Milford Legion Shows Heart, Wins 10-9
By Nick Rando Sports Reporter/Intern · July 20, 2012
Milford Legion showed tremendous character on Thursday, July 19 during a 10-9 victory over Main South at Fino Field.
Everything was going smoothly for Post 59 as the squad had built up a comfortable 8-1 lead going into the fifth. Then, everything changed.
"The two things that I said to them was, we have an 8-1 lead...our pitching staff needs to throw strikes and we need to be able to extend leads," said Milford manager Brian Macchi.
Milford was forced to dig deep into their bullpen after starting pitcher Dan Avery left the game following a line drive to the abdomen.
Avery went five innings with four strikeouts while allowing three earned runs on six hits.
Milford's bullpen was wild and ultimately ineffective as they blew a seven run lead as well as watch Milford fall behind, 9-8.
Milford's relief pitchers Kyle Canole, Eric Jorgensen and Dan Mantoni combined for three innings with five walks, four hits and six runs.
"It comes down to we just weren't throwing strikes and I feel like we gave them a lot of runs," said Macchi. "Three of the runs were issued by passed balls and two walks...you want them to earn it by hitting the ball."
Despite losing the lead, Milford was able to tie the game up in the bottom of the seventh inning at 9-9.
Mantoni was on the hill for his second inning of relief and shut down the Main South offense in the eighth to give Milford another shot at victory.
Post 59 third baseman, JJ Branch led the inning off with a deep double to left-center to get Milford rolling. Milford second baseman, Dave Rice was then intentionally walked to give Main South a shot at a double play. That shot was for not, however, as Scott Hubener stepped up and bunted the two runners over to give Milford two men in scoring position. With one out in the inning, Matt Gerard was given a free pass as well to load the bases for Ian Strom. Strom, the teams number three hitter, worked the count before going down swinging for out number two.
Cue the heroics and aforementioned character.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Milford's slugger Matt Ferrelli stepped up to the plate and cracked a walk off single down the third base line to score Branch and give Milford the hard-fought victory.
"You look at it with bases loaded and Matt Ferrelli up, you couldn't ask for a better person up at that time," Macchi continued, "He's come through time and time again for us this whole season."
Milford showed a lot of guts and character after falling behind in a game where victory was all but guaranteed. It's not every day where a team blows a lead like that and comes back to win. Just ask the Red Sox.
"They're a character group because they always fight until the very end," said Macchi. "No matter the score, they are going to give their best effort and they want to find a way to tie games up, to win games and do whatever it takes."
Milford will return to action on the road at Leominster on Friday, July 20 at 5:30 p.m. Post 59 will prepare for one more playoff run in the State Tournament following their playoff loss to Wilbraham on Tueday, July 17.