BEVERLY — The stage has been set. One game for all the marbles.
With a 16-10 win Friday night over Gloucester American in the first game of the District 15 final, Danvers American has forced a do or die game tonight at Harry Ball Field (7:00 p.m.) with the winner being crowned District 15 champions.
Danvers American was able to force the winner take all game thanks to a relentless offensive attack and some wild pitching from Gloucester American. Danvers, who beat Gloucester 12-2 in pool play, ripped 13 hits and took advantage of 10 free passes and 13 wild pitches issued by six different Gloucester American pitchers.
The good news for Gloucester American, however, is that it not only lives to play another day, its staff ace Eric Chalmers will take the hill in tonight’s District 15 championship game.
Danvers American got things started early jumping out to a 5-0 lead after just one inning. Joseph Masterson made it 1-0 with an RBI single, he later came in to score on a Shane Smith sacrifice fly. The other three Danvers American runs all came in on wild pitches.
Gloucester American, who has a 6-2 record overall in the tournament and a 3-1 record in the knockout round, dug itself into a big first inning hole but got out of it with six runs of their own in the top of the second inning.
Jon Jon Mondello made it 5-2 with a two run shot to straight away center field scoring Matt Smith who walked.
Gloucester scored four more runs in the frame on a bases loaded walk, a wild pitch and a two RBI single from Sal Costanzo to take a 6-5 lead.
Gloucester American, however, could not keep up with the powerful Danvers American offense.
Danvers scored three more runs in the second inning to take an 8-6 lead with the big blow coming in the form of a Jackson Leete two run homer and broke the game wide open with a six run bottom of the third inning. Masterson singled in a pair of runs to make it 10-6 and three batters later Zach Dillion essentially put the game away with a grand slam to left field extending the lead to 14-6.
Gloucester American got two runs back in the top of the fourth on another RBI single from Costanzo and an RBI double from Jake Horrigan, but Danvers once again answered with two more runs of their own to make it 16-8.
Gloucester scored a run in the fifth and a run in the sixth on a Costanzo solo shot to cap the scoring at 16-10.
Costanzo led Gloucester at the plate going 4-for-4 with four RBI, Eric Chalmers reached base four times and turned in several outstanding defensive plays at shortstop while Modello chipped in a pair of hits and a pair of RBI for Gloucester.
Masterson powered the Danvers American offense with three hits and three RBI while Leete and Tim Vsalis each had a pair of hits.