May 10, 2008

ML Game 34

 

Haganís Funeral Homes    11

Moppert Brothers    10

 

 

Karma Takes a Holiday; Replaced by Perseverance

 

On a day when Haganís guru Joe Cavalcante analyzed the ethers and pronounced karma to be absent, his troops dug down deep and discovered the value of something only slightly more tangible:  perseverance.  Facing an 8-2 deficit after just one inning, Haganís players did not quit or hang their heads.  Instead, they chipped away at the lead until an inspired rally in the top of the 6th inning gave them an improbable 11-10 lead that they would not relinquish.

 

The game started well enough for Haganís.  In the top of the first, Connor Martin singled to right field, scoring Michael Solomon and Neal Geosits.  They nearly unraveled, however, in the bottom of the inning.  Moppert rode just two hits (Will Manganiello, Pete Mamola) scattered among a slew of walks and errors to an 8 run inning in which they sent 12 batters to the plate.  A stunned Hagan team failed to get a base runner in the top of the second, but they began to right the ship in the bottom of the frame.  With two outs, Moppert loaded the bases but Hagan starter Ethan Heller pitched out of the jam, getting a fly to Jack Norton in left field to strand all three runners.  The significance of the defensive turnaround went mostly unnoticed at the time, but it lit a slow-burning Hagan fuse. 

 

Having survived the initial fury, Haganís went to work in the top of the 3rd.  Rob Brown reached on an error, Brian Gross singled, and Geosits singled to slice two runs off the lead.  Moppert answered in the bottom of the inning with two of their own on singles by Donovan Davis, Mamola, and Brendan Welsh. 

 

Hagan tallied one more in the top of the 4th when Bryan Leonard was hit by a pitch to start the inning, advanced to third, and scored on a Justin Troilo ground ball to the right side of the diamond.  Hagan reliever Rob Brown sent Moppert down in order in the bottom of the inning.

Hagan shaved one more from the lead in the fifth to set up the dramatic 6th inning.

 

Leading off for Hagan, Heller roped a line drive to left.  Leonard then reached on a hot grounder to short, but Moppert appeared to dash any hope of a comeback by retiring the next two Hagan batters.  Still, Haganís persevered.  With two out, Brown drew a walk to load the bases.  Gross then lashed a single to right centerfield, scoring two.  After a Solomon walk to reload the bases, Haganís new RBI leader, Geosits, blooped a clutch single to shallow rightfield.  With the runners moving on contact, there was no doubt that Gross would score easily from second, but a throwing error enabled the always-hustling Solomon to score the go-ahead run all the way from first.  That was all Haganís would need.  Gross came on in relief of Brown in the bottom of the 6th.  Behind steady infield plays by Solomon and Leonard and a game-ending strikeout, he retired the side in order to seal the win for Hagan.

 

Davis, Mamola (2 for 3, BB), Welsh, Manganiello, Thomas Bacchia, and Jonah Skobeloff all hit safely for Moppert.  Tim Quinn pitched 4-2/3 strong innings, yielding just 3 hits and 1 walk to go along with 5 strikeouts.  Mamola finished the game, striking out 3.

 

Gross and Geosits (both 2 for 4) led the Hagan offense.  The pitching trio of Heller, Brown, and Gross combined for 6 strikeouts.  The entire team persevered.

 

Pitch counts:

 

Hagan:

    Heller 87

    Brown 39

    Gross  9

 

Moppert:

    Quinn 81

    Mamola 39