Manchester wins, battles on
MANCHESTER — Thanks in large part to starter Pat Swanson, Manchester lives to play another day.
Swanson threw a three-hitter and struck out six batters to lead the Tom Woodlock All-Stars to a 4-1 win over Pittsfield, Mass., in losers bracket play in the New England Regional Babe Ruth Baseball on Tournament at Gill Stadium Monday.
Earlier, Plymouth, Mass., eliminated Central Maine, 6-4.
Today, in an elimination game, Manchester will play Plymouth, Mass., at 5 p.m. In the nightcap at 8 p.m., Waterford, Conn., meets Bennington, Vt., in the winners bracket final.
Swanson gutted out a terrific outing that saw him walk one and hit one batter.
After being held to three runs Sunday against Bennington, Vt., Manchester’s offense got off to a stronger start against Pittsfield.
The Woodlocks mounted a three-run rally in the second inning after Pittsfield starter Ryan Abel retired the first two batters.
Swanson started the uprising with a single and stole second. After Jason Derome drew a walk, Matt Reynolds laced a single to left. On the hit, Pittsfield outfielder Ty Bramer charged the liner coming toward him, only to have the ball bounce past him, allowing Swanson and Derome to score. Reynolds, who wound up on third base, was credited with one RBI.
Moments later, Nick Duhaime punched a single into right field, scoring Reynolds for a 3-0 lead.
Swanson, a crafty righthander, set a good tempo for himself through the first three innings. He retired the side in the first frame, allowed a single to start the second, and proceeded to retire the next six hitters, leaving Pittsfield scoreless.
In the fourth inning, Swanson ran into control problems after yielding a lead-off bunt single to Jack Scarafoni. With one out, Swanson hit Shane Tierney and then walked clean-up hitter Abel, loading the bases. After the walk, Swanson slouched over, asked for time and requested some water.
He appeared to be fine and proceeded to get Deonte Sandifer to ground into a force out, driving in Scarafoni. Swanson took care of business, getting the last out on his own, striking out Ty Bramer and stranding two runners.
In the fifth inning, Swanson allowed a two-out single to Jordan Nassif, who went to third when Simon Nassif reached on an infield error. But Pittsfield ran itself out of the inning when Simon Nassif was caught trying to steal second by catcher Nate Hall, with Nick Salcito making the tag.
In the home sixth, Manchester got some insurance thanks to the hustling Jon Robinson, who beat out an infield hit and went to third base when Abel threw past the bag for a two-base error. Nate Hall followed with a high pop-up down the first base line, deep enough to allow Robinson to tag from third base. On a close play, Robinson just beat the throw at home to provide a 4-1 cushion for the Woodlocks.
In the seventh, with runners on the corners, Swanson recorded the final out, fielding a soft grounder back to him to close out the game.