HARWICH ─ An extra inning wasn't a plus for the Harwich Mariners, who fell 4-2 in their season and home opener to the Y-D Red Sox. Three days later, however, the Mariners found their stride and got a little payback when they bested the Sox on their home turf 5-2, kicking off the roller coaster ride that is Cape League baseball.
The excitement was palpable at Whitehouse Field on June 14 as the Mariners got their season started by inviting members of Harwich-Chatham Little League teams to join their Cape League counterparts on the field for the National Anthem.
It was a tough start for pitcher Chris Gau and his fellow Mariners as the Sox led off with a triple and a run scored to take an early lead before the top of the first closed with a strikeout. Unfortunately the Mariners weren't able to match Y-D's run in their half of the inning, and the Sox carried their lead into the bottom of the third when Harwich made it onto the scoreboard.
Nick Dalesandro was the first to reach base for the home team, advancing on a walk before another walk from Travis Moniot put Dalesandro on second. With two outs and two on, Joey Bart stepped up and swung into a double to push across Dalesandro, tying the game at 1-1.
After a scoreless fourth both teams scored again in the fifth, the Harwich run coming from Andrew Moritz, who came home on a putout from Cobie Vance, again tying the game, this time at 2-2.
From there the game remained deadlocked in spite of scoring chances for both teams, the tie sending the game into a 10th inning that proved positive for the visitors when Y-D's Michael Cassala scored an unearned run on a single by teammate Kyle Isabel, who then scored an earned run on a sac fly for the win.
The following night was an equally tough one for the Mariners, who fell 9-0 in nine inning to the Wareham Gatemen at home. Bradley Debo and Cameron Simmons were the only Mariners to have any luck at the plate, with Debo going 1-for-3 and Simmons going 1-for-4 in the loss.
But the proverbial tide turned for the Mariners on Saturday when they traveled to Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth and handed a 5-2 defeat to the Red Sox.
The first Harwich run came in the second inning when Dwanya Williams-Sutton came home on a single to right by Jordan Verdon to put the Mariners ahead 1-0. The Sox evened the score in the bottom of the fourth, but the visitors weren't going down easy on this night, as their fifth inning would prove.
Nick Dalesandro led off with a single to start the inning, coming home almost immediately on a double hit by Simmons to give Harwich a one-run edge. Simmons then extended the lead when he came around on a single from Debo, with Ryne Ogren's double two batters later bringing in Debo and Williams-Sutton to cap off the four-run inning.
Although Y-D added another run to its tally in the bottom of the fifth a solid Mariner pitching lineup kept the game in Harwich hands. Starter Matthew Frisbee went 4.1 innings in which he allowed seven hits and two runs with three strikeouts, with Austin Hansen stepping in for 1.2 innings, earning the save with three hits allowed and two strikeouts. Reliever Brian Christian stepped in for two innings with two hits and two strikeouts before giving way to Teddy Rodliff who earned the save in the ninth.
At bat Simmons went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, as did Debo, with Ogren going 1-for-4 with an RBI and Dalesandro going 1-for-4 with a run.
Sunday saw the Mariners back at Whitehouse Field for a doubleheader against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in which the Harwich home team played to a 6-0 win in the opening game and a 0-0 tie in the second.
Pitcher Tyler Baum earned the win with three strikeouts and just two hits and one walk in six innings of work, while the Harwich bats were lit.
The Mariners scored twice in the opening inning of game 1 when Andrew Moritz came home on a Debo putout for the first run, with Simmons coming in on a Matt Vierling single to put Harwich ahead 2-0 after one.
Both teams were held scoreless through the fourth when Bradley Debo made it 3-0 for the Mariners before the home team struck again in the fifth, this time plating three runs to take a commanding lead. A single by Debo brought in Moritz and Moniot, with Vierling's sac fly giving Simmons another opportunity to score, giving Harwich a thrilling victory.
Moritz ended game one going 2-for-4 with two runs, while Moniot went 1-for-2 with a run. Debo went 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs, with Vierling going 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
The second game only saw a smattering of hits and no runs between the two teams, with Harwich starting pitcher Dylan Grove lasting six innings with three hits and two strikeouts. Closer Cole Aker had one strikeout.
Kyler Murray came close to winning the game for Harwich in extra innings but was caught stealing, leaving the score tied at zero.
Opening day excitement was further fueled by the news that 2016 first baseman Pavin Smith became the seventh overall draft pick, headed to Arizona after hitting .318 in 38 games with the Mariners that included four home runs and 18 RBIs with an on-base percentage of .394.
The Mariners travel to Bourne for a 6 p.m. game tonight (June 22) at Doran Park, then head to Chatham tomorrow for a 7 p.m. game against the Anglers before hosting Orleans back at Whitehouse Field beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.