SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 2, 2013

On Baseball: McIsaac, Peabody topple Danvers in 11-inning classic

(Continued)

“On the bench after I was just trying to calm down because I had to get three outs.”

In their last at-bat, senior shortstop Evan Eldridge hit a leadoff single and the Falcons completed their fourth sacrifice bunt to get him into scoring position. But McIsaac got Garron to ground out to earn his second win of the season, stranding the 10th Danvers runner of the game.

“I have to give credit to our catcher, Brandon Polignone. He kept me focused out there,” McIsaac said. “This was a team win. We have faith in each other, and they had faith in me.”

Three hours earlier, Danvers had taken a 2-0 lead in the first while scoring the first runs Ruotolo allowed all season. A.J. Couto (3-for-5) reached on an infield single and scored on Dan Connors’ first of three hits. Connors then scored on a passed ball.

Danvers lefty Ray Arocho held Peabody hitless for the first three innings. The Tanners broke through with two outs in the fourth as Frank Lowry was hit by a pitch, Ryan Collins followed with a single and Polignone then roped a single to make it 2-2.

“That was a huge hit by Brandon. We hadn’t been having very good at-bats to that point ,and he turned us around. He sparked our offense,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt.

With the game 2-2 headed to the bottom of the fourth, the chess match between two of the best managed baseball teams in Massachusetts began. Danvers put runners on second in the fourth, fifth and sixth on hits by Tyler Dustin, Couto and Connors, respectively.

Ruotolo (6 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned) was a bulldog in those situations. He struck out 15 batters over eight innings of work and fanned eight with runners on base. The fact that he didn’t allow Danvers to put the ball in play prevented the type of basepath gamesmanship that can end games like these.

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