LEOMINSTER -- Thursday's Central Mass Over 40 league game had it all. It had home runs, stellar defensive plays, and yes, even a working scoreboard.
The Townsend Astros moved into second-place with an 11-3 drumming of the Worcester Wolves. Ron Pelletier started an eight-run, fifth inning with a solo home run over the left field fence, which proved to be the demoralizer for the Wolves.
"Well, we finally had some base-runners," said player/manager Leo LeClair. "We decided to keep everybody moving by using a little bit of small-ball, run, steal to put a little more pressure on the defense to execute, and it worked out for us."
But it was not as easy as it looked on paper. LeClair whiffed two Wolves, while allowing three hits through four innings.
The LeClair-led Townsend defense sent the Wolves back to the dugout in order. Astros third-baseman Jim Arthur recorded back-to-back charging catches for the first and second outs of the inning. LeClair then induced a ground-out to second by Worcester's Tom Boyer for the final out.
Astros lead off man Chris Dube stroked a single right up the gut of the infield, but he would be left stranded 90 feet away. Wolves hurler Jim Gillon located his off-speed stuff with precision in the opening frame. Gillon's curve-ball caused both Dave Pelletier and Arthur to ground-out for the final outs of the inning.
Goose eggs hung on the scoreboard heading into the second and it would remain that way if the Astros had its way. Doug Nashold hit a chopper back to the mound and LeClair pounced on the ball with cat-like grace. LeClair fired a strike over to Dube at first for the first out of the second.
Joel Peters broke up LeClair's no-hit bid with a scorcher into left center field. Peters was left stranded at first, as LeClair gobbled up the strike zone, and mowed down Pat Herrington and Steve Thibault to conclude the inning.
The Wolves produced a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the second, as the game remained scoreless after two-and-a-half. Townsend's defense continued to steal the show in the third inning, as LeClair allowed a two-out single to Gillon, but it wouldn't amount to anything.
Dube stroked an RBI double to deep left field, which allowed Pat Meile to sneak in the backdoor and put the Astros out in front, 2-0. Meile (2-for-2 RBI) singled to start the inning and was a solid force at the plate for the Astros all evening. LeClair would later come across to score on an RBI double up the middle by Dave Pelletier.
Townsend handed the ball over to Arthur in the fifth inning, and the Wolves made him pay. Arthur left a fastball out over the fat part of the dish, and Ron Halliwel blasted it over the right-center field wall for a two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2.
Arthur settled in after allowing the homer to Halliwel and kept the damage to just two runs. Ron Pelletier gave the Astros the lead for good with one-swing of the bat.
Ron Pelletier sent a Boyer fastball slicing into the humid night sky, well over the left field fence, for a solo home run. That is when the Astros breached the floodgates. Townsend exploded for six more runs on four hits.
"Ronnie has always been clutch for us," LeClair said on Ron Pelletier's fifth-inning home run. "It was nice. I think that kind of opened the floodgates a little for us. Their starting pitcher really kinda stifled us for the first four innings. Ronnie is pretty steady for us, he is always a .400, .500 hitter."
Townsend took a more than comfortable eight-run advantage into the sixth, and the Wolves were unable to cash in. The Astros scooped up another insurance run in the home half of the inning on an RBI single by Sean Gaurin, which plated Julio Maldonado. The Wolves added a run in the seventh inning on a fielder's choice, but it was not enough, as the Astros improve to 7-3 on the season.
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