AYER – Ayer Shirley has been practically running away with the Montachusett Senior Baseball League this summer, as it entered Sunday’s game with Leominster at Pirone Park.
Leominster starter Chris Kay, a 6-foot-5 southpaw held the Panthers in check in a complete game effort. Kay fanned seven Panthers and scattered six hits in the Blue Devils 5-2 upset win over Ayer Shirley.
The Panthers were led at the dish by Brad Saltsman, who was 2 for 3 with a single and a one-run double.
Ayer Shirley’s starting pitcher, Saltsman, walked home the game’s first run in the opening frame. Saltsman walked two and hit a batter to load the bases. But, the former Littleton High standout managed to mitigate the damage. He induced a groundout to Jerry Richards and fanned Kay to end the inning trailing 1-0.
The Panthers equalized on a rocket up the middle by Saltsman that squirted into center field, which allowed catcher Brian Harding (walk) to come across from third to make it 1-1.
Leominster padded its lead with four runs on two hits and two errors in the second. The Blue Devils chased Saltsman from the hill with one out and the bases loaded. Danny Baldino entered the game and served up an RBI single to left-center by Matteo Chacon.
Leominster added two more on a two-run double to deep center field by Dom Fusco that scored Chacon and Matt Dupuis (reached on throwing error).
Kay entered the bottom of the second with a comfortable 4-1 lead. Ayer Shirley’s Alex Calabrese reached on a single. Jarrod Oberg tapped a grounder to the right side, which resulted in a 6-4-3 double play. Kay retired Alex Walker on a towering shot to centerfield that was hauled in for the final out of the inning.
Baldino knocked home the Panthers’ final run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly that scored Saltsman,who reached on a double to right-center field.
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