By Jim Sullivan
---- — AMESBURY — Coming in at 7-6 a piece, the Amesbury baseball team hosted Triton yesterday, and someone had to go home .500.
Triton (8-6) put some distance between itself and Amesbury (7-7) with a 5-3 victory at Amesbury High.
“This is what a rival game should be,” said Vikings coach Ryan McCarthy. “I’m sure as a spectator it was a great game to watch. As a coach, I’m ready to have a heart attack.”
Amesbury’s junior lefty Andy Reidy walked to the mound in the top of the first inning and recorded three quick outs. Nick Cornoni took to the bump for Triton in the bottom of the frame, giving up a two-out walk to Mac Short then a single to Shawn Bannon. A single from Devlin Gobeil loaded the bases next, but Zach Fitzgerald grounded out to end the threat.
Cornoni drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second inning, then took second on a wild pitch before taking third on a ground out from Justin Cashman. A sacrifice fly to deep center from Adam Chatterton plated Cornoni to put the Vikings on the board.
Tommy Connors started the bottom of the third inning with a single to left field for the Indians, took second on an overthrow, then moved to third on a ground out. He was unable to advance as Cornoni and his defense got their act together again with the next two batters to deny Connors access to the plate.
Ben Cullen led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, then stole second on the next pitch and grabbed third on a wild pitch two batters later. John Pesci recorded the RBI next, knocking Cullen in with a single to tie things up.
Adam Chatterton started the fifth inning off with a single to shortstop, then moved to second on a bunt bid from Brad Whitman. Chatterton advanced to third on a dropped third strike. Nick Derocher walked next, before Jack Germinara made it to first and Chatterton scored on an error at third base. Cote Wolcik scored Derocher next with a scorched double to right field.
Amesbury’s Mac Short answered the call in the bottom of the fifth with a one-out double, and moved to third on a single from Bannon. Short scored on a single from Gobeil and an error at shortstop saw Fitzgerald reaching first and the bases loaded. Bannon was forced out at the plate next before Pat Scanlon plated Fitzgerald to tie things at 3-3.
Chatterton and Whitman drew a pair of walks with two out in the visitor’s half of the sixth inning before Billy Mical did the same to load the bases. Reidy would walk in a run during Derocher’s at-bat before the threat would end.
Amesbury went down in a row in the bottom of the frame before right-hander Nick Hawrylciw relieved Reidy on the mound. Hawrylciw hit Wolcik with a pitch in the first at-bat, then gave up a double to Hunt. A single from Cornoni next plated Wolcik for the insurance run before the Indians entered their last ups without incident.
“Those are the types of games, it should be like a Mike Tyson boxing match,” McCarthy said of the River Rivalry. “Back and forth, it should be tight. Everybody up and excited and a lot of emotion going on, and that’s what we saw today. I would expect that every time we play Amesbury. Those kids battled to the very end, and our guys stayed in too. That’s what we talk about, stay in until the very end and that’s what our guys do.”
As McCarthy’s Vikings now sit two wins away from qualifying for the state tournament, the Indians (7-7) have to win three to do the same.
“That was a very good game,” said Indians coach Gene Burnham. “I like the way Coach McCarthy has those kids going over there. They have a purpose at the plate. They swing the bat exceptionally well. They understand their strike zone. I like the way they played some defense. (Cornoni) is solid. He threw around the plate and threw enough off-speed to keep us off balance.”
“I’m happy with the way we bounced back,” said Burnham. “Down 1-0 and coming back. Being down 3-1 and coming back. Maybe one or two more at-bats, and we might have come back again.”