ROWLEY — Rowley had every opportunity to get back into the game. The Rams had runners in scoring position in five of the first six innings, and despite frequently having to get out of trouble, pitcher Joe Martin was doing his part to keep things within reach.
But the Rams couldn’t come up with the big hit, and eventually Hamilton made them pay.
Leading 2-0 entering the top of the seventh, the Hamilton Generals erupted for eight runs to blow the game wide open. The Generals sent 12 runners to the plate, recording seven hits and four doubles along the way, before eventually putting away the 10-1 win over Rowley in Game 2 of the Intertown Twilight League semifinals.
With the win, Hamilton forced a decisive Game 3, which will be played Thursday at Hamilton’s Patton Park at 5:30, the winner advancing to the ITL Finals against the top-seeded Manchester Mariners.
“The seventh obviously got away from us,” Rowley manager Jeff Wood said. “Joey had been doing a real nice job all night dancing through trouble and finding a way out of it, and that’s the way he is. That’s how he pitches. I gave him the opportunity to try and get himself out of it and it didn’t work out. The final score I don’t think is indicative of how the game was played, it was a 2-0 game in the seventh and it got away from us. It happens.”
Hamilton took an early lead after Larry Saggese drove in Jake Lanciani on a fielders choice in the first inning, and then Harrison O’Brien had an RBI single in the second to score Brett Harring, making it 2-0. Rowley routinely threatened from there, but pitcher Phil Durgin wouldn’t allow the Rams to get the big hit needed to complete any kind of rally.
Durgin wound up going the distance, his lone blemish coming on an RBI single by James Wood with two outs in the seventh inning. He allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts, and his coaches raved about his performance afterwards.
“Oh my god, what can you say?” said Hamilton manager Brian Nicoll. “Phil wanted it. We were torn on who to go to tonight, and Phil asked for the ball after Game 1. ‘I said Phil go for it.’ Nothing more I can say, that was a really [gutsy] effort from Phil.”
“The kid from Hamilton threw a really good game tonight,” Wood said. “He mixed it up and I just told the guys we had a lot of at bats with runners in scoring position tonight and he beat us. He got us, we didn’t get the big hits and he got the big outs.”
Hamilton’s rally in the seventh started after Henry Eagar singled, Chris Huggett walked and Jimmy Parr singled to load the bases with one out. Dylan Stratton then delivered the dagger, blasting a double to score two and make it 4-0, chasing Martin from the game. Dave Ingraham came on in relief, and the Generals just piled on from there.
Lanciani followed the double with an RBI single, O’Brien and Saggese laced back to back RBI doubles, and after Durgin was hit by a pitch, Eagar finished things off with one last double to score two.
Rowley responded with hits by Curtis Putnam and Tim Moore to start the seventh, but Durgin responded with two quick strikeouts and a groundout after Wood’s run-scoring single. The Rams will now look to put the loss behind them quick when they play for a spot in the league championship on Thursday.
Hamilton 10, Rowley 1
ITL Semifinals Game 2
Hamilton (10): Lanciani 4-2-3, O’Brien 4-1-3, Saggese 5-0-1, Painchau 0-1-0, Durgin 3-1-1, Eager 5-1-3, Robert 0-0-0, Huggett 4-1-0, Parr 4-1-3, Stratton 4-1-1, O’Shea 2-1-1. Totals: 35-10-16
Rowley (1): Hunt 3-0-0, Graham 1-0-0, C. Ingraham 3-0-0, Chatterton 1-0-0, Cashman 2-0-2, Wood 1-0-1, Bolla 3-0-0, Conte 2-0-0, L’Heureux 2-0-0, White 2-0-0, Putnam 3-1-2, Esposito 2-0-0, Moore 1-0-1. Totals: 26-1-6
RBI: H – Lanciani, O’Brien 2, Saggese 2, Eager 2, Stratton 2, O’Shea; R – Wood
WP: Durgin (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K); LP: Martin (6.1 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 3 K)
Hamilton (18-8): 1 1 0 0 0 0 8 – 10
Rowley (15-8-1): 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 1