By Jim Sullivan
---- — Coming off a 0-0 tie to Manchester Wednesday night, the Rowley Rams (5-2-1) treated Beverly (2-3) to another shutout at Eiras Park last night behind a one-hitter from lefty Nick Liguori that left the Giants looking for another chance, 3-0.
“I feel real, real good with the way things are coming together,” said Rams coach Jeff Wood. “We’re athletic. We play good defensively. We pitch and the last thing to come around is the hitting. The guys are playing with a ton of energy and it’s exciting to be around. So, we’re looking forward to where this is going to lead us in the next six weeks and I think we are where we should be.”
The Giants started right-hander Josh Levesque against Liguori, and Levesque gave up a leadoff double to Anthony Conte in the bottom the first. Conte moved to second on a single from Koby Thibault, then came home for the Rams’ first run of the night on a grounder from Matt Motolla.
Levesque settled in for the bottom of the second inning and both pitchers cruised along until the bottom of the fifth when Ram Mike White drew a leadoff walk. CJ Ingraham then moved White over to third with a double to left field. Conte drew a walk next to load the bases before Cam D’Agostino knocked in White with a sacrifice fly out to right. Ingraham then came in on an overthrow from Giants catcher Brian Chirco, who was trying to gun down Conte at second base, but sent the ball into centerfield instead.
Sean Martin relived Levesque in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up what looked like a towering triple to Drew Catcher. But centerfielder Erik Drowne made a startling over the shoulder catch on the run to rob Carter of the hit.
“That was a phenomenal catch,” Giants coach Jeff Barricelli said of Drowne’s impressive fielding.
Liguori sat the Giants down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to put the game away, while Beverly’s only hit of the night was recorded by Chirco in the third inning.
“I felt good,” said Liguori, who recorded his first win of the season last night, recording 15 strikeouts along the way. “It was a nice warm night, I loosened up pretty good. This is my first year back after two years off, so it’s taken a while to get back into things. So, the win feels good. I’m going to try to take this confidence and take it all the way.”
“He was great,” Barricelli said of Liguori. “He mixes up his speeds, he doesn’t throw very hard but he hits his spots. He’s a crafty lefty.”
Wood was also feeling good after last night’s victory.
“I’m really happy to see him back here,” Wood said of Liguori. “He didn’t pitch for us last season. But we’ve been working him back in slow. This was his longest outing and this looked like the Nick Liguori I had a couple of years ago, and I thought he was the best pitcher in the league. We’re stocked with arms right now. But having Nick come back is a real big deal for us.”
Barricelli praised Levesque, who he said has had a run of bad luck lately, recording a number of no decisions and also said he has been pleased with the amount of good pitching he’s seen in the Intertown League so far this season.
“It was a well-pitched game,” said Barricelli. “And I would say there is a lot of good pitching in the league this year. There have been a lot of shutouts this year. We actually shut (the Rams) out at our place 5-0 (two weeks ago) and they shut us out 3-0 here. This is the best pitching I’ve seen in the league in a long time.”