LEOMINSTER -- Having locked its trip to the postseason coming into Sunday's game, the 8-0 loss to the top-ranked Worcester Vipers had little impact on the Townsend Astros' future.
The Vipers roughed up Astros starter Leo LeClair for five runs in the second inning.
Townsend acted as the away team at Pin Canavino Field at McLaughlin Park. Townsend left fielder Chris Dube led off the game with a single to left field, but he was called out at second on a tight stolen base attempt on a 1-1 count to Ray O'Brien.
LeClair struck a steaming fastball in the middle of the plate directly at the right fielder for the final out of the inning.
Ben Sasso led off the bottom of the inning for Worcester with a single to the fence in left field. Sasso later scored on an RBI single from Pat Scavone, who advanced to second on an error.
Scavone scored on a sacrifice fly to deep left center field to make it 2-0 Vipers after one.
Townsend went down in order in the second and the Vipers made them pay in the bottom half of the inning. Worcester exploded for five runs on four hits. Mike Schwann laced a single up the middle and later scored on a bases-clearing triple to right field. Townsend right fielder Pat Meile made a diving bid at the sinking line drive by Scavone, but it dropped over his glove and rolled to the wall to bring three runs across to make it 7-0 Worcester after two.
Eric Johnson wrapped a single off the first base bag and into right field to start the third.
LeClair and the Townsend defense buckled down to shutout the potent Viper offense in the final four innings. LeClair plunked a batter on a 1-2 pitch between the shoulder blades and served up a single, but he managed to induce a pair of groundball outs to escape the inning unscathed.
Jimmy MacArthur struck a single down the first base line with two outs, but he was left stranded as Dube grounded out to second to end the inning.
MacArthur relieved LeClair in the fifth inning and pitched two innings of shutout baseball. The knuckle-baller struck out one, while allowing one hit.
LeClair picked up the loss for the Astros who finish the regular season in fourth-place at 12-7.
The Central Mass over 40 Baseball League schedule has yet to be released. The bottom four teams will hold a mini-tournament to determine the final playoff seed.
Townsend has outscored its opponents 117-92 through the course of 19 games.
Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.