PEPPERELL — The top-seeded Pepperell Patriots led the No. 2 seed Tyngsboro (11-3) 2-1 through five innings, but the Tigers scored one in the sixth to force extra frames.
It was Tyngsboro who emerged with the Macintosh Summer Baseball Tournament championship with a 6-2 win.
“For me, it was just great to be playing summer baseball,” Pepperell head coach and tournament director Gary Gouldrup said. “We didn’t have to travel far. To have a championship game with an extra inning climax that either team could have won today. It doesn’t get much better than this. That’s the great thing about baseball; you can be one pitch away from being champions or losing.”
Nathan Bulkas scampered across with the eventual go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning for the Tigers at Kyle A. Bartelson Memorial Field in Pepperell.
“The game is funny — you just have to keep on believing that something good is going to happen,” Tyngsboro U9 head coach Mike O’Keefe said. “It doesn’t have to be a home run — sometimes it’s a bunt or a great defensive play. A kid hits a nice little base hit to right field and it gets the rest of the order confident.”
Pepperell starting pitcher Dennis Jelly made quick work of the first three batters. Jelly fielded a first-pitch chopper back to the mound and then struck out the third batter to end the inning unscathed.
Pepperell broke the ice with an RBI single through the right side by Dylan Littlefield, which plated Max Riordan from second, who singled earlier in the inning.
Jelly and company worked their way out of a jam with Tigers in scoring position and two outs.
Jelly fielded a come-backer and tossed out Jake Freelove at first. Jelly then retired the next batter looking to end the inning up 1-0.
Matt Wagner laced an RBI single to right field, which plated Tyngsboro’s first run in Ricky Lionhood. Lionhood reached safely with a walk.
The Pepperell defense settled in and did not allow another run until the sixth inning. Colby Gouldrup got Pepperell’s offensive juices flowing with a blistering line drive double to the gap in left centerfield.
He later scored on a sneaky RBI single from Archambault that crept through the right-side.
Colby Gouldrup came on in relief of Jelly, and he did not disappoint.
Colby struck out the first batter looking on a fastball that nipped the outside corner and followed it up with a swinging strikeout on an off-speed pitch.
The hard throwing right-hander issued a walk to Jake Freelove, who advanced to second base on a wild pitch.
Then Colby regrouped to whiff the next batter on a fastball down and away.
Matt Wagner blasted a two-out RBI double through the right side to plate Danny Butler from third base with the tying run.
Colby battled back valiantly to strike out Darren Pueschel for the final out of the inning.
Pepperell was in prime position to walk off its home field with the championship trophy in hand with runners at first and third with one out.
A gutsy call by Gary Gouldrup to send J.W. McDermott bounding from third, while the catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher, backfired. McDermott was narrowly called out at the dish for the final out of the sixth.
The Tyngsboro bats exploded for four runs on two hits in the seventh to put the Patriots’ championship hopes on ice.
“The composure of our kids really fascinated me,” Coach Gouldrup said. “The kids came into a big moment with a lot of pressure and a lot of noise and battled. They never quit, and I was very proud of their character. We are building character as much as we are trying to develop good baseball players.”