While the Mustangs remain undefeated at 17-0, they did face a formidable challenge this week in the Burtons squad who took them seven innings and scored 19 in the loss. The middle of the pack remains exciting as CSA won twice this week and pulled secret weapon, Thanh Nguyen, off the reserve list for their season ending drive. PST with six wins currently has the final playoff spot but Drew Farms and CSA are right behind with five and four wins respectively. Important and impactful matchups this week include Drew Farms facing Healy Oil, Willis Tent versus Short Cuts, and Burtons squaring off against former teammate Nguyen and CSA.
Opening night of the second half began with a tight game between PST and Burton Grill ending in an 11-9 win for the PST squad. PST led the whole way but never by enough to be comfortable. Burtons kept it close including a four run seventh inning and making their final out with the winning Burton run at the plate. Mark Urlage led off the game for PST with a homerun and made several big catches in the outfield. Urlage also started a relay that cut down a Burtons runner at the plate saving a run late in the game. PST veteran Jerry Cressman hit a grand slam in the third to key a six run inning that would ultimately mean a big difference in the game. Donald Slate led off the sixth with a homerun to key a four run inning that gave PST some room for error, needed in the end. Jeff Fuller of PST also contributed a two run double and Jeremy Joyce drove in a run with a two-out single. Derek Donegan, 3-3, and Merrimack College scholar Dave Chirokas, 2-2 with a walk, were both on base all night. Chirokas also sent a mix of pitches to the plate which kept the Burtons hitters guessing on what was coming next. Burtons hitting was led by Dave Batchelder, 3-3 including a homerun and two runs scored, Murph McKeon 3-3, one RBI, two runs scored and an assist on a throw to the plate to John Geary to end a PST inning. Geary and Arkansas farmhand Jerod Colley both went 2-2 with two RBI. Greg Fitzgerald went 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored to keep Burtons close. Other key contributions included a Kieran Murray throw to get a PST runner at third and possibly the best catch of the year on a screaming line drive by Burton’s Eric Cataline. Cataline also tagged up from second on a fly ball and continues to show rookie of the year credentials.
Over the last few seasons Burtons has proven a formidable challenge to the dominant Mustangs team taking them into six extra innings one game and handing them their only loss in a prior seasons. While the Mustangs won last night, Burtons fought back from a 19-4 deficit to lose just 23-19. Burtons turned a couple of double plays and had great hitting from several spots in the lineup. First year player Charlie Chungo hit a grand slam, Gerry Breen 4-4, two homeruns, three RBI and four runs scored. Dave Batchelder had another homerun, Eric Cataline 4-4, Jon Russo with a homerun, and lefty Luke Boulanger 2-4, a double and two runs scored. Chris Brooks, recovering from an injury playing off-season football, came in to pitch in a clutch relief appearance. Billy “Blastoff” Knute led the potent Mustang attack with three long homerun blasts, seven RBI, and four runs scored in the slugfest victory over the much improved Burtons squad. Paul Selfrige, 3-4, HR, two RBI, three runs, and Jack Erickson, 3-4, HR, three RBI, three runs, set the table at the top of the Mustang order for Knute and Don Cusano, two hits, BB, homerun, two RBI, three runs. Cormac Bordes and Mike Kennedy added three hits apiece, while Paul Ligouri and Sean Morgan each had three RBI and three runs scored, and Craig Smith chipped in with two hits. Kennedy and Selfrige played excellent defense on the left side of the Mustang infield. It is worth noting that 19 runs was the most scored by any team against the Mustangs this season.
Drew’s took an early, but small, lead which held through the first five innings. In the sixth, CSA Graphics stormed ahead behind the offense of CSA’s secret weapon for the game, Thanh Nguyen. “T”, playing in his first game of the year, off the reserves list, went three for three on the night with solo and three-run home runs, and five RBI. Jim DeMarco also had a two run homerun in the sixth to help push CSA into the lead. In the top of the seventh, CSA threatened again, loading the bases with T coming to plate. Drew Farm’s proceeded to take the a time-out to discuss their options on the mound, choosing to intentionally walk T (and give up a run). This plan back-fired when Mike Cioffi followed with grand slam, putting the game out of reach for Drew’s.
CSA Graphics 28 – Willis Tent 27
A classic slugfest. After Willis posted six runs in the first inning, CSA hit fourteen singles to counter with nine runs. After the string of singles in the first inning, CSA settled for a couple solo home runs in the second from Matt Sepe, 4 for 4 on the night with two home runs and Bill Cullen, 3 for 5 on the night. After Willis managed to begin pulling away with high-scoring innings, CSA chipped-away, scoring in each inning of the game, scoring three in the third and two more in the fourth. CSA made their big move in the fifth inning, scoring seven behind the big bat of Mike Cioffi who hit his second home run of the game. After four more runs in the sixth inning, Willis bounced back to tie the game in the top of the 7th. After a couple quick outs, Mike Cioffi completed his big night with a walk off solo homerun, going 5 for 5 with three home runs and six RBI on the night. Every CSA player had at least one hit and one RBI in the game, as the team scored in each inning for the first time this season. Notable contributions for Willis were: Rick Devanna going 4 for 5 with four singles, Brian Gallardo going 4 for 5 with two singles and two homeruns, Kevin Adolph 3 for 5 with three singles and Andrew Metters also 3 for 5 with a single, a double and a homerun. Stephen Damiani aided the Willis effort with a homerun as well.
Drew Farms 23- Floral Arts 13
Drew Farms drew first blood and was relentless thereafter, getting timely hits, extending rallies, and finding the gaps. Drew’s third baseman Pat [last name] made two great stabbing plays on hard hit balls. Both teams hit seven home runs. Homering for Floral were Simon Tripp, Frank Lancelotta, Mike Alonardo, Ryan Dunn, Rob Beaudette, and Geoff Pavao. Fleet-footed Chad Kirby turned in another solid defensive effort in the outfield, and second baseman Mark Chambers dove for and gobbled up seven ground balls heading for the middle. Drew’s Kirk C. went 5-5 with two dingers, Jim Scanlon 5-6, also with two homeruns, Joe Welch five hits, Rich Rago and Blake Buxton four hits each. Bill Farhety’s returned from retirement with a single, double, and a sacrifice fly in the big win.
Nashoba Valley Veterinary Mustangs 25- Pro Sports Therapy 2
PST’s first two batters of the game reached base, but Mustangs’ first basemen Cormac Bordes changed the momentum by making the play of the night diving to his left to catch a bullet grounder and from his back flipped to pitcher Paul Ligouri for the out to help stop the early rally. Bordes added three hits, including a homer and three RBI to aide Liguori’s victory on the mound. The Mustangs’ offense was led by Mike Kennedy, 4-4, two homeruns, five RBI, three runs scored, Paul Selfrige, 5-5, homerun, three RBI, four runs. Bill Knute, 4-4, HR, four RBI, four runs scored. Mark Cusano, 4-4, homerun, five RBI, three runs scored, and Don Cusano, 3 hits, homerun, three RBI, three runs scored. Jack Erickson added three hits and four runs scored from his second spot in the Mustang order. Selfrige turned two infield double plays from his shortstop position to lead the Mustang defense. For PST, Donald Slate continued his hot streak by hitting a two run homerun to break up the shut out. Dave Chirokas also had a 2-2 night for PST.
Short Cuts Landscaping 14 – Pro Sports Therapy 8
Short Cuts jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first and put up two more in the 2nd and it looked like it would be cruise control to a run rule win. But PST broke through in the 3rd with four runs, powered by two run homeruns by Derek Donegan and Ben Armstrong. From there, it was a much more competitive game. PST got close with THREE more in the 5th, but three in the bottom of the 6th from SCL put it away. For PST, Armstrong led the offense going 3-4 with two doubles and the homerun.
Nashoba Valley Veterinary Mustangs 23 – Drew Farms 11
Down only 12-10 after five innings Drew Farms held out hope that this might be an upset in the making over the undefeated Mustangs. However, it would end 23-11 as the Mustangs turned it on in the final two innings while shutting down the Drew’s offense. Mike Kennedy hit three homeruns and had five RBI, Mark Cusano, two homeruns and three RBI. Paul Selfrige 5-5, a homerun, three RBI and four runs scored, Bill Knute 4-5, another homerun and two runs scored. Sean Morgan three hits and two runs scored and Jay Lincoln three hits and a bomb over the fence.
Good infield defense by Paul Ligouri and Bill Knute threw out another runner at the plate from left field for the Mustangs. Drew’s Pat Pawlak, 2-4 with two homeruns, Rob Oneal and Scott Cole were both 3-4. Todd Shepherd went 3-3 with two homeruns and flashed the leather playing third base for the first time in thirteen years. Tome Millante also hit well going 2-4 in the Drew’s effort.