DANVERS — It took 10 full innings but the No. 11 St. Mary’s baseball team survived after giving up a four-run lead to come back and beat No. 6 Danvers, 8-5, in extra innings to open up the Division 2 North tournament at Twi Field Thursday. The Spartans took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh before Danvers rallied to tie, but it was Anthony Bono’s RBI double in the top of the 10th that gave the Spartans the eventual winning run.
“We talked about it all week since we found out we’d be playing Danvers, we knew we had to be on our toes on the basepaths and in the field,” said St. Mary’s coach Derek Dana. “I liked the way we came out and started, but the biggest thing we talked about was finishing. We couldn’t finish it in the seventh, but we also didn’t give up, we stuck together and came up with the big plays in the end.”
Bono finished the game 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Kyle Ouellette (1-for-3) and Josh Mateo (1-for-5) each had two RBI for the Spartans. John Mulready (3-for-5) also contributed an RBI. Colin Reddy went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot.
For Danvers, Zach Dillon (1-for-5) led the way with two RBI. Teddy Vaillancourt (2-for-4), Tommy Mento (2-for-6) and Bryce Ruest (0-for-5) each had one RBI.
Colin Reddy led off the game with an infield single before getting sacrificed to second base. After he advanced to third on a passed ball, Mulready stepped in and knocked him home with a RBI single. Anthony Nikolakakis followed with a walk and Lee Pacheco singled to load the bases, then Danvers starter Justin Roberto committed a balk that brought home a run, making it 2-0.
St. Mary’s added to that lead in the top of the third thanks to a two-run single from Mateo to make it 4-0. A walk and a stolen base put men on first and third, and Mateo came home to score on a perfectly executed double steal to put St. Mary’s up 5-0.
On the other side of the ball, Spartans starter Bobby Alcock was rolling on the mound. He took a no-hitter into the bottom of the third, but then got into a bit of trouble. The inning started off with a walk, the Falcons’ first base runner of the game. An errant pickoff attempt allowed the runner to advance all the way to third, where he was then knocked home by a RBI groundout from Ruest to make it 5-1. Two batters later, Mento broke up the no-no with an infield single.
The score stayed there until the bottom of the seventh. The Falcons loaded the bases with one out for Mento, who came through with a RBI single to keep the rally alive. Next up was Dillon, who followed with a two-run double to all of a sudden cut the deficit to just one run at 5-4. Danvers then loaded the bases again for Vaillancourt, and he came through as well. Vaillancourt laced a RBI single into right field, but a great throw from Bono gunned down the would-be winning run at home and sent the game to extras. That was also the end of the night for Alcock.
“He was outstanding, Bobby’s done that all year long,” Dana said. “You can’t ever say you deserve a win, but he pitched well enough to get one tonight and I wish we could’ve closed it for him.”
Pacheco came in to pitch the final three innings for St. Mary’s but not without some tension. Danvers loaded the bases in both the eighth and ninth innings, but each time Pacheco worked his way out of the jam unscathed.
“This is Lee’s first year on the mound with me, but he started every game last year at shortstop and played in big games,” said Dana. “He doesn’t let the big moments get to him.”
Then came the top of the 10th. The Spartans moved runners to first and second for Bono, who rocketed an RBI double down the right field line to put St. Mary’s up 6-5. Two batters later, Ouellette added some insurance with a two-run single.
That momentum carried right over into the bottom of the 10th, as Pacheco retired the side in order to give St. Mary’s the win.
Next up for the Spartans (14-7) is another tough test in No. 3 Beverly in the quarterfinal round Monday (4).
“Coach (Dave) Wilbur does an outstanding job and the team is well-respected, so we’re going to have to be ready to go,” said Dana. “We’ll get together a game plan, and it’ll be ‘all hands on deck’ for us on the mound.”