GLOUCESTER— Gloucester starter Sean Gillon certainly pitched well enough to win Friday against Salem. The junior righty went the distance allowing two runs on five hits while striking out six, a winning line more often than not.
Unfortunately for Gillon, he was one-upped by Salem starter Ben Kapnis. The Witches right hander, pitching in his first game since missing two weeks with an ankle injury, also went the distance allowing just three hits and strking out four without surrendering a run in Salem's 2-0 win at Nate Ross Field.
Kapnis sprained his ankle during his first start of the year and was just cleared to play again on Tuesday.
"(Kapnis) pitched a great game," Gloucester head coach Joe Orlando said. "Whenever he needed to make a big pitch he made it."
Salem manager Jimmy Tgettis echoed Orlando's sentiment.
"This was a nice pitchers duel, both pitchers were excellent," Tgettis said. "This was a great outing from Ben, especially coming off of an injury. He wasn't overpowering but he was all over the strike zone with his fast ball which made his breaking ball more effective."
In a game where both pitchers were at the top of their games, the difference in the contest was timely hitting. Salem was able to get a pair of runs across with runners in scoring position while Gloucester was 1-13 with runners on base, with the only hit coming in the seventh inning.
Salem took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Emilio Beato came in to score on an Ellian Vasquez ground ball to short stop after reaching on a double. Greg Spilliotis drove in the other Salem run in the third with an RBI bloop single plating Cody Mercier who reached on a walk.
"Timely hitting was the difference," Tgettis said. "Both teams had their share of opportunities to score, we were able to do get some clutch hits when we needed them."
Gloucester's best chance to put a run on the board came in the second inning when they had runners on first and third with just one out after Jordan Pallazola (2 hits) singled and Vinny Terranova was hit by a pitch. Kapnis, however, got out of the jam inducing a ground out and then a strike out to end the threat.
Gloucester also put two men on in the fourth but once again Kapnis was there to shut the door without allowing a run.
Shortstop Jehnsy Troncoso made the defensive play of the day in the sixth inning snaring a hard hit line drive up the middle by Terranova and doubling a runner off first base in the process.
"He got some key outs in those innings," Orlando said. "I think if we scored there it may have been a different story because we would have been more relaxed. But give (Kapnis) credit, he got the better of us."
Gloucester threatened one last time in the seventh putting two men on with nobody out on an error and a walk. This time Kapnis got some help to get out of the inning as catcher Vasquez picked a runner off second base. A fly out to center and a pop up to the pitcher ended the contest.
Salem 2 Gloucester 0
at Nate Ross Field, Gloucester
S: Mellonek C, 4-0-1; Mercier, CF, 2-1-0; Troncoso, SS, 4-0-1; Spilliotis, LF, 3-0-1, Beato, RF, 3-1-1; Maggiacomo, 2B, 3-0-1; Vasquez, 3B, 2-0-0, Boucher, 1B, 2-0-0, Kapnis, P, 3-0-0.
G: Lucido, CF, 3-0-1; Vizena, RF, 4-0-0; Webb, 3B/SS, 3-0-0; Muniz, 1B, 2-0-0; Cottone, 1B, 1-0-1; Pallazola, C, 3-0-2; Terranova, DH, 2-0-0; Horne, LF, 3-0-0; Parisi, SS, 2-0-0; Clark, 3B, 0-0-0; Zappa, 2B, 3-0-0.
RBI: S, Spilliotis, Vasquez.
WP; Kapnis, LP, Gillon
Records: S, 6-2; G, 5-3.