By Conor Walsh
---- — GLOUCESTER -- As the Danvers baseball team has proven countless times over coach Roger Day’s lengthy career, the Falcons don’t need much to come away with a victory.
Yesterday was no different. While Gloucester starting pitcher Jason Vizena threw well enough to win, the Falcons capitalized on their opportunities and scraped three runs off Vizena.
With Danvers junior Brandon Hyde dealing on the mound, too, those few runs proved to be the difference. No Fisherman reached second base on Hyde, who surrendered just three hits in a complete-game shutout, and Day recorded his 400th career win with the 3-0 victory at Nate Ross Field.
“I think he’s got 399 of those (wins) against me,” Gloucester coach Joe Orlando joked after the game. “They knew what they were playing for. He doesn’t make a big deal of it. I get motivated to know we’re playing Danvers because I’m coaching against (Day). He’s a legend. It’s good to coach against legends.”
Day’s milestone victory was in keeping with so many other wins over his time with the Falcons. Behind pitching, defense and fundamentals, Danvers simply found a way to win.
It started in the first inning, when leadoff hitter A.J. Couto doubled off Vizena to open the game. Joe Strangie next reached on an infield single, moving Couto to third, and three-hitter Ray Arocho plated Couto with a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat.
An error moved the runners further along, and a routine groundout plated Strangie for the second run of the inning. Two hits, two runs, and the Falcons were in the driver’s seat.
They added another small-ball run in the sixth inning, when Danny Connors reached on a dropped third strike with two outs. Connors proceeded to steal second base and was plated by designated hitter Tyler Dustin to give Hyde more than enough breathing room.
The sidearm lefty kept the Fishermen off-balance all game. He’s not overwhelming (just two strikeouts), but crafty, living on the outside corner and limiting hard contact.
Gloucester tallied just three hits -- all singles -- and one batter reached on an error. Hyde surrendered no walks.
And the runners that did reach base didn’t last long. Vizena, after a single to lead off the fourth inning, was picked off of first, and a Tyler Favaloro single in the second inning was quickly erased by a double-play line drive.
“He pitched a great game,” Orlando said. “He kept us off balance. It happens. It’s part of the game. He did a masterful job out there, keeping everything on the outside on our good hitters, and I don’t think they’ve seen too much of his sidearm style. You can’t really practice that.
“They played good defense behind him. Our big guys, the top-5, they’ve hit a lot better all season and they’ll hit again.”
The Fishermen spoiled a nice performance out of Vizena, who really settled in after a shaky first inning and scattered six hits in a complete-game effort while erasing two baserunners with a nice pickoff move.
Danvers just took advantage of its few opportunities, while Gloucester was unable to string anything together. As Orlando said, “that’s baseball.”
It was Gloucester’s second-straight loss and drops the Fishermen to 3-2, while Danvers improved to 8-0.
“The better team won today,” Orlando said. “I’m still happy with where we’re at. I’d obviously like to be 5-0, but 3-2 at this point is ok too.”