NORTHBOROUGH, Mass – Coming off of two exciting games against St. Joe's (Maine) on Friday night, the AMCATS took on GNAC leaders, Suffolk Rams, on Tuesday afternoon at New England Baseball Complex. The Rams are a team the AMCATS had not beaten since 2012 going in to Tuesday's conference double header. With their much improved roster, the AMCATS took the Rams to the 13th inning of a regularly scheduled seven inning game and quick literally walked away with the game one win. In game two, the 'Cats hung around but were put to bed late in the night by Suffolk, splitting the series.
In the 13 innings of play the AMCATS put together a 10-hit effort led by Mike Tourony and Noah Holland who each had two hits, both had a single and a double. Senior Tanner Jakola added a double to the mix in a one-for-three performance at the plate with an RBI and three walks. Of the four runs scored by Anna Maria three were driven in, along with Jakola, Jake Crevier and Kino Gray each drove in a run. Leadoff hitter Greg Gehring scored two of those runs with Holland and Crevier scoring the other two. The 'Cats used three pitchers in the game. Starter Nick Genatossio pitched five complete, allowing five hits, two runs, both earned, and he struck out four hitters. In relief, Liam Cunningham pitched the next five innings allowing just four hits and no runs. He struck out three Rams hitters. Senior Dan Chambers pitched the final three innings and allowed just one hit and a run, which was unearned. He struck out two in his three innings of work and picked up the win, the first of his three-year career.
The Rams also had 10 hits in the game with three hitters having multi-hit games. Brady Chant, Trevor Lee, and Rich Gilbride each had two hit games. Chant and Lee each had double and drove in a run. Left Fielder Will Hopkins went one-for-five in the game but his one hit, a home run, tied the game, at the time, at two runs apiece. Starting pitcher Tyler Zell was solid for Suffolk working 5.2 innings allowing six hits, two runs, neither of which were earned, while striking out four AMCATS. Ryan Pordes came in in relief and worked 2.1 innings allowing a single hit, no runs and he struck out one hitter. Rich Giandrea, who earned the loss, three 4.2 innings, giving up three hits, two runs, again, neither of which were earned, and struck out three hitters. He did walk four hitters, the last of which earned him the loss.
Coming in to the game, a much improved AMCATS team were expected to compete, but knew it would be tough to beat a team they were embarrassed by a year ago in East Boston. With a lot on the line, head coach Dan Briand and his team pulled out all the stops.
The Rams opened the scoring in game one when Lee followed Chants leadoff double up with a double of his own, scoring Chant from second, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. Genatossio was able to settle things down and get out of the inning relatively easily to minimize the damage.
Unable to answer in the bottom of the first, the AMCATS held Suffolk defensively in the top of the second and then scored in the bottom of the inning. Crevier led off the inning with a single and then advanced in to scoring position on an error by the catcher trying to pick Crevier off at first. Jake advanced to third on a passed ball and would ultimately be driven in by Gray, who grounded out to the shortstop, tying the game at one. Following that, Gehring reached first on a throwing error by the shortstop and was driven in during the next at bat with Jakola doubling down the left field line, scoring Gehring from first, giving the AMCATS an early, 2-1 lead on the Rams.
The third was relatively quiet, though each team had a runner reach second base, neither team was able to capitalize on the runner in scoring position, sending the game to the fourth 2-1, in favor of the hosts.
In the top of the fourth, the Rams received a timely home run from Hopkins over the left field fence that tied the game at 2-2.
At that point, things got exciting. With everyone on the edge of their seat, neither team would score a run for the next nine innings. A game within a game, as the regularly scheduled seven inning game extended with seemingly no end in sight. Then, as the cat and mouse game reached the four-hour mark, it went in to the 13th inning and there was hope of the game ending.
In the top of the 13th, with each team's reserves littering the field and lineups, the AMCATS allowed a Ram runner to reach on an error. The following hitter, Ben Isaak, was hit by a pitch, putting the go ahead run in scoring position. Then, as he has done so many times, Chant delivered hitting a clutch single to center field bringing reserve catcher Shane Lake around to score from second base, giving the Rams the 3-2 lead. Though behind, the AMCATS would not go away, and the 13 inning affair was not lost yet as in the bottom of the 13th Gehring led the inning off with a single to right and was subsequently moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Jakola. With one out in the inning, Giandrea struck out the next hitter. The AMCATS, down to their final out quickly became patient with Holland and Genatossio drawing back-to-back walks to load the bases. Down 2-1, with the bases loaded, Jeff Falk, who came off the bench as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning, hit a ball to third. It looked like the game was over but the ball was misplayed, allowing Falk to reach on the error and Ghering score, tying the game, one again, nine innings later, at 3-3. With the 14th inning looming, Crevier came to the plate. At one point he was behind in the count, with two strikes on him. He patiently worked the count and got the ball four call from the umpire, sending him to first and Holland to the plate to give the AMCATS and exciting 4-3 victory over the Rams for the first time in six years.
Game two was a little more conventional on both sides. The AMCATS had seven hits in the game with two coming from leadoff hitter Greg Gehring, who had a single and a double in the game and drove in two runs, scoring another. Jason Shell recorded the only other extra base hit, a double, in the game, going one-for-three in the game with a run scored. First baseman Mike Tourony drove in the only other run for Anna Maria in a one-for-four effort at the dish. Starting pitcher Andrew Rodriques pitched 4.0 innings allowing six hits, six runs, and struck out six hitters. Senior Tanner Jakola came in in relief and pitched two innings of two hit ball, allowing an earned run. Freshman sidewinder Eric Singleton pitched the final inning, a scoreless one, and struck out a hitter.
The Rams accumulated eight hits in the ballgame with multi-hit games from Will Hopkins and Blasé Cormier. Hopkins was two-for-three with a triple and a single. He drove in two runs for Suffolk. Brady Chant and Tim Brigham had the other two extra base hits for the visitors, Chant's a double and Brigham a home run off of Rodriques. Starter Charles Batchelder pitched a complete game, seven innings, allowing seven hits, three runs, only one of which was earned. He struck out five AMCATS in the process, picking up the victory.
Neither team scored in the first inning but, in the second, the Rams struck first on a Rich Gilbride single, scoring Cormier.
Suffolk added to their lead in the third on Hopkins triple to left center, scoring Trevor Lee, making it a two-run, 2-0 game. In the bottom of the third, the AMCATS cut the lead in half when Tourony grounded out to the second baseman, scoring Gehring, who had reached third on a double and was moved over to third on a Jakola ground out.
Now 2-1, in favor of Suffolk, Brigham homered in the fourth, scoring himself and Cormier to run their lead out to 4-1. The would add two more runs in the fifth on a Chant double, scoring Lee, and a Tom Shimchak sacrifice fly to center that scored Chant from third.
Now up 6-1 in game two, the Rams poured on another run in the sixth inning, taking a commanding 7-1 lead.
The AMCATS would show life in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs on a timely single down the left field line by Gehring that scored Jake Crevier and Jason Shell who had singled and doubled, respectively, early in the inning, with two out. Down to their final out, the 'Cats were unable to overcome the six-run lead and fell to the Rams in game two, 7-3.
The AMCATS are back in action Wednesday afternoon for a non-conference matchup with NECC opponent Becker College at New England Baseball Complex in a single nine inning game beginning at 3:30pm.