Lunenburg Phillies’ Rally Falls Just Short in Game 2
WORCESTER -- Sometimes the hole is just a little too deep.
The Lunenburg Phillies battled back from a 7-0 deficit but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to Ronnie’s Recs, 7-6, on Wednesday night at Quinsigamond Community College.
The win by Ronnie’s evens the best-of-three CNEBA semifinal series at one game apiece. The deciding game is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Marshall Park in Lunenburg.
“In a seven-inning game, a seven-run deficit is tough to come back from,” said Phillies manager Joe Ruth. “We just needed one more hit. We had some chances. We had two runners on in that last inning, had a guy on third before that. We just couldn’t get the hit.”
Lunenburg scored all its runs in the top of the fourth inning. Doubles by Jon Belliard and Nathan Ginsberg off Ronnie’s starter Ryan Bowen got the Phillies on the board. A single to left by Frank Yavorosky put runners on the corners and veteran right fielder Pat Gilman followed with a towering three-run home run to dead center, cutting the deficit to 7-4.
But Lunenburg’s rally wasn’t done. Walks to Dave Mason and Sean Maki (2 for 4) put the Phillies in business again with two outs. A bloop single by Ryan Lever drove in the fifth run of the inning, and Maki scored when Belliard reached on an error to make it 7-6.
Lunenburg threatened again in the fifth, on a two-out single by Gilman (2 for 2, walk, hit-by-pitch, 3 RBIs) and a walk to Mason (3 walks). But reliever TJ Masella got Alex Heroux to fly deep to right to end the inning.
In the seventh, it was Gilman and Mason again trying to ignite a two-out rally with consecutive walks. This time Masella struck out Heroux on a high fastball to seal the win and force Game 3.
It was a tough outing for Lunenbug starter Matt Morissette, who was touched up for five runs in the second inning, including a two-run homer by Charlie Ramsland, a double to deep center by Mike Van Hoof and a three-run homer to right by Mike Yanko.
That was enough for Ruth, who brought in Ryan Britton to pitch the third inning.
“I don’t think I’ve seen Matt ever have an inning like that, especially giving up two home runs to lefties,” said Ruth.
Britton gave up a pair of unearned runs in the third inning, as Ronnie’s extended the lead to 7-0. But he and Ginsberg provided solid relief work and kept the Phillies in the game as they tried to complete the comeback.
Ryan O’Connor will be on the mound for Game 3, as the Phillies look to eliminate Ronnie’s and move on to the best-of-five CNEBA finals against either Clinton or Shrewsbury.