In game two of their 2016 NWIBL post season campaign, the #2-seed Bridgetown Thunder topped the #3-seed Stumptown Mavericks 4-3 in a closely contested game played on a picture-perfect, sun-soaked morning at Walker Field in southeast Portland.
Mark Triolo started and pitched well for Bridgetown, going 6 strong innings while withstanding 4 Thunder errors, striking-out 8. The veteran righthander refused to give in, surrendering two runs, one earned.
Mental errors would prove to be major factors in deciding this one, as early defensive gaffes threatened to put the ballgame in jeopardy for the Thunder, and a big base running error would eventually seal the Mavericks’ fate to close the door on the contest.
After a slow start, Bridgetown was able to regroup as Triolo steadied the ship. Mark brought his usual dominant presence to the mound, consistently overwhelming Mavericks hitters with a devastating combination of power, control, and timely off-speed. The hard-throwing righty kept Maverick hitters off balance all game, walking only one.
After settling-in behind their ace over the first four innings, the Thunder would soon strike. As players changed sides to close the 4th inning, Bridgetown Manager Patrick Jones held a timely ‘NTB’ team discussion in front of the dugout to shake some life into his guys. Nick Reynolds and Triolo responded by starting the bottom of the 4th frame with base hits, and Matt Spanier got the Thunder on the board with a fielder’s choice to score Reynolds.
In the 5th inning, after Bridgetown scored another run Shane Sullivan launched a booming 2-run homer over the right field fence to put the Thunder on top for good.
Things would get interesting, however, as the Mavericks would threaten in the top of the 7th after Bridgetown pitcher Sean Bailey relieved Triolo. With two on and two out, the threat was quickly averted when Thunder right fielder Cole Pittman fielded a routine fly ball and was able to double-up a Stumptown base runner at second base after uncorking a laser to Thunder shortstop Evan Dunn who was covering the bag on the play. The Maverick runner was stealing third on the pitch, and failed to recognize the ball had been hit in the air.
With the win, the (2) Bridgetown Thunder advance to face the (4) Northwest Wildcats Thursday, August 25th at Walker Stadium.
Both teams are 2-0 in the 2016 NWIBL Playoffs.
First pitch, 6:15 pm.