Nantucket tops Martha’s Vineyard in baseball finale

With Silas Berlin running in to help out, Jack Slayton (left) and Aksel Cooperrider have Nantucket's Dylan O'Connor caught in a rundown to close out the top of the second inning.

Martha’s Vineyard wrapped up the high school baseball season against island rival Nantucket on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon at Vineyard Baseball Park. The Vineyarders led, 4-3, after four innings, but the Whalers rallied with three runs in the fifth en route to a 7-5 win.

Nantucket jumped out to a 3-0 lead, courtesy of Ryan Holdgate’s three-run double in the top of the first inning, but the Vineyarders battled back with three of their own in the bottom half. Jack Slayton reached base on an error and Mike Mussell walked. Starting pitcher Tim Roberts stroked an RBI single to score Slayton. Andrew Wiley followed with a single down the left field line, scoring Mussell. Jacob Cardoza then grounded out but got the job done, scoring Roberts to tie the game.

The Vineyarders took a 4-3 lead in the second. With one out, Aksel Cooperrider smacked a double to left-center. Jack Slayton earned the RBI with a single to shallow right.

The Vineyard lead held up through four innings. Tucker McNeely came on to pitch for Tim Roberts to start the second and held the Whalers scoreless for three innings.

Nantucket grabbed the momentum in the fifth. Andrew Ray led off, ripping a single to left field. The Whalers loaded the bases on an error and a hit batter. Tucker McNeely left and Jacob Cardoza entered the game under most unenviable circumstances – with the bases juiced and nobody out.

The Whalers popped up to first, then scored the tying run on a squeeze play. Right fielder Nick Ciarmataro popped up his bunt. Tim Roberts, now playing first base, bolted toward home plate, dove to snag the ball but came up empty and Andrew Ray scored. Nantucket took the lead on a walk and made it 6-4 by beating out a throw to the plate. The Vineyarders avoided further damage on a force out at the plate and a fly out to Emerson Mahoney in center field.

The Whalers added some insurance with one more run in the seventh. Before they did, Jacob Cardoza struck out the side in the sixth and the first Whaler in the seventh — three batters looking and one watching.

Down to their final three outs, the Vineyarders (6-14) closed out the season fighting. With all on the Vineyard bench donning rally caps, Jack Slayton led off with a single to right and stole second base. Mike Mussell lined a single to right to give the Purple runners at the corners with one out. Slayton scored on an error, but the Vineyarders would get no closer.