AYER-The Panthers are still searching for that elusive first win of the season, after falling to Assabet Valley 5-4 in a non-league contest.
Ayer-Shirley quickly saw a three-run lead vanish, as the Aztecs exploded for three runs in the top of the sixth inning, and escaped with the win.
"They beat us," said Ayer-Shirley head coach Scott Calanan. "We played pretty sharp in the field, and pitched well. They (Assabet) were resilient. We started three freshmen, and they played very well."
Sophomore Danny Baldino led the Panthers at the plate with a three-for-four with a double and 1 RBI.
Ayer-Shirley starter Kyle Jumper, turned in a solid performance on the hill for the panthers striking out three, and allowing five runs on six hits in the loss.
Jumper retired the Aztecs in order in the first inning striking out John Starke on a curve ball to start the afternoon.
Right fielder Luke Snyder screamed a triple into center field, but was left stranded 90-feet away as Jake Hannon flew out to end the inning.
Jumper walked Corey McNair to start the second,
but he would be bailed out by Baldino a batter later. Assabet designated hitter Will Brodeur hit a high chopper to short. Baldino fielded the ball cleanly stepped on the bag, and gunned down Brodeur at first to complete the double play.
Jumper managed to get out of the inning unscathed after allowing a hit to left field by Travis Divoll. The Panthers went quietly in the bottom half of the inning, stranding Elric Cahill who walked to start the inning.
Snyder recorded all three outs in right field during the third inning, as the Aztecs managed to tally only a single to center field by the pitcher Kevin Curley.
Ayer-Shirley's bats started to ping in the bottom of the third as they strung together three runs on three hits in the inning. Baldino scorched a single into right field that plated Alex Walker from second base.
Walker had walked earlier in the inning, and hurdled over Divoll to score the game's first run, and give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Snyder stepped up and blasted a single into shallow center field, and he later scored on a single to left by Hannon.
Baldino would score on a passed ball to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead after three.
Assabet Valley got one run back in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Brodeur which brought home McNair, who reached on an error. Jumper recovered nicely after giving up the run by striking out Divoll, and getting Tom Walsh to pop out to Cahill at first.
Ayer-Shirley held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. The Panthers were unable to string together anything offensively in the bottom half of the inning.
Assabet chipped away at the Panthers' slim lead getting one back in the fifth on an RBI single to center field by Zach Downing, which brought the deficit down to 3-2.
Pinch hitter, Brian Waite screamed a line drive to short that was bobbled by Zach May. Waite's infield hit scored Baldino from the second, and gave the Panthers a little insurance at 4-2.
In the sixth inning, Divoll broke the game wide open with a demoralizing triple into left field that plated two runs, and sparked the Aztecs rally.
Walsh would score Divol on a Sacrifice-Fly to center field, as Assabet took the 5-4 lead.
Ayer-Shirley was unable to mount a comeback in the seventh inning, as aggressive mistakes did them in. Walker was caught stealing at second after singling to begin the inning.
Baldino doubled to left field, but he was left stranded to end the game.
The Panthers will face Murdock at home Monday, at 3:30 p.m.