Rams defense hamstrings pitching in loss to Warriors
NORTHBOROUGH — The Algonquin Warriors rallied and took advantage of errors in the middle innings to pad what had been a slim lead in a 12-4 win over the Shepherd Hill Rams on Thursday afternoon.
Chris Kustigian was hit hard the second time through the Warriors lineup, getting knocked out of the game in the fourth inning. Kustigian was tagged for nine runs, five earned, on six hits and two walks over three-plus innings, striking out four. Rams reliever Matt Waterhouse would give up three unearned runs on one hit and a walk while fanning three over three innings.
After retiring the first four batters he faced, Kustigian struggled with the bottom of Algonquin’s lineup. After putting together two runs in the second inning, the Warriors batted around in the third inning and plated five more runs. That frame started with Owen Coderre getting hit by a pitch, a Nate Anderson single, and an error at third base to load the bases. Ryan Courtwright took the first pitch offered to right-centerfield for a big three-run triple. Ben Grasso followed with a walk and both Courtwright and Grasso would score on a Ben Poon double.
The fourth inning wasn’t much better as Coderre led off with a 1-2 triple, which was followed by Kustigian plunking Anderson. Both would later score and be charged to Kustigian.
Down 10-0, Shepherd Hill put together its own rally with two outs in the fifth inning, collecting four runs. Algonquin starter Anthony Francalancia had retired the two batters of the frame on groundouts before giving up back-to-back singles to Hayden Wildes and Mick Sullivan. Matt Waterhouse, hitting in the spot originally occupied by Kustigian, hit a two-run double to left field to get the Rams on the scoreboard. Anthony D’elia followed with a RBI double of his own on the very next pitch, soon scoring on an error by the Algonquin shortstop.
Francalancia was relieved after the troublesome fifth inning, finishing the game having allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts. Levi Carter-Frem worked the final two innings for the Warriors, striking out the first four batters he faced, issuing one walk and allowing no hits.
Courtwright led the Algonquin lineup with three runs and three RBI, having reached on an error in the second inning, tripling in the third inning, reaching on catcher’s interference in the fourth inning, and being hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. Poon went 2-for-3 with a walk, double, and four RBI.
D’elia was the lone Shepherd Hill player to collect multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a RBI double, a stolen base, and one run scored.
The Rams were officially the home team though the game was played in Northborough due to field conditions in Dudley.