BEVERLY -- Although it entered last night’s game winless in District 15 pool play without a win, the Gloucester American little league team still found itself in as much control of its own destiny as a team in such a situation could hope for.
While the Americans had dropped their first two games, Beverly’s win over Boxford that preceded Gloucester Americans’ game with Rockport at Beverly’s Harry Ball Field last night set up the potential for a three-way tie for second place in the pool at 2-2.
All the Americans had to do, then, was take care of business, and they did just that. Gloucester American was aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths from the start, and with a strong pitching trio of Marc Smith, Alex Favazza and Ben Oliver, the Americans thrust themselves right back into the mix of their pool with a 7-1 win through the fog at Harry Ball.
“It makes Friday night mean something now,” Gloucester American coach Chip Smith said. “We’re 1-2, Beverly’s 2-1. If we win then we could set up a three-way tie for second place, so it’s definitely meaningful.”
It didn’t take long for the Americans to get on the board. After Rockport starter Jason Mahoney retired the first two Gloucester batters, Smith sliced a triple down the right field line. During the next at-bat, Smith swiped the plate as the ball was returned to Mahoney on a beautiful delayed steal that gave the Americans the lead for good.
Things kept rolling in the top of the third inning for Gloucester American when Brandon Bruce, Calvin Spenser and Oliver strung together three-straight singles to set the table for what would be a four-run frame. Spenser, Smith and Favazza each knocked in runs in the lopsided inning, helping further the Gloucester lead and allowing the elder Smith to set up his pitching for Friday’s crucial game.