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Week 11: Plugs Topple Goats, Grays Nip Phils, Wonders Rally Past Topes

Rob Eccleston smashes a double to left to propel the Plugs to victory

Fainting Goats 6

Plug Uglies 7

WP: Greg Elbaum

LP: Todd Neumann

The heavy rain pounding Western Mass took a brief hiatus so the Fainting Goats and the Plug Uglies could face off Thursday night at "The Herl" for their third match up of the year. The Uglies sent Greg "G Bomb" Elbaum to the mound against Goats fireballer Todd Neumann. The game was anything but ordinary, and turned out to be another classic Goats/Uglies nail bitter.

Elbaum cruised through the first three innings giving up just two hits. On the other side it looked like the Goats were employing the "opener" strategy by having Neumann, usually the Goats closer, start the game for an inning or two. To the astonishment of the Uglies bench, Neumann kept pitching into the 3rd inning and onward, bringing his blazing fastball and crazy fast curve ball with him. The Uglies knew their work was cut out for them.

In the second inning, Jeff Cabana reached on a fielders choice and was knocked in by Rob "Ecc" Eccleston. Uglies 1, Goats 0 after two innings.

In the top of the fourth G-Bomb ran into trouble. Jim McLaren deposited a bloop single into right centerfield, Tony Maspo singled, then Josh Weiss singled: suddenly the bases were loaded with no outs. Tom Conway reached on a fielder's choice, but McLaren was out trying to score from third. Neumann singled and drove in Maspo. Then, with the bases still loaded, Hector Arroyo worked a walk out of Elbaum to bring in another run. G-Bomb was able to induce a ground ball to get out of the bases loaded jam to end the top of the fourth, limiting the damage to two runs. In the bottom of the fourth Newman seemed to be getting stronger, putting the Uglies down 1-2-3, including two strikeouts. After the end of four it was the Goats 2, Uglies 1.

In the fifth G-Bomb found more trouble by walking Eddie "The Problem" Esposito, then having him advance to second and third on two wild pitches. Dennis Holmes singled, and another wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with one out. Just like the previous inning Elbaum kept his poise and pitched out of the jam, ending his day on the mound after five innings pitched.

In the bottom of the fifth the Uglies finally caught up to Neumann's heat. With one out Jeff Whitehead reached on an error and stole second. Then Jeff Cabana was hit by pitch (a fastball few other Plug Uglies could've walked away from!). Then up came Uglies rookie Ecc, who blasted a double that almost went into the Herlihy parking lot, scoring both base runners. Eric Bennett walked and stole second, then Steve Wall singled to drive in Eccleston. Nolan Anaya singled, driving in another run, making it six batters in a row reaching base. Chris "Chaka" Scanlon singled in another run. With Anaya on third, Neumann threw a wild pitch and Anaya came in from third to score (this wound up to be the critical play of the game). Neumann finally induced a K for the third out, and at end of five innings it was Plug Uglies 7, Fainting Goats 2.

The excitement was far from over. In the top of the sixth, the Goats mounted a two out rally to climb right back into the game against Plugs reliever Jeff Whitehead. Maspo was hit by pitch, then Josh Weiss hit a monster double to put two runners in scoring position. Tom "TC" Conway sliced a singled scoring two runs. Then Todd Neumann, helping his own cause, smashed a bomb to right centerfield that seemed destined for Long Island Sound. Neumann’s double drove in another run, and Jerold Duquette drove in Neumann with a single. In the middle of the sixth it was now a whole new ballgame, with the Uglies holding a tentative 7-6 lead.

Tom Conway took the mound in the bottom of the sixth, and Bill Evans led off with a double. But Conway kept the Goats in the game by sitting down the next three batters, including the last with a dramatic strikeout, and denying the Uglies of a much-needed insurance run.

With victory in sight, the Goats started off the seventh with a single from Stu Clark. But Whitehead, who got roughed up in the sixth inning, settled down and retired the next three batters, including two strikeouts. The Uglies were able to pull off a tough win against the Never Say Die Goats. Final score Plug Uglies 7, Fainting Goats 6. And shortly after buckets of rain pounded every baseball field in Western Mass...

Goat players of the game: Todd Neumann (3-3, 2 RBI, 5 innings pitched, 6 Ks) & Tom Conway (1-3, 2 RBI). Ugliest Players of the Game: Rob Eceleston (2-2, 2 RBI) & Nolan Anaya (2-2, 1 RBI, 1 SB)

Game photos courtesy of Stu Clark

Grays 6

Phillies 5

WP: Rick Fleurent

LP: Colin Hosley

The Dorian Grays and Phillies finally faced off this week at Mitchell Field in Holyoke. It was a much-anticipated battle between the second place Phils and undefeated Grays. Chris Bernacki started for the Grays, Colin Hosley for the Phils.

The Phils struck first, scoring in each of the first four innings to take a 5-0 lead and looked to be cruising. But an offensive onslaught in the sixth, featuring doubles by Mitch Gaslin, John Malikowski, & Tim Sigda, set the stage for Jay "Supe" Sadowski who knocked in the game winning run, final score; Grays 6, Phillies 5.

The Grays were led by Ken Harwright (2-3, 2R), Tim Sigda (2-3, 2B, 2R), and Tim Bombard (2-2, BB). RIck Fleurent pitched well in relief, tossing three innings and not allowing a run. Leadoff batter, Micah Winston (2-2, 2R), set the tone for the Phillies.

The Grays remain undefeated going into the final week, but will meet the Phillies two more times to makeup their rained-out games from earlier in the season.

Wonders 5

Isotopes 4

P: Nabil Hannoush

LP: Gary Webber

The Wonders win their first game at School Street Field in Agawam! It took them almost three seasons to break "The Brownie's" curse.

The Isotopes executed well-played small ball in the bottom of the third, plating two runs on a base hit, sacrifice bunt, walk, another single, squeeze bunt hit and a sacrifice fly, but the Wonders squeeze out the win by scoring two in the top of the sixth.

Shortstop Tod Garfield's RBI double drove in third baseman Shawn Thompson, who scored his third run of the game. Next, center fielder Scott Taylor blasted another RBI double for what proved to be the game-winning run. Nabil Hannoush pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Wonders. Gary Webber went the distance for the 'Topes.

Game photos courtesy of Andy Ayres

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