There will be a decisive third game in the NECBL Southern Division finals, Tuesday night at the Shark Tank. With their backs against the wall Monday night at Rogers Park in Danbury, Conn., the Sharks unleashed an offensive frenzy against the Westerners, putting 11 runs on the board in the second inning, en route to a 19-3 win.
The epic inning started with Will Duff getting hit by a pitch. Grant Norris followed with a walk and Jorge Corona, fresh off two hits in game one, hit the next pitch out for a three-run homer. The Sharks wasted little time in loading the bases again. A.J. Shaver and Brad Grenkoski walked, Collin Shapiro got plunked, Shaver scored on a wild pitch, Jaydn Jackson walked, Jake Berger ripped a double to score two more runs and Mike Brown reached on an error, scoring Jackson and chasing Danbury starter Jacob Marshall with not an out recorded.
After Will Duff singled in his second at bat of the inning to put the Sharks up 8-0, reliever Christian Allegretti got two quick outs but more trouble was coming for the beleaguered hosts. A.J. Shaver singled and Brad Grenkoski doubled on a full count to complete the damage: 11 runs on six hits and one error.
Danbury staged a mini-rally over the next two innings, scoring three runs to the Sharks’ one but they would get no closer than 12-3.
Jaydn Jackson hit an RBI-single in the sixth, Grant Norris knocked in another run on a sac-fly and Mike Brown scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, Jackson tripled in the eighth and Jake Berger singled to bring him home and earn a fourth RBI for a 16-3 lead.
As if things couldn’t get any worse for the Westerners, the Sharks scored three more runs — all on walks — with two outs in the ninth to complete the rout.
Winning pitcher Ryan Vanderhei got to play with the big lead and threw seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, with six strikeouts and three walks. Tyler Hamilton pitched the final two innings and added three more K’s.
The big win should make the long trip back to the Vineyard a bit easier to endure. Game three begins Tuesday night at 7 pm.
Danbury powers past sharks
Henry Strmecki hit two homers, including a grand slam, and Matt Zaffino added another round-tripper, pacing the Danbury Westerners to a 9-2 win over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in the opening game of the New England Collegiate Baseball League Southern Division finals Sunday night in front of 1322 at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.
The red-hot Westerners stayed perfect in the playoffs at 4-0 and head home to Connecticut with a chance to close out the best-of-three series on Monday night.
Danbury pecked away at Sharks starter Noah Johnson, who scattered five hits and three runs through five innings but struggled in the sixth, leaving the game with the bases loaded and the Sharks down, 4-2, with one out in the sixth. Johnson gave way to reliever Drew Mead and Danbury right fielder Strmecki hit a 2-1 pitch deep to center field for a grand slam to break the game open at 8-2. The Univ. of Dayton slugger added a solo homer to left to lead-off the ninth.
Jorge Corona had two hits for the Sharks, including a double in the fourth inning when MV scored both runs to tie the game at 2-2. Matt Woods also doubled for the Sharks but left the game in the third inning after a rough slide into second base and A.J. Shaver picked up an RBI on the night. Cameron Masterman and Jake Roper each doubled for Danbury.
The Westerners pitching staff of starter Justin Solimine, winning reliever Jimmy Fahey, Ethan Clough and Coleman Picard were tough on the Sharks bats, allowing six hits and striking out 11.
The Sharks now make the long trip to Danbury, looking to even the series on Monday night. A third game, if necessary, will be back at the Tank on Tuesday night at 7 pm.