LUNENBURG -- Pinch-hitter Adam Nano dug in and walloped a 2 RBI single through the left side plating Jason Booth and Dave Broden with the eventual game winning runs as the Blue Knights came from behind to top Ayer Shirley, 4-3, Friday afternoon at Marshall Park. Ayer Shirley held a 3-0 lead after five-and-a-half, but the Blue Knights batted around in the sixth to stun the Panthers.
"We have three games next week," Ayer Shirley head coach Scott Callanan said. "We have to put this one behind us. The kids are disappointed, but I believe in them. Lunenburg got some confidence in the sixth inning, that's how rallies start. Our pitchers were pitching out of the stretch and leaving pitches up -- and, they were teeing off."
Ayer Shirley drew first blood in the top of first inning. Lead-off man Kyle jumper reached on a scorching single to left field and advanced to second on a throwing error. Jumper trotted to third on a wild pitch and would later score on a sacrifice ground-out by Danny Baldino (2-for-2, RBI, 2 runs scored) to make it 1-0, Panthers.
Ayer Shirley starting pitcher Michael Tonelli(4.1 IP, 2 runs, 3 strikeouts) served up a two-out line drive single to three-hole hitter, Marc Poirier, in the Lunenburg first, but the Blue Knights failled to capitalize.
Stacy seized the reins in the second inning by striking out two and recording a put out on a chopper back to the mound. Ayer Shirley's second run came in the fourth inning on a slicing liner to right field by lefty first baseman Elric Cahill.
The Cahill single brought home a diving Baldino, who scampered around from third to make it 2-0. Bobby Lawton peppered a double down the left field line past the diving Poirier at third.
Lawton was left stranded at second as Stacy found his groove striking out Alex Calabrese and Austin Schmalz to retire the side. Lunenburg designated hitter Ryan Proctor roped a line drive towards second that looked like it might drop in for a base-hit, but Schmalz elevated and snared the ball for the first out of the fourth.
Stacy helped his own cause with a blistering double that rolled down the right field line.
Stacy was left at second as Tonelli retired the next two batters he faced to complete the inning unscathed. Ayer Shirley picked up one more insurance run in the sixth on a Lawton infield single to the third base side, which brought around Baldino to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Panthers appeared to be in cruise control heading into the sixth, but a booming double to dead centerfield by lead-off man Jeremy Nash (2-for-3, double) helped give the Blue Knights the boost they needed.
Lunenburg went through its order in the sixth amassing four runs on five hits in the inning to stun Ayer Shirley. The Blue Knights out-hit Ayer Shirley, 9-6.
"I liked the fight in our kids," he said. "The fact that kids were playing out of position and did a good job today. I used some of our JV kids in today's game, and they did a nice job. Nobody has a reason to have their heads down after this one. We had the lead and we lost it."