PROVIDENCE — For the second time in less than a week, Moses Brown dealt Cumberland a difficult one-run defeat.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, Thursday afternoon’s 3-2 loss at the Quakers’ McCulloch Field proved to be a lot tougher to swallow – it eliminated them from the Division I playoffs.
A two-out infield miscue by the Clippers in the home half of the fifth inning allowed the host Quakers to score the run that broke a 2-2 tie and lifted them to a 3-2 victory and a chance to play another day in the tournament.
The Quakers, who beat the Clippers in eight innings last Saturday, 5-4, on a walkoff suicide squeeze bunt, will now try to beat Bishop Hendricken twice in the double-elimination bracket in order to advance to the tourney’s “Final Four” round.
And while the Quakers will be setting their sights on battling the Hawks on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Hawks’ campus, the Clippers will be packing their equipment away for the offseason after suffering their latest tough loss.
They claimed a 2-0 lead after an inning and a half of play, only to watch the Quakers score twice in the bottom of the second and then take the lead three innings later off Cumberland ace pitcher Dylan Boisclair.
A touch of wildness by Boisclair helped the Quakers load the bases with one out. He hit the first batter he faced, Sam Greenfield, with a pitch, and after a base hit to left by Elijah Brown and a sacrifice bunt by Mitchell Maloof, the Clippers’ lefty plunked Colton King with an offering.
That brought No. 3 batter Nathan Farrington to the plate, but he hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Joe Fine, who promptly fired the ball to the plate to catcher Matt Bare for the second out.
Trevor Kacz then followed with a routine grounder that was fielded cleanly, but the throw to first was wide and pulled first baseman Jake Rockefeller off the bag, and Brown was able to trot home with the go-ahead run.
For Boisclair, who will be heading to Millersville University (a Division II school located in Central Pennsylvania) to continue his baseball career, it was a tough way to end his stellar high school career. Boisclair only struck out two batters and allowed seven hits and no walks.
Boisclair’s counterpart, Cal Slepkow, struck out four and scattered nine hits and a walk. He got off to a rough start, surrendering hits to five of the first 10 batters he faced, but settled down a bit after his second inning of work.
The Clippers struck for their first run in their opening swings. Peter Travers led off with a single, and after he stole second and went to third on a single by Boisclair, Bare hit a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Travers to tag up and score with ease.
In the second, Nick Provost made it a 2-0 game with a run-scoring single up the middle that drove home Rockefeller, who doubled over the head of right fielder Dan Harrington and was soon awarded third on a balk.
The Quakers then tied to score in the second, as base hits by Harrington and Steve Salisbury set the tables for a run-scoring groundout by Greenfield and a long two-out triple to right by Brown that appeared to be a routine fly ball, but quickly sailed over right fielder Jacob Keefe.
After the Quakers took the lead in the fifth, the Clippers did their best to tie the score in the sixth, and they got a little spark from Rockefeller, who with one out, collected his third hit of the game, an opposite-field, hustle double down the left-field line.
But the Quakers kept Rockefeller on second thanks to two good defensive players. The first was by King at shortstop, who dove to his right to snare a line drive by Provost, and Slepkow turned in the second when he caught a hard comebacker off the bat of Travers for the final out.