Written by Jacob Ouellette
The Sanford Mainers returned home to Goodall Park facing elimination after falling to the Newport Gulls 14-2 the night before. However, the Mainers changed the momentum tonight, winning in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the tenth, 7-6.
The Gulls hit the board first in the top of the second when Steve Anderson lead off with a solo home run to right field to put them up 1-0. Jerry Ferris recovered and retired the next three hitters on two strike outs and a ground out.
Ferris had a stellar performance, pitching through six innings, allowing six hits, three runs (only two of them earned), walked two, and struck out a season single game team high twelve batters.
In the bottom of the third, the Mainers tied it up when Will Cooper hit a laser to left field for a solo home run, his first in the 2012 NECBL season.
The Gulls took the lead once again in the top of the fifth. Charlie White reached on a single up the middle that was fielded from Jose Torralba, but the throw was not able to be completed. White stole second and then came around to score when Jeff Melillo hit a ball to second base that Torralba misplayed, jumping the Gulls ahead 2-1.
The Mainers answered in the bottom of the fifth, and in a powerful way. Gavin Stark lead off the inning with a walk and immediately came home to score when John Gorman took the first pitch he saw and hit a moon-shot of a home run to left field that took the lead 3-2. Matt Horan responded in the same way, taking his first pitch to right field for a solo-home run. The Mainers were now up 4-2, but weren't finished. After Cooper and Jordan Hagel were retired, Anthony Hajjar hit a home run to right-center field extending the lead to 5-2. Jordan Betts liked the back-to-back home run performance earlier in the inning and decided to do it again as he took the first pitch he saw and blasted one into the trees in left field for the fourth home run of the inning.
Newport scraped away scoring once more in the sixth and twice in the eighth to bring the game within one. Steven Rice was on the mound for the Mainers in the top of the ninth for the three-inning save and to send the game back to Newport tomorrow night. However, White reached base on an error by Stark and then came all the way around from first to score on a double by Melillo that tied the game at six each.
The Mainers were unable to score in the bottom half of the ninth therefore entering extra innings. Evan Chamberlain came in to relief for Rice and fell behind early, walking Brett Winger to start things off. Matt Pare dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Winger up to second for the go ahead run in scoring position. During the next at bat, Joel McKeithan chopped a ball back to Chamberlain in which he turned and fired to third when Winger tried to advance. He then got Conor Keniry to ground out and end the inning.
In the bottom of the tenth Hagel flied out for the first out, but the offense pulled together. Hajjar singled to right after the ball hit off the diving glove of Winger. He then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Shortly after, Jordan Betts walked and joined Hajjar on the bases. With only one out the Mainers had the game winning run at second base. David Schmidt came into face Torralba, but hit him on the second pitch to load the bases. Caleb Kellogg came in to pitch after just two pitches thrown by Schmidt to face Nate LaPointe. With an 0-1 count, LaPointe chopped a ball up the middle just out of the reach of McKeithan and Blake Butera, allowing Hajjar to come in and score the game winning run.
The Mainers will travel to Newport in which both teams will now face elimination. The winner of tomorrow night's game will go on to the Eastern Division Championship series and face the New Bedford Bay Sox who defeated the Laconia Muskrats tonight to seal the sweep and move on.
Game time is slated for 6:35pm with the pregame show starting at 5:55pm.
Final Box Score
WP: Evan Chamberlain (2-2, 1-0) LP: Caleb Kellogg (3-1, 0-1) SV: None