Pitching and defense propel Swampscott Sox past Saugus Wings

Sox pitcher Luke Marshall threw four innings in Monday's win. (Photo by Joe Brown)

SAUGUS — The Swampscott Sox rode a solid start from pitcher Luke Marshall to a 6-1 win over the Saugus Wings in a North Shore Baseball League matchup at World Series Park Monday.

Defense and some clutch situational pitching were the difference for the Sox. Saugus loaded the bases twice but Swampscott escaped each jam without allowing a run. Marshall threw four innings, allowing one run on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Cory Bleau closed the last two innings, allowing three hits and recording two strikeouts.

“Luke threw a really good game for us,” Sox manager Joe Caponigro said. “He got into some trouble and threw a lot of pitches but we got out of them. I think they had bases loaded two times but we were able to spin a couple double plays. He wasn’t going to go the distance anyway. We wanted to get Cory some work too.”

At the plate, Kyle O’Connor (1-for-2, HBP, walk) had a clutch two-run double to start a five-run third inning. Alberto Torres (walk, sacrifice fly) and Wilber Rosario (1-for-2, walk) each had one RBI. Brian Maynard scored a pair of runs.

Saugus struggled to get the big hits it needed despite taking an early 1-0 lead. Mike Mabee (RBI) and Steve DiBlasi (run) led the offense.

Both teams loaded the bases in the first but neither capitalized. A double from Joey Bramanti sandwiched between a pair of walks got the Wings started but Marshall settled down and recorded a pair of strikeouts to get out of the jam.

An error on a ground ball from DiBlasi and a single from Dawson Gaudet put runners on for the Wings again in the second. Mabee laced a single to plate DiBlasi and give Saugus a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take Swampscott long to answer. Esteban Paula and Joe Kasper walked to start the third and O’Connor laced a double to left-center, putting the Sox ahead 2-1. Things started to snowball from there. Another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for Torres who plated O’Connor on a sacrifice fly. A passed ball plated Maynard later in the inning and Rosario tacked on another RBI hit to stretch Swampscott’s lead to 5-1. 

A pair of walks and a single from Gaudet gave Saugus another bases loaded opportunity in the fourth. Bramanti laced a fly ball to left but Maynard was there to make the play and threw a runner out at the plate to get Swampscott out of the jam.

Maynard kept the momentum going after reaching on an error in the fifth, moving to third on another error and scoring on a passed ball to give the Sox a 6-1 lead.

From there it was a matter of closing things out with Bleau on the mound. Bleau allowed a pair of hits in the fifth but his defense spun a 4-6-3 double play to get him out of the jam. 

Another single and a walk put a pair of runners on for the Wings in the sixth but Bleau fanned his last two batters to seal the win.

Swampscott, now 14-8 on the season, has two scheduled games remaining in the regular season. The Sox are focused on maintaining their momentum as they gear up for the postseason, which begins this weekend. 

“We have a game Tuesday night at Swampscott (vs. North Shore Storm, 6),” Caponigro said. “Supposedly we may not have to play Wednesday (vs. Manchester Marlins, 6). It could not mean anything with seeding and then it’s playoffs Friday. Hopefully we get some momentum going into the playoffs.”

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