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Shirley Hawks soar into Majors-60 finals with win over Dunstable-2

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SHIRLEY — In 2013, the Shirley Hawks put up prolific offensive numbers, averaging over 10 runs per-game en route to an 11-1 record. But on Tuesday night, it was their pitching that carried them. Behind the three-headed monster of Nate Hunt, Jonny Pinard and Andrew Consalvo, Shirley quieted the Dunstable-2 bats throughout, claiming a 4-2 victory to advance to the Majors 60 championship.

Hunt got things rolling for the Hawks, working a 1-2-3 top of the first, including a pair of strikeouts. In the home half of the frame, Shirley threatened to get on the board. With one-out, Jonny Pinard and Russell Thompson produced back-to-back singles. Andrew Consalvo then reached on a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners, before a wild pitch put the runners in motion. Dunstable-2 catcher Jon Eisenklam, quickly recovered and flipped the ball to pitcher Max Trawick at the plate, who applied the tag on the runner to end the inning.

After coming close in the first, the Hawks scratched together a run in the bottom of the second. With two outs, C.J. Holmes lofted a fly ball that landed just inside the leftfield foul line. Hustling out of the box, Holmes turned that hit into a double, before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Jake Gerace then hit a slow roller to third, beating out the throw and bringing Holmes across the plate to give Shirley a 1-0 lead.

Dunstable-2 responded by tying it up in the third. Pinard, who worked a 1-2-3 second inning, recorded the first out of the third on a strikeout before Derek LaRiviere drew a walk. A pair of wild pitches moved LaRiviere up to third, and Trawick drew a free pass and stole second to put two runners in scoring position. A wild pitch allowed LaRiviere to score and during the scramble after the play, the second runner tried to score, but Pinard put the tag on him in front of the plate to end the inning and keep it a 1-1 game.

In the home half of the fourth, the Hawks took advantage of an error and got a timely hit to reclaim the lead for good. With one out, Pinard was hit by a pitch and Russell Thompson drew a walk. Kyle Plausse came on in relief and got a pop out for the second out, before a wild pitch moved both runners up. An errant throw back to the mound made its way towards centerfield, allowing Pinard to score and put Thompson on third. Deklan Heinz then battled his way to a full count, eventually lining the eighth pitch of his at-bat down the leftfield line for an RBI double to give Shirley a 3-1 advantage.

Andrew Consalvo struck out the side in relief in the fourth inning, but ran into some trouble in the fifth. With one out, Plausse drew a walk, but Andrew Consalvo came back to record a strike out for the second out. Plausse then broke for second and was safe on a dropped throw that went into centerfield. The throw to third was errant, allowing Plausse to come all the way around to score, drawing Dunstable-2 within one at 3-2.

Holding a one-run edge, the Hawks came up with an important insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Jake Pedreschi singled and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. Brandon Consalvo walked and stole second before Aidan Lannane beat out an infield single, scoring Pedreschi. Danny Flemming followed up with a walk to load the bases, but Plausse got a tapper back to the mound to strand all three runners and keep it a two-run contest.

The sixth inning saw Hunt come back in to close things out for Shirley. After issuing a lead-off walk to Dougie Tompkins, Hunt picked up consecutive strikeouts, but Trawick delivered Dunstable-2’s first and only hit of the game, and Noelle St. Germain walked to load the bases. Hunt sealed the deal though, getting a grounder back to the mound to end the game and move the Hawks into the Finals.

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