Dillos late offense overcomes errors (4/30/09)

Bolger claims victory in relief

April 30, 2009

The Armadillos, Williston’s entry in the Vermont Senior Men’s Baseball League, opened their season in Newport on Sunday against Newport Columbia.

Last season, the Armadillos’ 11-5 record seeded them just ahead of Newport, which finished with an 11-6 record. While Williston built an early 4-0 lead, a series of defensive errors allowed Newport to plate five unearned runs, and left the Dillos trailing 8-5 late in the game. The Dillos, however, rallied for seven runs in the eighth inning to defeat Newport 12-8.

“Our defense has always been one of our strong points. Once we overcome the rust of a nine month layoff, I am confident we will return to form. Today, unfortunately, the best way to describe our defense would be ‘porous,’” said player/manager Dennis Johnson.

On offense, the Armadillos rapped out 12 hits. While eight of the 11 players hit safely, the team was led by pitcher Bill Supple (3-4, 2B, BB, 3 RBIs, 2 runs), center fielder Ray Danis (2-5, BB, 3 runs) and third baseman Pat “Pookie” Martin (2-5, 2 RBIs, run).

The Armadillos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Danis singled, Supple walked and Martin singled to load the bases. Danis scored when Newport’s second baseman bobbled right fielder Darby Crum’s (0-4, BB) grounder. Supple came in when “Bambino” Fitzgerald (1-4, BB, 2 RBIs) grounded into a third-to-second put out.

The lead increased to 4-0 in the second. After second baseman Billy Daw (1-5, RBI, 2 runs) and Danis singled, Supple brought both home with a double over the center fielder’s head.

Newport tied the game in the bottom of the frame, scoring four runs, three of which were unearned, on just three hits, as the Dillos botched two plays. One miscue came when Supple dropped a sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second and no one out. The other occurred when Martin misplayed a grounder with the bases loaded, allowing two runners to come home.

Williston bounced back with a run in the fifth to grab a 5-4 lead. Bolger singled, moved to second when Newport’s left fielder dropped Martin’s fly ball and scored on the Bambino’s single to right.

That lead was short-lived, as Newport scored three runs in the sixth on three singles, a walk and a two-run error by Johnson. Bolger relieved Supple with one out and runners on second and third, striking out Newport’s third baseman and inducing a ground out to first to escape further damage. Newport increased its lead to 8-5 in the seventh as their pitcher launched a 420-foot dinger to dead center.

The Dillos mounted what turned out to be the decisive rally in the eighth, as they sent 13 batters to the plate and scored seven times. Johnson (0-2, 2 BB) reached on an error and scored on Dann “DVDV” Van der Vliet’s (1-3, 2 BB, 3B, 2 RBIs, run) triple to left. After right fielder Chris Hughes (1-4, BB, run) walked, Daw grounded to short and DVDV beat the throw home. As Newport’s catcher dropped the ball trying to apply the tag, Hughes took third and then scored on third baseman Brian Mullin’s (0-3, Sac, RBI) sacrifice fly to center. Danis walked and Supple singled home Daw. Martin followed with a deep single to right center, plating both Danis and Supple. Crum, the Bambino and DVDV all then walked in succession, the last of which brought home Martin to close out the scoring.

On the mound, Supple went the 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits and four walks, while striking out seven. Bolger picked up the win by pitching the final 3 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on one hit, while walking one and striking out four.