By Conor Walsh
---- — ESSEX -- The Triton baseball team held off a Manchester Essex rally yesterday to even its record at 2-2.
Triton pitcher Nick Cornoni went the distance, scattering six runs and eight hits, and the Vikings got the timely hits when they needed them to leave Essex’s Memorial Field with an 8-6 win.
“We were always playing catch-up, and that’s exhausting for a team to have to catch up every inning,” Hornets coach Bob Garrett said. “I thought our team did a great job coming back the majority of the time when they did score. They didn’t give up. It’s just exhausting to have to come back all the time.”
It was a workmanlike win for the Vikings, who got back to .500 on the year after opening the season with consecutive losses. Each time the Hornets appeared to be shifting the momentum back in their favor, Triton had an answer.
The Hornets’ first counter-punch came in the bottom of the first inning, after the Vikings had sent nine batters to the plate and notched three runs to open the game.
Craig Carter (1-2, 3 RBI) cracked a triple to right field to score Mike Loebelenz to open the scoring, and Max Nesbit followed with an RBI single to cut the Triton lead to 3-2.
Triton responded with two small-ball runs in the second to extend the lead to three runs again. And, again, the Hornets had an answer with a two-run second inning paced by an RBI double by Sean Desmond.
Another run followed in the third inning, when the Vikings chased Hornets’ starter Henry Gedney. The Hornets responded to that in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game with an RBI groundout by Carter and an unearned run.
That was the end of the magic for the Hornets, though. Triton scraped out a run in the fifth and sixth innings off Carter, who pitched four solid innings in relief, and Cornoni settled in over the game’s final three innings, allowing just four Hornets to reach base and getting five of his final six outs via strikeout.
“I said to the team, ‘I don’t know if this should have been an 8-6 baseball game, but the bottom line is that it’s a W that puts us at .500,’” Triton coach Ryan McCarthy said. “They fought to keep the lead today, and that’s what these guys have been doing. Their attitudes have been positive and they’ve kept chipping away and fighting.”
Cornoni also helped pace the Triton offense, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Leadoff hitter Nate Estebrook added three hits and an RBI of his own, while first baseman Adam Chatterton knocked in two runs.
For the Hornets, senior shortstop Cory Burnham had two hits and scored twice, while catcher Dominic Cerrone also added two hits.
Manchester Essex will look to get back to .500 tomorrow against Amesbury.
“I told them after the game, ‘All you can ask for is to be in the game the entire time,’” Garrett said. “We’re going to get our wins.”
Triton 8, Manchester Essex 6
at Memorial Field, Essex
Triton: Estebrook 2b 4-2-3, Hunt cf 4-2-2, Cashman 3b 4-1-0, Cornoni p 4-1-3, Chatterton 1b 4-0-1, Germinari lf 2-0-1, Wolcik c 1-1-1, Mical rf 2-0-0, Desrocher rf 1-0-1, Whitman ss 4-1-1. Totals 30-8-13
Manchester Essex: Loebelenz lf 2-0-0, C. Carter 2b/p 2-1-1, Nesbit 1b 3-0-1, K. Carter 3b/p 4-0-0, Cerrone c 4-0-2, McCollum dh 3-0-0, Bartlett 3b 1-0-0, Fitzgerald cf 4-0-1, Burnham ss 4-2-2, Desmond rf 3-1-1. Totals 30-6-8
Triton: 321 011 0 | 8
Manchester Essex: 220 200 0 | 6
RBI: T, Chatterton 2, Estebrook, Cashman, Cornoni, Germinari; M, C. Carter 3, Nesbit, Desmond.
WP: Cornoni; LP: Gedney