(Ipswich MA) If there is such a thing as a hitters’ duel this was it.
Both Manchester-Essex and Ipswich took plenty of good hacks but it was the Hornets coming away with a 10-9 win on a warm Thursday afternoon.
The Hornets (4-12) took the lead with a 3-run first inning and never trailed. The Tigers (3-12) were within a run with two runners on in both the 6th and 7th innings. ME sophomore reliever Brad Graves got Austin Rubino to pop out to the catcher ending the 6th while junior closer Craig Carter got an infield grounder from Erik Gongas to finish the game.
Today’s game was the last home game for six Ipswich seniors (Jon O’Brien, Erik Gongas, Freddy Cerendolo, Austin Rubino, Ryan Silva and Sean Whooley) and they were recognized by Coach Gardy O’Flynn before the game.
Manchester-Essex jumped into a 7-2 lead after two innings thanks primarily to Hunter Flood. The ME sophomore drove across two in the first with a single and three in the second with a homer over the leftfield fence.
Ipswich had eleven hits off of Hornets starter (and winner) Mike Loebelenz through five innings. But the Tigers were never able to get more than two runs in any inning despite all the solid raps and trailed 9-7 after five.
The biggest run in the game was the Hornets’ tenth run. The crucial insurance run came in the 7th inning. Brandon Bartlett walked and pinchrunner Chris Carr stole second. Liam Logue’s two-out single through the left side of the IHS infield brought Chris home.
Senior Sean Whooley had four hits and two rbi in his last game on Mile Lane for Ipswich.
Sophomore Alex Morris also had two rbi to go with three hits.
The good crowd on hand saw a very bizarre second inning. After Sean Whooley singled, Mike Savoie grounded to third. ME third baseman Kevin Carter threw wide to second but Sean didn’t realize he was safe. So as he’s jogging off he’s suddenly caught in a rundown between 2B and 3B. No sooner did Sean get tagged out when Mike Savoie is caught in a rundown between 1B and 2B. Fortunately for Mike, the ME rundown ended with a throw into the woods by catcher Dom Cirone that allowed Mike to reach third.
Dom Cirone paced the Hornets scoring three times and getting three hits. Hunter Flood and Ethan Ketchum each had two hits. The ME hit total reached twelve off of IHS starter Ryan Silva and reliever Austin Rubino.
ME rightfielder Chuck Otterbein made a terrific running catch on Freddy Cerendolo’s drive in the gap in the third inning.
Manchester-Essex still has a chance to get into the Division 4 post-season tournament. Only the Hornets games versus D4 opponents count toward making the post-season. The Hornets have three games left with D4 opposition (Cristo Rey, Georgetown, and Rockport). ME has to win two of those games to qualify. It’ll be tough since the Hornets have already lost to Cristo Rey and Georgetown this season.
The Tigers defeated ME, 12-3, in an earlier meeting.
Today’s winning pitcher (senior Mike Loebelenz) also had victories over Triton and Hamilton-Wenham this season.
Weather? Comfortably warm with clouds showing up to cool things a bit.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)