By Conor Walsh
---- — SWAMPSCOTT — In last Friday’s 3-1 loss to Lynn English, the Gloucester baseball team had plenty of opportunities to blow the game wide open.
With runners on, and in scoring position, from beginning to end, the Fishermen were simply unable to find the timely hit when they needed it most.
When they traveled to Swampscott to take on the Big Blue yesterday, it seemed like the Fishermen may again fall despite sending a parade of runners to the bases. Through five innings, the game was scoreless even after Gloucester had loaded the bases with fewer than two outs three times and had put eight men in scoring position.
In the top of the sixth inning, though, the Fishermen finally shook off their drought. Starting with a one-out single by Santo Parisi, the Fishermen sent 12 men to the plate in a seven-run barrage to finally give starting pitcher Jason Vizena a cushion.
And while the Big Blue scratched up Vizena in the sixth and seventh innings, forcing Conor Harris to come on for the game’s final out, that one big inning proved to be enough as the Fishermen snapped a two-game skid with a 7-4 win.
“It felt like the same situation (as Friday),” Gloucester coach Joe Orlando said. “We had one out, bases loaded, no outs, bases loaded, two outs, second and third. It seemed like we just couldn’t get that timely hitting and finally when it did break open it was like, ‘Oh, wow. Good.’”
Although Gloucester got to him early and often, Swampscott starter Trevor Massey was gritty throughout his six innings of work. Despite three walks, three errors and two hit batsmen through the first five innings, Massey found a way to bear down and get the outs he needed.
In the top of the third inning, Gloucester’s first real threat, a one-out error loaded the bases with Gloucester’s explosive 3-4 punch of Alex Webb and Jordan Pallazola due up. Massey, however, slammed the door, fanning both batters to keep the game scoreless.
He got another two big outs with the bases juiced in the fourth inning, and a 9-3-2 double play on a would-be sacrifice fly in the fifth again kept the Fishermen off the board and Massey on pace with Vizena, who cruised through his first five innings of work.
In the sixth, though, the floodgates finally burst open and Massey’s luck ran out.
With one out, Parisi reached on his first of two singles in that inning. Mark Horgan followed with a single of his own, pushing Parisi to third base, and a Horgan steal followed by a wild pitch plated Parisi and moved Horgan to third.
Vizena followed with a walk and stole second base — his second steal of the day — before Peter Clark knocked in Horgan with a sac-fly to left field.
Webb’s second double of the day came next, knocking in Vizena and putting the Fishermen up 3-0. The wave kept coming.
Pallazola walked and Mike Muniz singled to drive in Webb and put men on second and third after a close play at the plate. Muniz and Pallazola would score on an error on a Curtis Quinn grounder, pushing the lead to 6-0.
Devon Murray kept the inning going with a single and Parisi followed with a single of his own, knocking in Quinn to round out the Fishermen’s onslaught.
“Trevor battled every inning for us,” Swampscott coach Jason Calichman said. “Every inning was a tough inning. That’s a good hitting team. As much as they pulled ahead, though, I thought my guys competed the whole way and made it interesting until the last out and that’s all we can ask for.”
Vizena tired from there and surrendered six of the nine hits he gave up over the next 1 2/3 innings as the Big Blue (8-11) made things interesting again with a late-game surge.
Ultimately, though, that one big inning was enough to push Gloucester over the top as Harris came on to slam the door and leave the tying run at the plate, moving the Fishermen to 11-7 heading into the final three games of the regular season.
It was a nice win for Vizena, who’s been on the losing side of a couple of very tight games — namely a no-decision in a 1-0, nine-inning loss to Lynn English and a 3-0 loss to Danvers.
“Jason pitched a great game,” Orlando said. “He tired out at the end and we had Conor fresh so we figured we’d just plug him in. We’ve been losing these games 3-1, 1-0, and it’s kind of mentally defeating and now they came up here and set the tone. This win was big.”
Webb (2-for-3, 2 2B, RBI), Parisi (2-for-2, RBI) and Vizena (1-for-4, 2 SB) led the way for the Fishermen in a game where the entire lineup reached base at least once.
For Swampscott, catcher Ryan January led the way with two hits, two runs and an RBI, while Corey Carmody (1-for-4, 2 RBI) and Brendan McDonald (2-for-4, RBI) helped lead the late comeback effort.
The Fishermen will get back at it on Wednesday against Danvers who, at 16-1, has already clinched the NEC Small title.
Needless to say, it’s the kind of game where a win could certainly give the Fishermen some momentum heading into the Division 2 North tournament.
“Overall, I’m happy,” Orlando said. “This puts us at 11-7 and if we can get one more win out of the three games that gives us a 12-8 record and it might give us a home game, and that’s what I’m looking for because they’re so comfortable at O’Maley. Danvers on Wednesday, that would be a huge win for us. Last game we lost 3-0 I think and we just couldn’t hit their pitcher. It would be a good win.