The Springfield College baseball team finished with its second tie of the year, as a 5-5 stalemate could not be decided after 10 innings, forcing the umpires to call the game due to darkness.
“I thought we were the better team, but we didn’t do enough to beat (Fitchburg State),” Springfield head coach Mark Simeone said.
Going into the bottom of the eighth with a 2-2 tie, Springfield plated three runs to gain a comfortable 5-2 lead. Freshman Connor Santoianni drew a one out walk, followed by a base hit from Brandon Russo. Chad Shade came up and sent a high fly to left that Fitchburg State’s Andrew Currie did not haul in, advancing all runners 90 feet.
Matt Fraioli stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. After whiffing at the first pitch, the sophomore left the next four pitches and drew a walk to drive in the go-ahead run.
In the next at-bat, Jason Bean hit a sharp grounder to third that could have been the double play ball to get the Hawks out of the inning. The out was made at second, but Zachary Gull could not scoop the throw to first. While that was going on, Brandon Russo and Chad Shade scored, giving Springfield a three run lead heading to the ninth.
Duncan Satterlee relieved Cole Donovan in the ninth in attempt to get the save. A lead off base hit and a booted ball at third base gave Fitchburg State men on first and second with one out. The next batter hit a triple, driving in two runs, and came around to score on an RBI groundout to tie the game.
Through the next three half innings, no team posed any threats, resulting in a draw.
“You gotta play nine strong innings to beat these other teams. We had them beat and we gotta finish,” said left fielder Jack Cooney.
The freshman had a productive day at the plate, going 2-5 with a run. His ability to reach base creates ample scoring opportunities for the hitters behind him.
“(Jack Cooney) is an aggressive hitter, an intelligent player, and he got some hits for us early. He got on base with chances to knock him in, and we didn’t do it,” said Simeone.
With this performance, Cooney sits at a .400 batting average through 20 at-bats. He credits his aggressiveness to the strong start.
“Attack early in the count. Try to look for fastballs. Most pitchers try to get ahead and try to work off their fastballs,” said Cooney.
Early in the game, the Pride opened up the scoring with runs in the first and second innings. Shade reached on an error, swiped second and came in via sacrifice fly from Joao. That marks Shade’s ninth stolen base as he leads the NEWMAC.
Similar to the first inning, Cooney lifted a soft line drive past the second baseman and stole second with one out in the second inning. A few batters later, Russo chopped a ball to second that got misplayed and resulted in an error. Cooney scored and Russo advanced to second on the play.
That 2-0 lead quickly disintegrated as the Hawks rallied for runs in the fourth and fifth innings. With the bases loaded, Nick Naples gave up a sac fly, cutting Springfield’s lead, 2-1. Fortunately, he escaped the fourth with no further damage.
One inning later, Kyle Naples faced Brennan Cuddahy with a man on third and two outs. He threw a pitch that seemed to hit Cuddahy’s toe, but was ruled a wild pitch and scored the runner from third, tying the game, 2-2.
“Early in the game, gave them some stuff,” said Simeone. “They had one hit and two runs. We hit some guys, walked some guys, threw a wild pitch for one of their runs. Little things like that you gotta do to be able to make sure you beat a team you should beat.”
Six different players were on the bump for Springfield in this game. Joe Gamache started the game and threw two shutout innings. Among the relievers, Ken Manero and Donovan each pitched scoreless innings.
Next up for Springfield, it opens up NEWMAC conference play with a doubleheader against Emerson this Saturday at Archie Allen Field. Game 1 is at 12 p.m. and Game 2 is at 3 p.m.
“Baseball is a grind. You gotta learn from something like this, and make sure this helps you and doesn’t hurt you. If we use it the right way, it may have been a good thing in the long run,” said Simeone.