LYNN– A complete-game by starting pitcher Luke Marshall helped the No. 7 Swampscott Sox defeat the No. 2 North Shore Phillies 4-2 in the deciding game of the first round of the North Shore Baseball League playoffs Thursday night at Breed Middle School.
The win advances Swampscott to a second round best-of-seven series against the No. 1 Peabody Champions.
Marshall threw seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out six and walking two.
“That’s the longest Marshall has gone for us all year,” Swampscott manager Joe Caponigro said. “We’ve been using him mostly in relief. He pitched very well for Swampscott High School this year. He hasn’t extended in a game for us, he’s probably only gone three innings tops.
“A couple of our top pitchers were hurt and he stepped in and did a tremendous job,” Caponigro added. “I can’t say enough about how he competed and hit his spots. He was throwing a fastball, curveball and change-up for strikes and throwing them at anytime in the count. Their hitters had no shot to get comfortable.”
At the plate the Sox were led by Esteban Paula (1-for-2 with 2 walks and 1 RBI) who hit a home run to leadoff the game. Clemente Parra (1-for-4 with 1 RBI) and Brian Maynard (0-for-3 with a walk and 1 RBI) also drove in one run each.
The Phillies were unable to get hits when they needed them, leaving five runners in scoring position.
“We’re feeling down right now,” Phillies manager Chris Carroll said. “We finished with the two seed had a good regular season and didn’t end the season the way we wanted to. Our bats got cold at the wrong time.
“Just overall in the series they had a few more timely hits than us,” Carroll added. “We couldn’t get the timely hitting, left a lot of guys on base and unfortunately we lost the series.”
Paula got things started early for the Sox with a home run to left-center to start the first inning.
“I think when that happens it certainly gets the guys into the game right away,” Caponigro said of Paula’s home run. “Esteban is a spark plug, he’s been our leader for a number of years and he’s a terrific ball player.”
The Sox added another run later in the inning when Donnie Weisse, who reached on a single, scored on an errant throw to take a 2-0 lead.
The Phillies added a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning. Kurtis White and Brendan Greene both singled to start the inning. Jonathan Rodriguez then brought White home on a RBI single to the cut the lead to 2-1.
In the third inning, Swampscott added to its lead. Parra hit an infield single and Maynard grounded out, both driving in runs to extend the lead to 4-1 for the Sox.
Marshall cruised through the Phillies’ lineup in the middle innings, only allowing one hit total through the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Phillies found some life in the seventh with their season on the line. Mike Griffin and Mike Lamothe both reached base with two outs. Dan Duval then hit a RBI single to cut the lead to 4-2. With the winning run at the plate Marshall battled back to force a ground out to cap Swampscott’s 4-2 victory.