Algonquin baseball upsets Wachusett in extra-inning thriller


Algonquin baseball upsets Wachusett in extra-inning thriller
Tighe Clark drops down a bunt to advance the runner. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

HOLDEN – Though the Wachusett team is called the Mountaineers, it was the Algonquin Titans that successfully navigated baseball’s peaks and valleys on Friday night, ultimately beating Wachusett 11-8 in a come-from-behind, extra-inning win.

Algonquin came out hot. Jackson Redfern struck out the first five batters he saw – three looking, two swinging – halting a typically potent Mountaineer offensive attack.

The Titans’ offense looked sharp at the start as well, using timely hitting to plate four runs in the game’s first three innings.

Algonquin was aggressive on the basepaths as well. After Jackson Gamache reached on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, reached third on an interference call, and dashed home on a wild pitch. The free bases kept Algonquin’s offense moving, and the team was unafraid to bunt or steal throughout the game.

However, momentum soon shifted to Wachusett. Mountaineer reliever Travis Moran was able to keep the Titan bats quiet, and Wachusett had an offensive outburst of its own.

A collection of doubles and singles in the third and fourth innings started the scoring for the Mountaineers, but the team’s bats truly caught fire in the fifth. The bases were loaded almost immediately, and the Titans cycled through three pitchers trying to quell the Wachusett attack. The Mountaineers showed outstanding plate discipline, drawing three walks in the inning, and Justin Mariani’s clutch double drove in two of the six total runs scored in the inning.

Wachusett led 8-4 after five innings. Although the Titans had been knocked down, they were never out.

“We support ourselves; we don’t go after other teams. We focus on us,” Algonquin Head Coach Brian Doherty told the Community Advocate. “We have fun, but we encourage each other. We were ahead, and we had a really bad inning – but the bench was still up, and that shows a lot of character. That’s probably the way I want to describe this team – they have great character.”

So, the Titans began to climb the mountain.

It started with pitching. Sean Desmond kept the Titans in the game with several scoreless relief innings. From there, Algonquin’s offense started to reemerge. Jackson Redfern’s single drove in a run in the sixth to narrow the gap to 8-5.

Still, the Titans needed to rally. In the top of the seventh, Algonquin needed to produce at least three runs to push the game into extra innings.

They were up for the challenge.

Four straight singles – by Gamache, Patrick Hanlon, Owen Ellsworth, and Cole Jones – provided the offensive spark the group needed, and the team grabbed the three runs it needed to keep the game alive.

Looking for a walkoff victory, Wachusett roared back. The opening batter reached base and quickly stole second, and with two outs in the inning, the Mountaineers had runners on second and third. PJ O’Rourke ripped a line drive into the outfield, but it was snared by the center fielder to eliminate the threat.

The Titans finally broke through in the top of the eighth. The team once again rode walks and timely hitting into another three-run inning. Jones had the biggest hit, driving in two crucial insurance runs for the Titans with a double to left field.

Desmond quickly eliminated any hope of a Wachusett comeback, easily retiring three consecutive batters to end the game. The Algonquin team quickly shifted from being nervous to excited.

“We had the lead, and we just had that one inning,” Doherty said. “The kids never hung their heads. Our philosophy is just to win the inning – they did. They came back, and they did exactly what they had to do: they got the timely hit, [and] they didn’t quit. I’m very proud of them – well earned.”

The loss drops Wachusett’s record to 10-5. After stringing together nine straight wins, the Mountaineers have now dropped two straight.

Algonquin, which recently snapped a five-game losing streak, has won two of its last three games, gaining momentum in the back half of the season and improving their record to 6-10. The Titans head to Shepherd Hill before inviting Leominster to Northborough to finish the season.


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