HARWICH ─ The first day of summer turned out to be a great day for baseball, and an even better day for the Harwich Mariners, who earned a 3-0 victory against the Y-D Red Sox to keep them firmly in place at the top of Cape League as the 2016 season progresses.
Pitcher BJ Myers enjoyed a stellar game for the visiting Mariners, pitching 7.1 innings in which he allowed just four hits and no runs while recording three strikeouts before giving way to reliever Zach Schellenger, who stepped in for the game's remainder, fanning three, with no hits or runs.
After three scoreless innings, Nick Feight put the first run on the scoreboard when his fielder's choice brought in teammate Joe Dunand, giving Harwich a 1-0 edge. Meanwhile, Dunand had the next RBI at the top of the fifth when his single plated Ernie Clement to put the Mariners ahead 2-0. The game's final run also came from Clement, who was brought home on a single by Johnny Adams.
For the majority of the game, Myers kept the Sox at bay, recording 1-2-3 innings in the first, second, and third before the hosts had a hit. When they did, solid fielding by the Mariner squad, including first baseman Pavin Smith, second baseman Max Burt, and Dunand on third, kept Y-D off the scoreboard.
In the fifth the trio turned out a nice double play when Y-D's Mikey Diekroeger swung into a single to center before Smith, Burt and Dunand combined forces on a ball hit by Tyler Houston, nabbing Houston and Diekroeger in the play before Myers forced Colin Lyman to fly out to end the inning.
Mariner fans got a little nervous in the bottom of the eighth when the Sox put two men on with only one out, but Schellenger stepped in to relieve Myers, striking out Nolan Brown and Kevin Smith to get Harwich out of a potential jam.
At bat for the Mariners, Clement went 4-for-5 with two runs, while Dunand went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Sunday night saw Harwich head into extra innings against Falmouth at Whitehouse Field in a classic pitcher's duel, resulting in a 0-0 tie that lasted until Max Burt came home on a single from Logan Farrar.
With all eyes on him, Burt stepped up to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning, swinging into a single before a wild pitch led him to second. With two outs on the board and Farrar with two strikes and a foul under his hat, the Virginia Commonwealth University outfielder batted into a single to bring home Burt and end the game on a high note.
Earning the win for the Mariner bullpen was Brad Bass, who recorded four strikeouts in two innings with no hits. Meanwhile, his predecessors weren't too shabby either. Starter Shane McCarthy pitched six stellar innings with only one hit, one walk and five strikeouts, while reliever Nick Brown also fanned five in three innings of work, in which he allowed just one hit.
Saturday night marked one of Harwich's only losses thus far this season, with the Mariners falling 1-0 to the Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park.
Similar to their Falmouth outing, the game was locked at 0-0 until the ninth inning when the Firebirds' Brian Miller brought home Ethan Paul with the game-winner.
Harwich pitchers Packy Naughton, Ethan Landon, and Tommy DeJuneas put forth a solid effort, with Naughton lasting six innings with six strikeouts and three hits, while Landon stepped in for two innings with one strikeout and one hit. DeJuneas suffered the loss, pitching less than an inning and allowing one hit and one run.
The Firebirds employed four hurlers to keep the Mariners in check, which proved a sound strategy since Harwich had hits from Clement, Smith, Dunand, Adans, and Feight, but weren't able to materialize a run.
So far, however, the team leads the league with an overall record of 8-2 and 16 points, four ahead of Orleans, which is tied for second place overall with Brewster, Bourne, and Wareham.
Next up for the Mariners is a trip to Veterans Field for a game against the Chatham Anglers tonight (June 23) beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by a trip to Brewster to face the Whitecaps tomorrow (June 24) at 5 p.m. Harwich is at home June 25 against Orleans with a 5:30 p.m. start.