SWAMPSCOTT — Led by nine dominant innings from pitcher Corey Bleau, the No. 7 seed Swampscott Sox defeated the No. 2 seed North Shore Phillies, 2-1, in Game One of a first round best-of-three North Shore Baseball League playoff series Tuesday night at Swampscott Middle School.
Bleau kept the Sox in the extra-inning game from start to finish, allowing no earned runs on seven hits while striking out six.
“I can’t say enough about Corey Bleau,” Swampscott manager Joe Caponigro said. “He’s been pitching that way for us all year. He didn’t want to come out of the game, he threw around 100 pitches but that’s not bad for nine innings.”
The Sox totaled six hits on the night, scoring both runs off infield errors. Estaban Paula (1-for-4) scored the Sox first run. Clemente Parra (1-for-4) singled in the ninth and pinch-runner Erik Fields scored the winning run.
“We have had seven games where we have been on the other end of one-run games and this one went our way luckily,” Caponigro said. “In baseball sometimes you have to get lucky and we were a little bit lucky tonight but our pitcher kept us in the game.”
For the Phillies, Dan Duval was also dominant, pitching seven innings while allowing no earned runs on three hits and striking out seven.
The Phillies got on the board first in the third inning. After Kurtis White reached base on an infield error, Mike Griffin (2-for-4 with 1 RBI) drove him in on a RBI double for a 1-0 lead.
Swampscott tied the game in its half of the third. Paula laced a two-out double and scored after an infield error on a ground ball hit by Donnie Weisse to tie the game 1-1.
For the next four innings, both pitchers controlled the game backed by solid defense on both sides, bringing the game into extras.
The Sox loaded the bases in the eighth inning with one out. However, reliever Mario Padovani forced a ground ball and fly ball to get the Phillies out of the inning.
In the ninth inning the Sox were able to get runners on again thanks to back-to-back singles by Parra and Brian Maynard. The next batter, Richie Arias, hit a hard ground ball to third which, after an errant throw, brought home Fields to score the winning run for Swampscott.
“We’ve battled all year and had some tough losses but they were losses,” Caponigro said. “We’ve been talking about how this is a whole new slate, everything is clean now and you just have to play one game at a time. The biggest game of the season was tonight and we were lucky enough to come out on top.”
After taking a 1-0 series lead the Sox are one game away from moving on while the Phillies must win two tilts to advance.
The two teams play again Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Breed Middle School.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Caponigro said. “The two games we played against them in the regular season they beat us 2-1 both times and this was a one-run game. They’re going to be ready to play we just have to be ready to take a punch and be ready and see what happens.”
The Peabody Champions also took a 1-0 series lead in their best-of-three against Manchester. The highlight of the game was a no-hitter tossed by Peabody’s Tyler Leavitt.