GROTON- Groton-Dunstable was riding high following a stellar showing on the road at Quabbin, where they amassed 16 runs.Trailing by two runs going into the seventh inning, Groton-Dunstable enjoyed a magical performance from the top of their lineup. Seniors Adam Kmetz and Michael Keating starred in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Keating stepped up to the plate with nobody out, and slashed a single into center to plate the game winning run in Kmetz to lift Groton-Dunstable past Murdock 5-4, on a blustery Saturday afternoon.
Groton-Dunstable starter Alex Dihonis went the distance, and mixed his pitches brilliantly striking out four, while walking just two. Dihonis surrendered just two unearned runs, and seven hits in a gem of a performance.
"I think Alex (Dihonis) set the tone right off the start from the mound," said Groton-Dunstable head coach Matt LeBlanc. "We got the hitting when we needed it, and the kids stepped up. "
Dihonis made quick work of the Blue Devils line-up in the first inning, allowing a two-out single to Larry Agnelli. The
Crusaders defense helped Dihonis get out of the inning unscathed, as Tyler Perry was punched out by the shortstop Kmetz for the final out of the frame.
Kmetz scooted across to score on a ground out by Keating for the second out. That would be all the Crusaders would get in the inning, as Josh Acaba found himself stranded at second, following a ground out by Dihonis to end the inning.
Dihonis was grinding in the second, and he received a little help from the middle of the infield, as Dean McCann and company turned a stellar 4-6-3 double-play to end the inning.
Groton-Dunstable had a monster second inning with back-to-back one out hits by McCann, and Ben Butler. McCann smacked a blooper that caught the jet stream in right field to wake up the sticks. Butler followed that up with a double to right-center field, which set the stage for the designated hitter Bradley Zadrozny.
Zadrozny picked up the RBI with a sacrifice fly to deep left field that plated McCann from third. Butler scurried home on a wild-pitch by Suchoski.
Groton-Dunstable took a 3-0 lead into the third inning.
An Agnelli single brought home the center fielder, Jake Santiago from second to cut the Crusaders' lead to 3-1. Santiago reached on a single,and an error to begin the inning.
Groton-Dunstable went down silently in the third, leaving Acaba who singled earlier in the inning stranded 90-feet away. Dihonis struck out to end the inning, as he haphazardly flailed at a change-up by Suchoski.
Murdock plated two runs in the top of the fourth inning on two hits, and an error. The Blue Devils enjoyed timely hitting by Justin Smith with a double, and an RBI single by Santiago to take the 4-3 lead.
Dihonis rebounded nicely with a wicked curve that caught the designated hitter Tim Enright window shopping to end the inning.
Groton-Dunstable seized the reins in the bottom half of the inning, as Kmetz screamed a liner up the shoot to start the inning, and advanced on a throwing error.
Kmetz stole third, and finished the game with two on the day. The squeeze play was there, but Keating decided to end it, as he shellacked a high fastball by Suchoski into the left center to plate the game winning run in Kmetz.
The Crusaders were led at the dish by Keating, who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, and a 2-for 3 performance by Acaba. Zadrozny, and Kmetz each drove in a run in the win for the Crusaders.
"I went up to the box, and coach gave me the suicide sign," said a smiling Keating on his game winning hit. "I had in my head already that there is no way I'm doing that. I am hitting this ball."
Groton-Dunstable moves 3-4 on the season, while the Blue Devils drop to 0-2.