ROCKPORT- Rockport junior Tucker Meredith did a little bit of everything in his team's 11-7 victory over rival Manchester Essex in an always important Cape Ann League Division 3 tilt.
Aside from his two hits and two RBIs, Meredith's biggest contribution was his six strong innings on the mound, and Manchester Essex coach Rob Garrett would be the first to agree.
"Meredith pitched a great game for them today" said Garrett. "We didn't hit the ball as well as we have and he did a great job of shutting us down and keeping us off-balance."
The Vikings busted the game open in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring seven runs and turning a 4-3 lead into an 11-3 lead into the last frame.
In the fifth, Adam Balzarini added an RBI on a single up the middle while freshman Kyle Nelson added an RBI on a sac-fly to left.
In the sixth, Rockport took advantage of defensive miscues by the Hornet defense to plate five runs. Meredith helped his cause by adding the lone RBI in the inning on an infield single to shortstop, he then took the mound in the 7th with an 11-3 advantage and looked poised to finish the complete game victory.
Manchester Essex had other plans.
Meredith walked the first two batters he faced to start the inning. Joe Burgess followed with a double in the centerfield woods to plate a run. John Browning added an RBI single through the right side to add another run. Meredith was touched for two more runs on a steal of home on a first-and-third situation and a Matt Corwin RBI single. Meredith was relieved by Mike Tupper, however, his contributions weren't done yet.
The Hornets had now cut the score to 11-7 and were threatening a serious comeback with runners still on first and second and just one out. Junior shortstop Nick Scatterday and Meredith refused to let that happen.
Adrian Frattini hit a ball that looked like it was destined to go through the middle for a hit. Scatterday made a full extension dive up the middle to grab the groundball. He flipped the ball with his glove to Meredith, who was now playing second, and Meredith completed the double play to complete the 11-7 victory and thwart the Hornet comeback attempt.
Despite the 7th inning, coach Parisi was very happy with the way his team played.
"This was by far the best game we have put together" he said. "We actually played baseball. We were bunting well, running well and doing all the little things."
Even though Manchester Essex didn't walk away with a victory, Coach Garrett was encouraged by the last inning.
"I liked how we fought back at the end" he said. "Even though I would have liked to end with a win, we showed some heart and it was a good way to end the game."
With Rockport leading 1-0 after the two innings, Meredith ran into a small hiccup in the top of the third. Noah Brown singled to right and Joe Burgess followed with a double in the left center-field gap to tie the game at 1-1. After a walk and a double steal, Corwin was up with two outs and runners on second and third. Facing a 1-and-2 count, Corwin saw a sharp curveball from Meredith, but the Hornets second baseman hung tough and blooped a two-RBI single into center to give the Hornets a 3-1 lead.
The lead was short lived, however, as Rockport pulled ahead 4-3 with three runs of their own in the bottom-half of the third. Tupper had an RBI single, while Balzarini added a sac-fly and Meredith stole home on a well-executed first-and-third situation.