It was a contest with two teams going in opposite directions.
Norwood was making a push to get back to .500, while King Philip was coming in on a two game losing streak after opening the season with three wins. When all was said and done, both teams walked off the field with identical 3-3 records as the Mustangs defeated the Warriors 9-5 in Wrentham.
Things looked as though King Philip was going to break its two-game skid, as the home team batted around in the second inning, putting up four runs on three hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
With two outs and a Brian Crafton on first via a walk, the Warriors got back-to-back singles off the bats off Nick Malatesta and Michael Murray to load the bases. Gavin Adams pushed across the first KP run when he was hit on the leg by a Sam Anderson pitch and Cam Walsh laced a two-run single to left field. Adams would later come around on a Norwood error giving the home team a 4-1 lead after two innings of play.
Unfortunately, KP wouldn’t score again until their final at-bat. and at that
point the Mustangs had a comfortable five run lead.
Up by three. King Philip quickly gave Norwood two runs back in the top of the very next inning. Sean O’Neil, who scored the Norwood first run following a triple in the first inning, opened the third with a double to right, moved over to third on Mark Saulinier’s infield hit and crossed the plate on an Anthony Perriello fly to deep right field.
Saulinier would cut the lead to one when he stole third base and Warrior catcher Walsh hit the batter (Ken Michael) in the head with his attempted throw.
“Offensively, I thought that we swung the bats pretty well, but we made some mistakes, we made mistakes everywhere today and that’s what killed us,” King Philip Coach Ed Moran said. “[There were] mistakes that will not go into the books as errors; base running mistakes, fielding mistakes, positioning mistakes – mental error in a game that we should have won.”
Norwood would take the lead (6-4) with three more runs in their very next at-bat with two singles, a walk, a stolen base and two KP errors. Two innings later, the visitors would put the game away with three more runs on one hit, two walks, four stolen bases, including a double steal and two wild pitches.
After allowing the Warrior’s four runs in the second inning, Norwood’s Anderson settled down retiring nine of the next 11 batters he faced. One was a walk to Adams, and the other a Charlie Harrington single, in which he was quickly erased on a double play.
As Anderson (four runs on six hits in six innings of work) seemed to be getting stronger as the game went on, the defense behind him was not all that stellar and if not for the countless KP mistakes could have hurt the Mustangs chances at the victory.
“Sam’s a horse, we don’t even have a pitch count on him – he just keeps going,” Norwood skipper Ken Igoe said. “Our problem was that we need to tighten up our defense, we made too many physical mistakes, but we’re getting better with each game.”
Igoe added that he knew his team would hit, that’s one thing he doesn’t worry about, but would like to see his squad improve upon their defense and base running.
Malatesta would go 4.1 innings before turning the ball over to James Wallace. He would allow seven runs (4 earned) on six hits, four walks, while fanning five in the loss. At the plate, Michael Murray would go 2-4 with a run scored and Walsh would go 2-3 with runs knocked in.
KP doesn’t have time to dwell on the third straight loss as they head to Oliver Ames this afternoon. Norwood will host Braintree on Monday afternoon.