AYER -- Sophomore starter Danny Baldino carried the Panthers with a complete-game three-hit, eight-strikeout performance, but it was not enough as the Panthers fell to Maynard 2-1. "We lost to Maynard by a total of three runs in two games," said Callanan. "They are a state tournament team. We are right there, but we didn't hit enough today. We certainly fielded and pitched well, but there are three phases of the game that you have to do well in. Today we just fell short."
Ayer-Shirley mustered just three-hits off Maynard starter Joey Westerman.
Maynard used a sac-fly from Westerman in the sixth inning to plate the eventual game-winning run.
Westerman threw a complete-game three-hitter and fanned six to pick up the win.Baldino struggled to find command of his curve-ball against Maynard lead-off man Rob Oliphant. Oliphant worked a 3-1 count, and walked to start the game.
Baldino found his groove and retired the next three batters he faced. Baldino baffled Mike Fitzgerald and Brian Demars back-to-back with fastballs down-and-away for the final two outs of the inning.
Monday's game quickly undertook the makings of a pitcher's duel as Westerman's fastball nibbled the outside corner to retire Alex Walker and Joey Holmes to start the home-half of the first. Ayer-Shirley went down one-two-three, and the score remained 0-0 after one.
The game would remain scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Larter pinch-hit for Seth Newell.
Larter tapped home an RBI, when his dribbler landed deep in the hole at short to bring home Baldino from third.
Maynard responded in the fifth as Oliphant reached on a walk to start the inning. Oliphant picked up a stolen base on the ensuing pitch, and advanced to third on a throwing error.
On the next play, Ayer-Shirley catcher Jake Hannon attempted a throw-down to third, but the ball sailed into left-field, which allowed Oliphant to come across with the game-tying run to make it 1-1.
The Panthers left Alex Calabrese stranded after he drew a one-out walk in the fifth inning. Maynard plated the eventual game-winning run in the sixth-inning on a Westerhouse sacrifice-fly to left-center field, which brought home Fitzgerald.
Baldino roped a one-out single in the sixth-inning, but that would be the only offense the Panthers would get for the remainder of the game. Ayer-Shirley went down one-two-three in the seventh, as Westerhouse held on for the complete game three-hitter.
Baldino went 2-for-2 at the dish, with a run scored, and two walks.
Callanan said Maynard clearly had a game-plan in place for Baldino.
Ayer-Shirley will play its final game of the year Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., when it travels to Bromfield.