Late comeback thwarts upset-minded R&R Constr. (Ports.)UpdatedWednesday July 5, 2017 byWBB.
Through five full innings the #8 seeded R&R Construction (Ports.) club held the #1 seed Grande Masonry team to just one run in early-round June playoff action at Seveney Field on a foggy, breezy Monday eve. R&R was getting it done most of the game with excellent defense and solid pitching. Grande had earlier managed to scratch out their lone run with two outs in the second inning when Doug Connors, Zach Sherman and Thomas Kyros worked consecutive walks forcing an R&R pitching change. Next batter Tom McGraw went down 0-2 in the count to the southpaw reliever but then struck a clean single to left field scoring Connors for Grande's first run. The bases loaded threat then ended on a ground-out to the first baseman.
R&R got on the board in the fourth inning after being held hit-less by starter John Bliss through three full innings. The top of the order for R&R greeted a new Grande relief pitcher with a walk and two straight hard struck balls to the right side of the infield allowing both batters to reach base and two runs to score. Bliss then returned to the mound to get a strikeout, a fielder's choice and another strikeout to limit the R&R damage to three runs while finishing with 6 K's in four innings of work.
The bottom of the sixth for Grande began with a strikeout by R&R reliever Connor Perry, now in his fourth inning of relief. But a Jeffrey Brady walk, and Christian Claytor getting hit by a pitch got it back to the top of the 12-man batting order. Brady quickly stole third and subsequently scored on a wild pitch. Cal Mahoney then struck a hard low-liner that hit off the foot of the pitcher, making it men on first and third. John Bliss followed with an RBI single to left to tie the score, and then scored go-ahead runs with Mahoney on a hard single into the outfield by Tommy McSparren. Additional singles by Mike Gabriel and Bennett Mallinson enabled two more runs to score to complete the six-run inning and make the score 7-3 in favor of Grande.
But R&R was not yet finished... putting runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning after two miscues on infield ground balls to the third and second basemen. Closer Tommy McSparren managed the traffic on the base paths however, getting a ground out to first, and after issuing a 3-2 count walk, got a fly out to shallow right and a 4-3 grounder to close out the first-round playoff victory for Grande.