Miscues cost Gilford in tough loss to Franklin



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Phil Gangi delivers a pitch against Franklin on April 29. Gangi went five solid innings on the mound. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 02, 2011
GILFORD After climbing back into shouting distance on April 29, the Gilford High School baseball team saw its defense tumble in the sixth inning against Franklin. The visiting Golden Tornadoes scored six runs in the frame and pulled out a 10-6 win.

It was the second win over Gilford this year for Franklin, as the team also picked up a 13-1 win in the season-opener on April 16.

After Franklin led 3-0 after a solid top of the first, the Golden Eagles responded with a run in the bottom of the inning. Derek Malburne reached on an error to get it started and moved to third on a Sean Callinan double. Catcher Ben Whitaker followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Malburne and cutting the deficit to 3-1.

After running into trouble in the first, Gilford starting pitcher Phil Gangi looked much better in the middle frames, as he allowed just one more run in his five innings of work, striking out five Franklin batters.

"Phil pitched a good ballgame," said Gilford coach John Lord. "He got off to a bad start but did a nice job the rest of the time he was out there."

After Franklin scored in the third to take a 4-1 lead, the Golden Eagles came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Albert Doyle singled over a back-pedaling Franklin infielder on a bloop hit, driving in Devan Puopolo to make it a 4-2 game.

The Eagles drew even closer in the fifth, as Callinan led off with his second double of the day and came around to score on Whitaker's ground rule two-bagger to cut the lead to 4-3. Gilford looked like it might do even more damage, as the squad loaded with bases with two outs. But Franklin relief pitcher Brian Baca came on and recorded a strike out to quell the threat.

With the momentum swinging decidedly in Gilford's favor, Franklin came back and scored six runs in the sixth inning, thanks to two Eagles errors and three walks.

"It wasn't pitching that beat us in that inning," said Lord. "If we make the plays in the field, we get out of the inning before they unload with six runs. Errors like that can't happen in those spots when you want to win the ballgame."

Callinan, on in relief of Gangi, got the leadoff batter out on a ground out and also induced a ground ball to the second hitter. But an error allowed Craig LaBrun to reach, and another miscue two batters later saw Franklin blow it open with back-to-back hits. When it was all said and done, the Tornadoes led 10-3.

"We're beating ourselves with errors, just about every game," Lord explained. "The first time we played (Franklin), we made eight errors. Not so many today, but we had a few that hurt us."

Gilford would put up three more in the bottom of the sixth, as Callinan (RBI single), Whitaker (RBI double) and Gangi (RBI sac fly) all drove in runs to cut the lead to 10-6. But two runners were left stranded and the Eagles couldn't muster any offense in the seventh en route to the loss.

"I like the way we're hitting," said Lord. "I've seen some good fielding but we just haven't been consistent. The pitching has been good enough to win against some of these teams, we just have to make the plays."

Callinan finished 3-for-5 for Gilford, while Whitaker had three RBI to go along with his pair of doubles.

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