The East Boston Knights stunned the Stoneham Sabers at Recreation Park (better known as “the beach”) on Sunday coming back from a 7 to 4 deficit in the 7th inning of game 4 of the best of 5 series to clinch the series 3 to 1 and earn a chance to play against the defending champion Somerville Alibrandis. The Knights coming into this game up 2 games to 1 trailed all game as the Sabers came to play and quickly took a 5 to 0 lead after just 2 innings of play totaling 10 hits in just 2 innings to take the 5 run lead. “These guys are a tough team to play” Said Manager Eric Bellavia speaking of the scrappy Stoneham club. “They don’t go away, they never take a pitch off and don’t give you many opportunities to take advantage of their mistakes” The Knights scrapped back scoring 3 in the 3rd inning to cut the lead to 5 to 3 but the Sabers scored 2 more in the bottom of the frame to take a 7 to 3 lead. The Knights plated another one in the top of the 4th but left the bases loaded. Sabers pitcher Ryan Flanagan lived dangerously all game but was effective leaving Knights runners stranded on base all afternoon. Flanagan ran out of gas and the Sabers were forced to go to the bullpen and called upon SS Stephan Bottarelli to try and close the game. Knights leadoff hitter Victor LeBron led off with a walk and Knights SS Jose Paulino and catcher Marty Dunlap both singled to load the bases. After a Bottarelli passed ball and a Brad Tardugno strikeout to cut the lead to 7 to 5, Knights first baseman Brett Remon hit a deep double to left to tie the game 7 to 7. Knights pitcher “Everyday” Max Ockner held the Sabers offense in check for 3 and 2/3 innings to allow the Knights to stage the comeback. In the bottom of the 7th Ockner made 2 brilliant defensive plays to keep the Stoneham bats silent and send this one to extra frames. Jon Shepard led off the top of the 8th inning with a single and advanced to 2b on a sacrifice bunt from Victor LeBron. That set the stage for Jose Paulino who grounded to Sabres SS Stephan Bottarelli who threw the ball away and allowed the winning run to score from second base to give the Knights an 8 to 7 lead. The Sabers loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning off of Knights closer John Tangherlini but Joe Parlow grounded out to 1st base to end the threat and the game. The Knights stormed the mound as they advance to the semi-finals to take on the giants of the YBL in the Somerville Alibrandis. “What an intense game. This team has no quit in it and never for one second they thought about losing this game and there was never talk about a potential game 5” said Bellavia “I am proud of this club.” Knights pitcher Billy Riggieri said to Stoneham Manager Colucci after the game “I’d be lying to you if I said that wasn’t one of the best baseball series I have played in a long time. I just want you and your guys to know you have an unbelievable squad and you have all my respect.” “Manager Angelo Colucci said, “We had a great season and the team needs to keep our heads up. We ran into a great ball club first round and we battled every pitch…we will come out stronger and better next year to try and achieve the goal of a championship….Us and the Knights are a top 4 team in this league and it is a shame we have had to play each other in the 1st round 3 years in a row. No doubt this was the best team that we have had in franchise history, a couple of things didn’t go our way but that is baseball.” The Knights now await the champs as they wait to start round 2 vs Somerville at Trum on Wednesday night!
East Boston Knights vs Somerville Alibrandis best of 5 series:
Game 1 Wednesday, August 13th at Trum 8pm
Game 2 Thursday, August 14th at Trum 8pm
Game 3 Saturday, August 16th at Maplewood 8pm
Game 4 Sunday, August 17th at Maplewood 8pm (if necessary)
Game 5 Monday, August 18th at Trum 8pm (if necessary)
RRBL Knights recap:
PEABODY, MA – Game two of the twin-bill was promising to be a marquee matchup as the Gators were trying to claw their way back into the top of the conference. Ruben Sanchez LP (4ER, 9K, 5H, 0BB) started the game with the hopes of putting some distance between the Knights and the pesky Gators. Unfortunately, one bad inning led to 4 runs scored by the Gators and a hole that they could not dig themselves out of. 4 hits and a wild pitch led to a rough third inning for the Knights and even was the last hit that the Gators saw, was more than enough to shut down the Knights.
The Knights didn’t go down without a fight and after the Gators scoring, Jose Paulino (0-2; R, BB) started up the bottom of the third inning with a walk and scored on a Kenny Polanco (1-2; BB, SB, K) single. Chris Dowd (1-2; RBI, R) added to his season hit total with another single and an RBI to boot. Eduardo Colmenares (0-3) knocked in the final run for the Knights while grounding out to the shortstop.
The Knights would only muster one more hit in the final 4 frames and went down 4-3 for their 7th loss of the year. They look to rebound against the Titans on Wednesday August 13th in Peabody. The Knights are 2-0 against the Titans this year and look to solidify the number 2 seed in the playoffs. With two games remaining on the schedule, the Knights have punched their ticket to the postseason but the seeding is still up in the as the finals games play out during August.
PEABODY, MA – The Knights faced their biggest challenge of the season as they face off against the Gators in a twin-bill that could leave one team in sole possession of first place in the conference and the likely one-seed in the playoffs. The Knights sent long-time Knight Sean Hannon WP(5.1IP, 2ER, 3H, 10K, 5BB) to the mound looking to punch their playoff ticket. Hannon didn’t disappoint as he cruised for 4 innings before letting up a hit.
The Knight offense came alive in the 3rd inning after a leadoff double by Brandon Polignone (1-3; R). Geoff Harris 0-1; SacB, R) would move him over with a sacrifice bunt which the Gators pitcher threw away trying to get him out at first. Chris Dowd (1-3; 2B, RBI, R) blasted a double knocking in another run before Brian Maynard (1-3; 2RBI) hit a hard line-drive single scoring the last two runs of the inning giving the Knights a 4 to 0 lead over the Gators.
The bats went quiet for the rest of the game but the 4 runs were enough to carry the Knights to victory. The Gators put across runs in the 5th and 6th inning but couldn’t get the timely hits that they needed. Justin Wojcik (S, 1.2IP; K, 0R) came in to relieve Hannon in the 6th and picked up the save for the Knights.