TOWNSEND-A grand-salami sandwich was on the menu for North Middlesex sophomore Tony Sylvester Thursday morning, when the Patriots notched a come from behind 6-5 win over a gritty Tyngsboro ball club.
Sylvester cleared the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning with an inside-the-park grand slam to the power alley in left-center.
"I knew there was one out, and coach (Tom)Bartelson came up to me and said you know what to do," said Sylvester with a grin. "By that he meant put the ball in play. I knew I had to sit back on the pitcher, and when I hit it; it just kept rolling, and I put the wheels on."
Neither team could muster much offensively in the first inning, as both starters were hitting their spots effectively. Tyngsboro's Charlie Savard singled through the right-side to start the game, but after that North Middlesex starter Andrew Jena started to find his groove.
Jena went six innings giving up five runs on four hits, and struck out four in the win.
Jena retired the next three batters he faced, including a strikeout of Chuckie Keenan. In the bottom half of the inning, North Middlesex's bats went down quietly.
The Tigers drew first blood in the second inning on a well-place squeeze bunt by Jake Gallagher that plated Eric Morrison from third to make it 1-0. North Middlesex's infield was baffled by the one-out squeeze play, as they were at normal depth.
"They are a great fundamental team," said Bartelson on Tyngsboro's line-up. "Once they start to take the lead we got to fight back. We need to learn not to spot teams one or two runs at a time."
Andrew Savard singled home the Tigers' second run of the game on a laser up the middle past a diving Mitchell Hudlin, which brought home Ryan Niven, who reached on a double earlier in the frame.
Tyler MacDonald's single up the middle woke up the Patriots' bats in the third inning. Sylvester would scoot across on an error to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Chuckie Keenan highlighted the Tigers' bats in the fourth inning as he raked a two RBI double to right- center field, which brought in Niven and Savard to extend the Tigers' lead to 4-1. The Patriots enjoyed the sweet swing of their nine-hole hitter Zack Ryan in the bottom half of the inning.
Ryan screamed a triple to right center field, which fell just short of clearing the 345' marker. Ryan's triple gave North Middlesex new life, and brought the Patriots back within two.
Jena kept the Tigers'' bats at bay in the sixth inning retiring the side in order. Jena capped it off with a nasty curve that crisply dropped over the outside corner to strikeout Tyngsboro's Drew Hurywicz.
Shawn Pinney doubled to the gap in left-center to start the sixth for the Patriots. Pinch hitter John Boutwell delivered a single to right, and MacDonald walked to load the bases. Sylvester stepped in and walloped the ball into left center field for an inside the park grand slam. Sylvester's grand-slam gave the Patriots their only lead of the afternoon, and they would not look back.
Right-handed reliever Logan Kuzmitch(two strikeouts) came on in the seventh inning, and picked up the save with a little help from his defense. Joe Quattrini hit a line-drive to the first-base side that was snared by a diving Kevin Powell for the final out.
"It is nice to see the bottom half of the order come through," said Bartelson. "Tony(Sylvester) has been struggling a bit, and I didn't expect him to clear the bases with an inside park home run. We will take it any way we can get it. We'll take it. A win is a win, and it is something to build on."