After defeating the Mystic Schooners on a walk-off single on Monday, the Gulls were looking to carry that momentum going into Wednesday’s game against the Valley Blue Sox. The Gulls turned to their offense and bullpen to get the victory on Wednesday, relying on 13 hits and 10 pitching strikeouts to lift the Gulls to a 10-5 victory over the Blue Sox, corralling the win in front of 2,583 fans at Cardines Field.
After two scoreless innings from Mike Mancuso, the Blue Sox battled back in the top of the third, getting two runs against the Gulls starter. An RBI groundout by Josh Graham and a RBI single by designated hitter Justin Hazard were the sources of the offense for the Blue Sox, who quickly took a 2-0 lead.
However, the Gulls bounced back in the bottom of the third. A leadoff double by Will Smith started the rally, while a groundout by Ben Roberts advanced Smith to third. Quickly, Ryan Tufts lined a single to left, driving home Smith for the Gulls’ first run. Nick Zammarelli quickly followed that up with an RBI triple, while Blaise Salter continued the rally with an RBI single. Eventually, Blue Sox starter Tucker Shepard began to express his frustration with his pitches, ultimately hitting Colby Wright with a pitch after Tanner Donnels reached on a fielder’s choice. With two on and two outs, Jose Vizcaino Jr. lifted his first home run of the season over the fence in right-center, propelling the Gulls to a 6-2 lead. After hitting Shea Donlin with a pitch, Shepard was promptly removed from the game by Blue Sox manager Daryl Morhardt, who brought new pitcher John Pryor into the game. Pryor retired Smith to end the inning, but the Gulls elevated their lead to 6-2.
Mancuso ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. He walked Frank Crinella and hit Bobby Zarubin with a pitch, setting things up for Garrett Black. Black tried to get a sacrifice bunt, but Mancuso made an errant throw attempt to third, enabling Crinella to score. Storm Wilson grounded into a fielder’s choice, which drove home Zarubin. With Mancuso’s pitch count rising exponentially throughout each inning, manager Mike Coombs decided to bring southpaw Mark McCoy into the game. The Blue Sox did get another run on a double by Bobby Stahel. Despite the inherited jam, McCoy was able to retire the next two batters, keeping the Gulls lead intact at 6-5.
The Gulls did continue their offensive onslaught in the bottom of the fourth. With two singles by Roberts and Zammarelli, Salter drove in his second run of the game, lining a single past the shortstop that increased the Gulls lead to 7-5.
McCoy pitched effectively in eighth relief outing of the summer. He went five innings, allowing just two hits while striking out eight Blue Sox batters. McCoy even went on a string in which he retired four straight batters, and he also struck out the side in the eighth.
After Pryor pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief, former Newport Gull David Schmidt came into the game for the Blue Sox. Schmidt retired Smith on a sacrifice bunt, then intentionally walked Roberts. Tufts, who had an RBI single in the third, ripped a shot to left, driving home Donlin. In the following at-bat, Tyler Green worked a walk, loading the bases for Salter. Almost instantly, Salter lofted a fly ball to Stahel in center, which was deep enough for Roberts to score. Donnels continued the hit parade with an RBI single to center. Although Schmidt was able to escape the jam with a popout from Wright, the Gulls were able to up the ante, achieving a 10-5 lead.
In the ninth, McCoy returned for his sixth inning of relief by striking out Kevin Barker and getting Stahel to pop out to second. Despite allowing a walk to Josh Graham and allowing Charles Sikes to reach on an error by Tufts, McCoy corralled a groundout from Mendez Elder, firing to first to retire the runner to secure a 10-5 victory for the Gulls.
With the victory, the Gulls have now won three straight games, and improve to 1-1 on the season against the Blue Sox. With the Plymouth Pilgrims losing to the Keene Swamp Bats on Tuesday, the Gulls now trail the Pilgrims by a half a game for first place in the NECBL Southern Division.
Tomorrow, the Gulls will head to Forges Field tomorrow to battle the Plymouth Pilgrims in a thrilling NECBL South contest. Johnathon Tripp (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first start with the Gulls after making two relief appearances this season. The Pilgrims will counter with southpaw Danny Garcia (1-0, 2.07 ERA). Tune into the NECBL Broadcast Network as Nick Lima and Rob Masse will broadcast the game, which begins at 6:30. The Gulls return home on Friday to host the New Bedford Bay Sox in an Independence Day thriller.