PAWTUCKET --- Mount St. Charles needed to weave a little two-out magic to pull this Division II-North victory out of its hat.
Down by three runs with two runners on base and two gone in the top of the sixth inning of their duel with Tolman, the Mounties strung together four hits in a row to knock in as many runs and end up with a 4-3 win on Wednesday afternoon at Slater Park.
The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the first and once in the second off MSC starter Kevin Valentine, but the junior righty blanked Tolman the rest of the way to keep his team within striking distance of its host.
â€śTolman jumped out to a 3-0 lead and we were in trouble,â€ť said Mount head coach Tom Seaver, whose ballclub is 2-0. â€śBut to our pitcherâ€™s credit, Kevin Valentine sucked it up and pitched a great game, and we came back.â€ť
The Mounties didnâ€™t have many answers for Tolman starter Richie Marshall for most of the afternoon, as Marshall held them to one hit through the first five innings and had just one batted ball reach the outfield grass.
But Mountâ€™s fortunes changed in the sixth.
A walk to Valentine and a fielderâ€™s choice grounder by Nolan Hayward had runners on first and second for Mike Dixon, who promptly lined a single to right-center to not only drive in Valentine, but halt a scoreless inning streak by Marshall that reached 11 2/3 innings.
Hayward went to third on the single and sped home on an infield hit by Tate Laquerre, and Alex Lataille then followed with another sharp single to right to plate Dixon with the tying run and fire up the Mountiesâ€™ bench.
The Mountiesâ€™ excitement grew a few pitches later when Justin Dâ€™Abrosca drove in Laquerre with the go-ahead run with a line single that sailed over the head of second baseman Vicente Noriega and fell into right field.
â€śYou knew Mount was going to make a run,â€ť remarked Tolman coach Theo Murray. â€śYou have to tip your hat to them. They were hitting the ball pretty well, and they came through and did what they had to do.â€ť
The Tigers (1-2) scored their two runs in the first on a line single down the right-field line by Ricky Bourdreau that scored Steven Otis and a wild pitch (one of three in the game by Valentine) that plated another run.
After a two-out RBI single to right by Anthony DiBiasio drove in Otis in the second, the Tigers tried to add to their lead in the third by putting runners in scoring position with one gone, but Valentine retired the next two batters he faced.
Valentine, who scattered eight hits in the game, gave up just three in the last four innings and didnâ€™t allow a runner to advance past first. He also struck out eight batters and walked three.
â€śMountâ€™s a good team, and my thought was we had to score five or six runs today to win this game,â€ť said Murray. â€śI said that to my kids when we were up 3-0. I told them 3-0 would not be the final score. We had opportunities to score later in the game, but we didnâ€™t capitalize on them.â€ť
Marshall, meanwhile, also gave the Mounties fits in the early going and set down the first nine batters he faced, but the Mounties looked to turn things around in their second trip through the lineup.
In the fourth, Marshall walked a pair of batters and gave up a line single to right to Valentine to load the bases with no outs. But after he came back to strike out the next batter he faced, he squirmed off the hook with a double-play grounder.
In the fifth, back-to-back infield errors by Tolman put runners at the corners with no one out and had Mount threatening again. But Dâ€™Abrosca lined out sharply to Otis at shortstop, who quickly fired the ball to third to double off the runner there, and a groundout by the next batter ended the inning.
â€śMarshall had us at the beginning of the game,â€ť Seaver noted of the Tolman righty, who yielded six hits and three walks and struck out five in six innings of work. â€śIt didnâ€™t look like we would ever get to him.â€ť
Both teams are back in action on Friday at 3:45 p.m. with the Tigers hosting Ponaganset at McCoy Stadium and the Mounties facing nearby Smithfield in a game slated on the Mountiesâ€™ campus, but could be moved to the Sentinelsâ€™ diamond if Mountâ€™s field is still deemed unfit for action.
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