MARBLEHEAD– Magicians baseball coach Mike Giardi knows there isn’t anything fancy about his pitching staff. Marblehead’s pitchers get the job done by attacking the strike zone and relying on their defense to make plays behind them.
Wednesday at Marblehead High, it was Chris Gally and Ben Brennan who paired up to keep English’s bats quiet in a 5-1 Magicians win.
Gally, the starter, allowed just two hits and struck out four over five innings. Brennan allowed one earned run on two hits in two innings of relief.
“Chris did a great job for us (Wednesday),” Giardi said. “At this time of the year, especially once you get into the tournament, there’s a fine line about how much you’re going to throw him, what situations you’re going to put him in. It couldn’t have been better. Chris ended right around 70 pitches. Then we got Ben in there for two innings. He kept them off balance, which was huge.
“Chris is really a hard thrower,” Giardi said. “Ben’s going to try and keep you off balance. He’s going to throw outs, as opposed to Chris who’s going to overpower you a little bit. It was a good combination for us.”
Marblehead’s big inning was the bottom of the fourth, when the Magicians struck through for four runs by cashing in on a pair of English errors.
“You can’t give anything away when you’re not hitting the ball,” English coach Doug Mullins said. “We gave things away early in the offensive end and I think that gave Marblehead some momentum. If we don’t do something on the offensive end, those errors hurt a lot more. We didn’t do enough to play (Wednesday). We didn’t compete hard enough.”
The Magicians tacked on the first run of the game in the bottom of the second. Schuyler Schmitt (1-for-2, two runs) singled to lead the inning and Brady Lavender (1-for-1) followed with a walk. An English error allowed Schmitt to cross home plate, giving Marblehead a 1-0 lead.
Schmitt, again, started Marblehead’s rally in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff walk. Schmitt advanced to second base on Lavender’s sac-bunt and scored on Aidan Michaud’s (1-for-3, RBI) RBI single. Godot Gaskins (1-for-4, RBI) added a RBI single and a pair of Bulldogs errors allowed the Magicians to stretch the lead to 5-0.
While Marblehead built its lead, the Bulldogs squandered their few opportunities. Juan Subervi (2-for-3, RBI) laced a double in the top of the second but Gally picked him off to end the inning. Julien Silvestrie drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth but Gally ended the threat thanks to a 9-3 double play.
“We had a couple big plays,” Giardi said. “We had that pickoff early in the game. We could see Chris starting to labor a little bit. We had that fly ball double play on the backdoor at first base. That’s when we knew that Chris had probably thrown enough and we could mix it up with Ben a little bit.”
Down to their last out, the Bulldogs found the board in the top of the seventh. Jose Morel (2-for-3, run) tripled and came home on Subervi’s RBI single to seal the scoring.
“Hitting is a contagious thing,” Mullins said. “You look at that last inning, we get a triple and all of the sudden our bench comes alive. We have to get going earlier. We tried to get going but we went through the motions. We showed up but we went through the motions. At some point we have to make a stand and be more competitive.”
English (12-7) hopes to avoid a three-game losing streak Thursday night (7) when the Bulldogs host Ipswich in their regular season finale.
Marblehead (11-7) hosts Salem Thursday (3:30) before closing the regular season Sunday (12) at Peabody.