By Jean DePlacido
---- — DANVERS – The ball was flying out of Harry Ball Field on Saturday morning with Danvers American scoring five of their seven runs via the long ball, and Gloucester American getting four runs on two homers. Danvers won it’s third straight game, 7-5, and with only Boxford remaining in pool play the kids with the bleached blond hair are in the driver’s seat.
“We’re 3-0 now and in good shape, but we have to take one game at a time,” said Danvers manager Michael Holland. “I wasn’t very happy with our defensive play. We had three errors and had a couple of passed balls that hurt.
“We preach all the time that the best defensive players will be on the field. If somebody has a bad day we’ll find another person to take that place because this is a total team effort. We know we have to tighten up our defense, and we’ll definitely concentrate on doing it in practice before we play again.”
Danvers shot out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first with back-to-back solo homers by Tom Mento and Jonathan Weimert, who started on the mound and worked the first two innings.
Gloucester answered right back in the home half when Colby Mitchell hit the first of his two blasts with Ben Oliver aboard to tie it up.
Five unearned runs in the second inning put Danvers back on top, 7-2. Cam Morrison worked a walk off Gloucester starter Jake Lucido, and Joe Thibodeau doubled with two down. Both runners scored on fielding errors to put Matt Taylor and Colby Holland on base for Mento, who delivered a three run moon shot.
Lucido retired the next seven batters in a row. He went five plus innings before giving way to Alex Favazzo in the sixth. Only two of the runs Lucido gave up were earned. He scattered five hits and three walks.
Danvers used three pitchers. Weimert was followed by Holland, who gave up one run on a single by Favazza in the third inning.
Anthony Olszak took over for the final three innings. Mitchell hit another two run homer in the fourth to close the gap to 7-5. Gloucester threatened in the fifth after Favazza singled, but he was stranded on second.
Mitchell collected his third hit of the game with one down in the sixth, but Olszak bore down to strike out the next two hitters. Mitchell also did a nice job defensively at third base, handling several chances flawlessly.
“Danvers is a great team, but we hung in there and made it interesting,” said Gloucester manager Chip Smith, his team 0-2. “We had the tying run at the plate in the last inning, but couldn’t get anything going. We did get those two big home runs from Mitchell, who packs a big punch in a small body, and also did a great job at third. Brandon Bruce also played well there, and Cal Spencer made some nice catches in right field.”
Cooper Hanson and Tim Lam both doubled, and Holland singled for Danvers. Manager Holland said the strategy in using three pitchers was to go with the one that was throwing strikes.
“We wanted to avoid walks and base runners as much as possible,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we scored so many runs because of homers because the top six guys in our lineup can all hit them out (Taylor, Holland, Mento, Weimert, Olszak, and Morrison).”