It didn’t take long for the Springfield College baseball team to get the offense going. Freshman Mark Joao stepped up to the batters box, hit a grounder to second and hustled to first, leading to a passed ball which allowed him to advance to second. After a wild pitch by MCLA, Joao advanced to third, which set up a single by senior CJ Monroe. The Pride set the tone right from the beginning of the game, leading to a 5-4 victory.
The Trailblazers went right to work following the 1-0 lead the Pride held. Chase Preite lead off the second inning with a double to left-center, and later on scored from a single to left field by Ryan Grande in the top of the second inning.
In the top of the third, MCLA continued to pour on the runs. Mike Sullivan lead off the inning with a single to right-center field, and was followed by an error from the third baseman Joao.
The Trailblazers took advantage of the poor defense, as Grande brought home two with a two out single, giving MCLA a 3-1 lead.
The Pride weren’t fazed by errors or the offense from MCLA, coming back with two runs in the bottom half of the third inning. Corey Wilcox drove in Colin King with an RBI single, putting runners on the corners.
Robert Jutras, the starting pitcher for the Trailblazers, seemed rattled throughout that inning. Hitting back-to-back batters, Monroe, and Keith Cotnoir, the Pride pushed across two runs to tie the game up at three.
After a quiet fourth inning for both teams, MCLA took the lead in the top of the fifth. A leadoff walk to first basemen Tyler Benoit, who crushed a homerun foul in the fourth, scored on a chopper to third base.
Down 4-3, the Pride yet again battled. A leadoff single from Shane O’Leary, followed by a triple from Monroe, truly was the difference maker in this game.
“We were down and tried to get back into it, I was looking for anything decent at the plate,” Monroe said. “I happened to get a good pitch up in the air, drove it, and tied the game.”
Following his triple, Cotnoir hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Monroe scored as the Pride quickly, and again, took the lead 5-4.
After a long battle, the bats seemed to quiet down. Tyler Kelly, the starting pitcher for Springfield, settled into a groove. Shutting down the Trailblazers for the next two innings before being replaced by Kenny Manero.
Manero showed good control on his breaking pitches in his one inning of work, fooling hitters with a sharp curveball and a hard dipping changeup.
“Our pitchers did what they needed to do to keep us in the game, and our offense didn’t fail us,” head Coach Mark Simeone said. “The game isn’t over until it’s over, you take things one inning at a time and believe you have a chance.”
Despite having three errors in the game, the Pride settled down defensively and earned the win over MCLA.
“Errors happen, you just have to shake it off and get ready for the next pitch,” Simeone said. “The next opportunity is potentially 15 seconds away, so we just ask that they shake it off.”
Springfield celebrated their eighth win of the season after a game-ending groundout from the dangerous Benoit in the top of the ninth with one runner on.
“We haven’t had too many wins this season, so I’m glad we got this one,” Simeone said.
The Pride has four more games this season, all at home. With a much-needed win now under their belt, they look forward to take on Amherst in a double-header Saturday May 2, starting at 2p.m.