SHIRLEY -- On Monday night, in the 9 and under Cal Ripken District 3 and 5 tournament final, the champion was the team that best cashed in its opportunities.
Ayer-Shirley put runners on base all night -- 13, to be exact -- but never was able to push one across the plate. On the other side, Marlboro capitalized on their chances, scoring six of their 10 runners, claiming a 6-0 victory and the title in the four-day tournament.
In the top of the first, Ayer-Shirley had the first of many chances go by the board. Ryan Horgan started things off with a single and Jake Gerace followed by reaching on an error. Jonny Pinard then drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Marlboro starter Tyler Dossas then bore down and single-handedly kept the game scoreless. The hard throwing righty struck out the next three batters, stranding all three runners.
Marlboro had a chance to break the ice in the home half of the frame. With two outs, Ben Morris laced a double to left field before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Ayer-Shirley starter Chris Rooney came up with a big punch out of his own, getting a swinging strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to strand the runner 60 feet from home to end an action-packed and scoreless first inning.
Both pitchers worked 1-2-3 second innings before Ayer-Shirley threatened once again in the top of the third. After Dossas recorded a pair of strikeouts, running his streak to eight consecutive, Pinard drew a walk and advanced to third when Rooney
After escaping the jam, Marlboro picked up the game's first two runs in the bottom of the third. Cam Hunt led off with a double before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Matt Farrell then drove home the game's first run with a groundout to make it 1-0. With two outs, Dossas lifted a 1-1 pitch down the right field line and out of the park for a solo home run to give Marlboro a two-run lead.
Once again, Ayer-Shirley put together a rally in the fourth, only to be turned away. Morris came on in relief and gave up a leadoff double walk to Sean Doyle and a double to Jack Pedreschi. After a strikeout, Brandon Consalvo reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. A pop up was then hit to shortstop, invoking the infield fly rule. The ball was dropped and the runner on third tried to score, but Dossas fired a strike to Jake Naples at the plate to cut the runner down and turn an unconventional double play to end the inning.
A three-spot in the bottom of the fourth opened up the advantage for Marlboro. C.J. Cormier doubled and scored when he alertly scored from second on a Jake Ginnetti sacrifice bunt. Farrell (single) and Jason Short (double) provided run-producing hits as Marlboro's lead was now 5-0.
Morris worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, recording an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded. In the sixth, an error put a runner on second, but Morris got a groundout and fly out to center to end the game and give Marlboro the championship.
Dossas got the win on the hill, allowing no runs on two hits while walking two and striking out nine in addition to his home run at the plate. Morris got the save, working three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out two and adding two doubles and a run scored at the plate. Farrell added a single, run scored and two runs-batted-in in the winning effort.
Rooney, Gerace and Pedreschi each had a double to lead the Ayer-Shirley offense. Horgan had a single while Pinard drew a pair of walks. Muse MacLaughlin was solid in relief, allowing one unearned run on one hit in an inning and a third of work.