SEAN PERLEY fires a pitch during action against Post #79 on Thursday, July 12. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 16, 2012ALTON — When the Alton Post #72 Legion baseball team met up with Post #79 earlier in the season at Gill Stadium, the result was a mercy rule-shortened game and a 10-0 loss for the local kids.
While the loss may have been just as tough on Thursday, July 12, as Post #72 dropped a 10-1 decision at Prospect Mountain High School, the fact that four of those runs were scored in the final three innings of the game, made it a bit easier to swallow.
"We can't string some hits together," Alton coach Gary Noyes said. "When we do hit, they're right at people."
Sean Perley got the start on the hill for Post #72 and showed a bit of rust in the first inning, walking the first two batters out of the gate. Noyes noted that Perley hadn't pitched in a while, so the rust may have been expected.
However, an error resulted in one run crossing the plate, giving the Manchester kids a 1-0 lead. Perley then helped his cause with a pickoff play with runners at first and third. The runner on first broke and Perley stepped off, gunning to Zac Carr at second base. The runner on third broke for home and Carr fired to the plate to catcher Cody Symonds, cutting down the runner at the plate for the first out of the inning. Perley then got a pair of grounders to get out of the inning with just the one run scoring.
Post #72 looked to get on the board right away in the bottom of the inning, as Scott Conner led off the game with a double to left field. Ethan Henderson put down a bunt in an attempt to move Conner to third, but the throw to third cut him down and the rally ended with two strikeouts.
Manchester put the first runner on with an error in the second inning and after a nice play by Nate Farnham in center, a stolen base, walk and another stolen base put two runners in scoring position with just one out. However, Perley got a pop fly to left and another to first to end the inning without a run coming home.
Alton did get on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Carr led off with a base hit and Andrew Hederman was hit by a pitch. Symonds grounded to second, forcing Hederman, but moving Carr to third and Farnham laid down a perfect bunt. Post #79 attempted to gun down Carr at the plate, but he beat the tag and the game was tied at one.
Manchester wasted no time getting back on track in the top of the third inning, as they again took advantage of an error, plus a base hit, a double and a squeeze to push across three runs, taking a 4-1 lead.
Ryan Gibbs had a two-out hit in the bottom of the inning, but he was stranded, but Perley also worked around a leadoff double in the top of the fourth, keeping the visitors off the board.
A double and a base hit allowed Post #79 to pick up another run in the top of the fifth inning, pushing the lead to 5-1 and Alton threatened again in the bottom of the inning.
Spencer Goossens drew a leadoff walk and one out later, Henderson had a base hit to put two runners on with just the one out. However, both runners were stranded and Manchester came back with another run in the top of the sixth inning for a 6-1 lead.
Hederman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh inning and surrendered a base hit and a walk and after a sacrifice bunt, another walk loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly to right pushed across another run for a 7-1 lead.
Farnham led off the bottom of the seventh with a base hit, but he was stranded and Manchester put across another run in the top of the eighth. An error and two passed balls got the run on the board and it was 8-1 in favor of Post #79.
Zach Bousquet reached on an error in the bottom of the eighth but he was stranded and Manchester put another two runs on the board in the top of the ninth, with a base hit, double, walk, infield hit and sacrifice fly made it 10-1.
Alton did put together a two-out threat in the bottom of the ninth. Brian Borelli reached on an error and John Barnes doubled to left center to put two runners in scoring position, but a strikeout ended the game at 10-1.
Noyes noted that things certainly didn't go as well as they could've, but with a couple of games ahead against easier teams, he was hoping to get things on track as the season winds down.
"Keene and Jutras have both been struggling a little, so we'll give it a shot and hopefully get a couple wins to finish up."
The Keene game on Sunday proved to be a tough loss to swallow, as the hosts scored a run in the bottom of the 10th inning to take a 2-1 win.
Gibbs pitched his second stellar outing in just more than a week, going nine innings and allowing just one run.
The Alton bats did some damage early, as they pounded out five early hits.
"But then the bats were silent after that," Noyes said.
Base hits by Conner and Gibbs got Alton off on the right foot in the first and back-to-back walks to Carr and Barnes plated the first run of the game.
However, the long trip came to no avail, with a tough one-run loss, the team's third in the last four games.
"Everybody made a real long trip," Noyes said. "But it was another disappointing loss."
Alton Post #72 will finish the season with a trip to Gill Stadium Thursday at 7 p.m. to take on Jutras and play at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Lebanon at Prospect Mountain High School.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126