Despite a lengthy layoff and plenty of rest, the baseball team was stunned by visiting Plainedge 15-1 to fall behind in their best-of-three series 1-0 at the on Wednesday.
The story of the game was Plainedge’s Michael Miller, who started off the game by giving up a double to John Fogarty. With the Rams trailing 4-0 at that point, it looked like the comeback was on, but Miller knuckled down and did not allow a hit for the rest of the game.
“I just felt good today,” Miller said. “It helps when you are getting so much support from the offense.”
Plainedge struck early and often against Clarke’s Joe Fusco.
The first run scored in the top of the first when Steve Miller grounded into a fielder’s choice. As the Rams tried to turn the double play, Joe Hauer’s slide disrupted the relay throw, and Plainedge capitalized. The Red Devils added three more runs in the frame on back-to-back homers from Anthony Pensato and Tyler Manez.
“We just missed all of the spots today,” Clarke Coach Tom Abruscato said. “We need to make better adjustments to get back into this series.”
Clarke, who was undefeated on the year prior to the loss, was unable to mount much of anything against Miller. In fact, he allowed just two walks the rest of the game.
Plainedge added to their lead in the top of the fourth when Anthony Licata smacked a big two-out RBI single. Clarke cut the lead down to three when Joe Brillantino grounded out to score a run in the bottom half of the inning, but the Red Devils just could not be stopped.
“We didn’t execute any part of our game,” Abruscato added. “I’m confident we will be better.”
Plainedge added three in the sixth and seven in the seventh off of Clarke relievers Mike Buttgereit and John Hess.
Up next, the Rams will head to Plainedge on Thursday in a must-win situation. If Clarke is defeated, the season comes to an end. Game time is 4:45 p.m., and Abruscato told Patch Chris Appell will be on the mound.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Do you think Clarke can come back from this loss? Tell us in the comments.