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Migrants answers the call to lead Panthers past Lunenburg


Ayer 8

Lunenburg 4

LUNENBURG — With the season now turned into a sprint thanks in part to Mother Nature’s cruel treatment over the last week and a half, Ayer baseball coach Jim Welch called upon an unexpected starter Thursday afternoon. Out of necessity, Derek Migrants got the call on the hill for the Panthers and just how the senior would perform was a question mark.

All Migrants did was be masterful. Behind a powerful fastball and some great off-speed pitches, Migrants kept Lunenburg off balance for six-plus innings, allowing only three hits in leading Ayer to an 8-4 win.

”Today, I called upon Derek and told him I needed him on the mound and he performed big time for us,” said Welch. “He did a great job out there and Will Comerford did a nice job of calling the game. It was a big time performance when we needed one.”

The Panthers got on the board early, striking for a run in the top of the first. Comerford led off the game with a single before stealing second and advancing to third on an errant throw. With one out, Migrants helped his cause with an RBI groundout to make it a 1-0 game.

Migrants worked a 1-2-3 first inning and stranded a runner in the second, getting a strike out and fly out to end the threat.

In the third, Ayer added two more runs to their advantage. Comerford led off the frame with a single before stealing second. Jon Bollinger followed with a bunt single and on the play, Comerford scored when the throw went into right field. Two batters later, John Shivo delivered an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.

After a John Minnich RBI single in the fourth pushed the advantage to 4-0, Migrants worked his way out of his first real jam. In the bottom of the fourth, the Blue Knights got a two-out walk by John Poirier and Atticus Perry reached on an error to put two on. Migrants buckled down and got a weak tapper back to the mound to escape the jam.

The Panthers didn’t let up and added to their advantage with two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

Shivo delivered the big hit in the fifth, knocking in Bollinger and Migrants with a single. In the sixth, it was Comerford who plated Kenny Rollins and Minnich with a base hit as the lead grew to 8-1.

An infield single in the fifth by Matt Galloway scored Dan Poirier and broke up the shutout for Migrants, but the he settled down and worked a perfect sixth. In the seventh, Migrants walked the lead-off hitter before being removed. The line for Migrants was exceptional as the senior went 6+ innings, allowing one earned run, three hits and five walks while striking out four.

Bollinger came on in relief and was greeted rudely as Tyler Champagne (double) and Dan Poirier (single) came up with run producing hits. After a strikeout, Galloway doubled and Jim Yebba lifted a sacrifice fly that made it 8-4. John Poirier then hit a looping fly ball to right that was hauled in by a sliding Korey Lawrence for the final out as Ayer improved to 7-4 with the victory.

”We got some clutch hits today from Will and John and everybody made solid contact,” said Welch. “This was one of our better defensive efforts of the year and this was just a solid all-around win.”

Comerford (two runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases) and Shivo (three RBI) paced the Panthers offense with three singles each. Rollins finished with two singles and two runs scored while Bollinger (two runs scored) and Minnich (run scored and RBI) each added a base hit.

Galloway led the Lunenburg offense with a double, single and RBI. Dan Poirier added a walk, two singles, two runs scored and an RBI while Josh Geswell walked three times and scored a run.