(Rowley) Records are elusive in the Intertown Twilight League and no one appeared sure of when the last Rowley ITL championship was. However, there is certainty that the Rams are the 2011 ITL champs.
The #1 seed Rams (18-5-2) completed a 3-game sweep of the #2 seed Rockport Townies (14-10) on gorgeous Wednesday night, 5-2, at Eiras Field in Rowley.
The only moisture I noticed on this night was dripping off Ram manager Jeff Wood afterwards as he and the contents of a fluid container connected just as he was underway with his team with post-game congratulations.
There was plenty to like about the way Rowley played in the championship game. They got a complete game seven hitter from righty Mike Sloban. They were flawless in the field turning 6-4-3 double plays in the sixth and seventh. They took advantage of Rockport lapses in the field for three of their five runs.
Mike Sloban (Pentucket & UMassLowell) escaped two, one-out, first-and-third jams getting two of his four strikeouts in those situations.
The Rams made all the plays in the field. The short (Jordan Silva) to second (Anthony Conte) to first (Dave Smith) double plays in the 6th and 7th kept the Townies away from any ideas of late-game heroics.
Rockport opened the scoring in the second as Chuck Anderson’s infield hit scored Mike Emerson, who had doubled and gone to third on a fielder’s choice to give Rockport an early 1-0 lead.
Rowley took the lead for good (2-1) in the bottom of the second. Rockport messed up a rundown play between home and third and instead of being an out Marco Luisi would later tally the Rams second run. Three walks by Rockport starter Brett Smith contributed to the Ram opportunities in this inning. Anthony Conte got credit for an RBI when he walked. Andrew Fecteau brought in the other run with a sacrifice fly.
In the third, Ralph Renzulli reached on shortstop Derek Osmond’s throwing error and later scored Rowley’s third run on Marco Luisi’s single to right. Also in the third, Townie starter Brett Smith had trouble with a blister and Derek Osmond relieved him.
In the fourth Rockport got a run back. Dan Greel doubled to right and reached third on a sacrifice fly by Mike Emerson. Connor Ressel’s single through the drawn in Ram infield produced the score.
With the lead cut to 3-2, Anthony Conte took second in the bottom of the 4th inning after Kurt Koerth’s bobble in right field of his single. Kyle McElroy reached the base of the left field fence and Anthony was home with Rowley’s fourth run.
Mike Sloban shut down the Townies the rest of the way. He pitched out of a first-and-third jam in the fourth and had double plays behind him in the 6th and 7th.
Rowley added their fifth and final run in the fifth inning. Andrew Fecteau ripped a two-strike single to center and two Derek Osmond wild pitches later was on third. Jordan Silva’s liner to center dropped off Tom Robertson’s glove and Andrew scored.
The Rams had to defeat the perennial iron (Manchester-Essex & Rockport) of the ITL to win the title. You had to go back to 2000 to find a team (Ipswich) other than those two to win the league.
Nick Curcuru in the Gloucester Times wrote a couple of days ago that the last Rowley title was in 1979. No matter, no one at this game seemed to remember it. It probably felt like 1929 (ITL’s founding year) to the Rowley fans! Manager Jeff Wood related that the Rams didn’t win a single game five years ago and he related that information like someone who had been there.
Jordan Silva, Mike Sloban, and Dave Smith are all on the UMassLowell baseball roster.
Last time I saw Marco Luisi he was hitting two homers against Newburyport in 2009 in the North title game for Georgetown.
The last time I saw Anthony Conte he was playing soccer for Georgetown against Hamilton-Wenham in the North finals.
Brock Currier led Rockport with three hits. Teammate Chuck Anderson had two hits.
Dave Smith (Amesbury) paced Rowley with two hits. Anthony Conte, Marco Luisi, and Andrew Fecteau each had a hit, an RBI, and scored a run.
(I keep my own stats and take my own pictures. Mistakes are unintended. Use of any of the pictures elsewhere is fine with me as long as credit is given. All of the pictures in this post will enlarge if you click on them. Enjoy!)