AYER — Ayer-Shirley played host to the Bromfield Trojans Monday afternoon in a Mid-Wach D league battle.
The Trojans saw a 2-0 lead slip away in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Ayer-Shirley seized the momentum with a four-run explosion, as they pulled past Bromfield 8-4.
Right fielder, Luke Snyder, led the Panthers at the plate with his three-for-four performance. Ayer-Shirley also received quality days from senior starting pitcher Kyle Larter. Larter went two-for-four with 2 RBI at the dish, along with a six-inning one-hit outing on the mound.
Ayer-Shirley head coach Scott Callanan said the Panthers need to be more confident going into the remaining schedule.
“It took us the second time around to get the offense going,” said Callanan. “We need to keep throwing strikes, and continue to be confident in our ability. We are better than what we have shown at times, and it is certainly coming together.”
Larter made quick work of the top of the Bromfield lineup in the first inning striking out Ethan Sprague and Mike Jakovitz to begin the game. Larter then allowed Zane Atwood and Ben Veno to reach on a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Nick George left Veno and Atwood stranded as he popped out to second to end the inning.
Bromfield starter Andre Webber mowed down the Panthers in order in the bottom of the first. The Trojans failed to capitalize on a walk issued to Brenden Keady to start the second.
Larter bounced back and caught Tommy Jakovitz looking with a curveball on the outside corner. Snyder flashed the glove on a fly ball right field and completed a 9-6 catch-and-shoot double-play to hose down Keady in no-man’s land and retire the side.
Bromfield’s defense was clicking on all cylinders in the bottom of the second, as Webber and company put together their second one-two-three inning of the afternoon. Webber fanned Jake Hannon and Joey Holmes to end the frame and keep the game scoreless.
The Trojans would take the lead in the top of the third inning on a nifty piece of hitting by senior third baseman Nick George. George shellacked the ball over the head of Ayer-Shirley centerfielder Alex Walker and it rolled into the brush in left-center for a ground-rule double.
George double-plated both Atwood and Mike Jakovitz who reached on a walk and an error earlier in the inning. Ayer-Shirley’s Chris Patano would come across to score in the bottom of the inning and bring the Panthers back within one. Walker was left stranded after he roped a two-out single up the middle. After three, Bromfield held a 2-1 lead.
Ayer-Shirley secured the lead in the fourth after it strung together five consecutive hits to start the inning. Callanan employed the hit-and-run and Larter executed the play to perfection as his directional poke to right brought across Snyder to tie the game at 2-2.
The Panthers were not done. Hannon would then scream a perfectly timed fastball up the middle to bring across Larter and take the lead. Ayer-Shirley tacked on another insurance run-in inning and led 4-2 after four.
Bromfield left two runners stranded in the fifth inning and Larter kept the Trojans hitless through the remainder of his outing. The Panthers utilized a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to provide some insurance. Ayer-Shirley shortstop, Seth Newell, started the inning with a single to center.
Sprague came on to pitch in the fifth inning for the Trojans and retired pinch hitter Tyler Mayo with a strikeout and Alex Calabrese flew out to short for the second out of the inning. Ayer-Shirley plated three straight runs after Baldino reached on a loud error to center field, which plated Newell and Walker.Baldino would later come across to score on a scorching double to right by Snyder, which put the Panthers up 8-2.
Holmes came on in relief in the seventh inning and Bromfield hung two more runs in the seventh inning before it was over on a sac-fly to center field by Veno to score Sprague from third.
Keady stroked an infield single RBI deep in the hole to short and brought home Mike Jakovitz to make it 8-4. That would be as close as the Trojans would get as their quest for the first win of the Fred McDonald era continues.
“We made a couple of errors and had that fall-apart inning,” said coach McDonald. “They are doing better, but all in all they are coming up. We are swinging the bat now. We are going to be OK.”