final two innings in relief, allowed a single to Kyle Ouellette but a comeback wasn’t in the cards for St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s has two games next week, Wednesday at Williams and Thursday against Winchester, before the state tournament.
“Our pitchers battled out there today,” Dana said. “I thought Anthony Bono (3-for-4) had an excellent Clancy Tournament.
“We’re going to reset this,” Dana added.”It’s not what we were looking for out of the weekend. We’ll get back to work on Monday.”