MARBLEHEAD — Just put the ball in play.
That's the best thing any hitter can do when the winning run is 90 away on third base, and it's exactly what Jacob Bornstein did to get his team over the hump in Marblehead High's season opener Wednesday afternoon.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Bornstein's hard shot up the middle was too hot for Swampscott to handle. With two outs, a quick toss to try for an inning ending force out was off the line, allowing Godot Gaskins to come home with the decisive run in a 4-3 Magician win at Seaside Park.
Marblehead (1-0) came from three runs down to nip their arch rivals, spoiling an excellent start from the Big Blue's Tyler Marshall. The righty allowed no earned runs and threw all 7 2/3 frames while scattering seven hits.
The only walk he issued that wasn't intentional wound up being the winning run. A pinch-hitting Gaskins worked the free pass on six pitches to lead off the home half of the eighth and stole both second and third before coming home on Bornstein's fielder's choice winner.
"Gaskins flies," said Marblehead coach Mike Giardi. "In a tie game, when you're the home team, I don't mind being a little over aggressive there. That's a good team win for us because Swampscott's a really good ball club."
The Magicians cashed in on an error to erase what was a 3-0 Swampscott advantage in the fourth. Senior Ben Brennan's RBI single broke the seal, freshman Brady Lavender beat out an infield single for his first career RBI and classmate Schuyler Schmitt followed with his own RBI single to square things at 3-3.
Besides driving in the winning run, Bornstein picked up the win in relief with four solid innings. He struck out three, allowed three hits and kept the Big Blue (1-2) off the board in a pressure filled seventh inning when Jonathan Oriakhi (4-for-4) led off with a single. Catcher Charlie Titus caught him stealing and threw out two runners in a very strong debut.
"Charlie's got a great arm and he made some big plays for us," said Giardi, who was thrilled with his pitchers Chris Gally (four innings, six hits) and Bornstein.
"We lifted Gally at 50 pitches and that was the plan going in. Bornstein threw about 50 as well. That's right where we wanted to be. Our pitchers didn't over do it and gave us a chance to win."
Oriakhi was in the middle of everything for the Big Blue. He led off the game with a triple and scored on Dylan January's sacrifice fly; Oriakhi doubled deep left and scored again (on a Ryan Graciale sacrifice fly) in the third and added two more singles and a steal to cap off his day. Anthony Raskousas singled home Nick Reiser (double) for Swampscott's other run.
"Believe it or not, this was the best game we've played," said Swampscott coach Joe Caponigro. "We gave away a couple of outs on offense, and gave Marblehead a couple of extra outs on defense. That'll kill you."
Marshall retired six in a row after Marblehead tied the game in the fifth. Lavender, who went 2-for-3 in his debut, singled to begin the seventh and the Magicians loaded the bases threatening to walk-off. Marshall got two straight ground outs, though, to escape.
"It was the best starting pitching we've had so far," Caponigro said of Marshall's outing. "He was getting the ball inside on hitters where he's most effective. He went all the way and stayed under 100 pitches. I couldn't ask for anything more from Tyler."
Graham Inzana also had a hit and a swipe for the Big Blue. Louis Olivieri laid down two successful sac bunts and Cam O'Brien had a pair of singles.
For the Magicians, Ryan Harris and Erick Gonzales also hit safely while Brennan and Lavender were the multi-hit men.