LEOMINSTER — Townsend finished the regular season on a low-note with its 15-1 loss to the Leominster Dodgers Sunday afternoon at Doyle Field.
It was a throw-away game of sorts for both clubs as the Dodgers finish the season in second-place while Townsend slips into fifth-place.
Townsend was rewarded with a run in the first inning, when an RBI single by Jim Arthur plated Chris Dube, who led off the game with a single. Second baseman Jim MacArthur bounced into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, as Townsend carried what would be its only lead of the afternoon, 1-0, into the bottom of the first.
Astros starter Pat Meile surrendered back-to-back singles to Chris Schcaule and Dave Nickleof. Dave Montacqilo skied a sacrifice fly to deep center field, which brought across Schcaule with the tying run.
Joe Balducci cleared the bases with his 2 RBI double-bagger that plopped down in the corner in left field, which put the hosts up 3-1. Dube had a stellar first inning defensively with a pair of sliding grabs in left.
Astros catcher Dan Considine blasted a deep single to center field but he was left stranded, as Charlie LeBlanc chopped out on a come-backer to end the frame.
Leominster blew the game wide-open in the bottom of the third. Dwayne Robare feasted on a 1-2 change-up from Meile and blasted a line drive grand slam over the left field wall to put the Dodgers up 9-1.
After the third, the ballgame started to get out of hand. Despite the lopsided score, the Astros continued to yuck it up on the bench and played with pride. Arthur stroked a loud and long single to deep center field but he was called out on a force play at second.
The bleeding continued for the Astros in the bottom half of the inning as the Dodgers hung five more runs, three of which were with two outs. Player/manager Leo LeClair turned the ball over to the left-hander Joe Manago. Manago surrendered just two runs after entering with the bases loaded.
Townsend failed to get the offense going in the fifth inning despite making solid contact on the ball. Manago led off the inning with a blast to the warning track, but it was secured by the right fielder for the first out. As the old adage goes, “hit it where they’re not,” — well, the Astros certainly did not do that. Considine stroked a well-hit laser to left field, but it was directly at the left fielder.
Next, LeBlanc smoked a shot back at the second baseman as the Astros’ bad luck continued to keep them off the scoreboard.
Townsend qualifies for the playoffs with its 9-7 record. The top eight teams make it to the postseason, and the Astros are one of them.