The Intertown Twilight Baseball League title is back on Cape Ann.
With a 2-1 win over the Ipswich Chiefs in Saturday’s Game 4, the Manchester Essex Mariners have clinched a fourth ITL championship in the last five seasons. As a result the ITL title will stay in Cape Ann for the 13th time in the last 15 season as the Mariners have won seven league championships in that time span and their Cape Ann rivals the Rockport Townies have won six.
As they have all season long, the Mariners won thanks to strong starting pitching.Mariners starter Rusty Tucker followed up last Sunday’s complete game shutout, 19 strikeout performance with another gem in the series clinching game. Tucker picked up his second win of the series on Saturday going the distance allowing three hits and striking out 11.
Tucker out-dueled Chiefs starter Mark O’Flynn, who he also beat in game 2 of the series last Saturday, for the win. O’Flynn also went the distance allowing eight hits.
The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. O’Flynn led off with a single and advanced to third on an outfielders throwing error before coming home on a fielders choice.
Manchester Essex made sure the Ipswich lead would not last long as they took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a two RBI single from Ian Buckley.
From there it was all Tucker and O’Flynn cutting down any scoring chance. The Mariners also got some defensive help from Nate Bertolino who made a circus catch over his head for the second out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Rory Gentile, Pete L’Italien and Tucker powered the Mariners offense with two hits each. Manchester Essex, who finished the season in first place with a record of 18-6, finishes off the season with a stellar 23-7 record dropping only game 1 of the championship series.