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SHIRLEY — One of the most common complaints about major league baseball is how long and tedious the games are. The formula for a quick, fast-paced and exciting game was on display when the Groton Rockies visited Shirley for a MacIntosh Major League playoff matchup. Keyed by strong pitching, complete with plenty of strikes, backed up by solid defense, the Hawks eked out a tough 2-1 win in just over an hour.

Shirley got superb pitching from a trio of hurlers, who each went two innings. Starter Owen Carpenter allowed one earned run and two hits while striking out three and walking none. Relief pitchers Elric Cahill (no hits, five strikeouts, two walks) and Kyle Jumper (no hits, five strikeouts, one walk) finished up strongly, Jumper earning the win when the Hawks overcame a 1-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Shirley’s pitching had to be on to record the win because complete-game pitcher Joe Simeone of the Rockies was also on his game. He carried a shutout until the fifth and allowed seven hits over five innings while striking out four and walking one.

The Rockies came out swinging and grabbed the lead with a run in the top of the first. Nate Forbes led off with a single. One out later, Simeone grounded out, but Forbes hustled all the way to third on the play. When Darren Gentile delivered a clutch, two out single, the Rockies led 1-0.

Simeone retired the first six hitters he faced and came up big defensively for the final out in the bottom of the second, making a diving stop of Brendon Keady’s ground ball and firing to first for the out.

The Hawks came through with a web gem of their own in the top of the second when Carpenter deflected Chris Werner’s hard ground ball to second baseman Noah Boudreau, who made a backhand stop and a strong throw to first.

The Rockies advanced runners to third in both the third and fourth innings, but Cahill notched inning-ending strikeouts to escape unscathed.

Shirley still trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth when they put together their decisive rally. Angelo Eramo led off with a single and moved to third on Cahill’s double. The Rockies came up with a big defensive play when Carpenter hit a ground ball to first as the throw came home and catcher David Murphy slapped the tag on the sliding runner for the first out. But the Hawks persisted, and back-to-back RBI singles by Keady and Jared Rouleu gave them a 2-1 lead. They were threatening to break the game open, but Simeone bore down and notched an inning-ending strikeout to keep his team within a run.

Chris Werner led off the top of the sixth by drawing a walk, and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, but Jumper struck out three consecutive hitters to seal the deal.

Rouleu was the only player in the game with more than one hit as he singled twice and drove in a run.