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After scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 8-4 lead over the Watertown Reds Wednesday night at Morelli Field, the Americans were three outs away from a hard-fought, come from behind victory. But in the seventh the roof caved in, the walls fell down and the floor collapsed as the Reds demolished the offerings of catchers turned pitchers Kyle Devin and Anthony Licciardello, scoring eleven runs in the inning and returning to Watertown with a 15-8 win.
Watertown got on the board in the first when Will Brennan launched a two-run homer off Ronnie Luke who was making his first start for the Americans. Luke, replacing scheduled starter Mike Peters who had fallen ill earlier in the day, pitched five full innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out one. He tossed a scoreless second inning and watched his teammates cut the lead to one in the home half when Chris Hopkins hit a lead off double and scored on a two out base hit off the bat of Dan Cacciola.
In the third, Luke again held the Reds scoreless and the Americans took the lead in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Nick Herzog singled, Malcolm Nachmanoff walked and Devin singled to center, scoring Herzog to tie the game 2-2. An out later, Hopkins delivered Nachmanoff with a single to right, giving the Americans a 3-2 lead.
The Reds bounced right back in the fourth, taking a 4-3 lead on the strength of a two-run Cal Christofori home run. Neither team would score again until the sixth when the Americans scored the aforementioned five runs. Hopkins was hit by a pitch leading off and Matt Hosman walked. After Charlie Huegi's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Cacciola walked to load the bases. Will Shackelford was hit by a pitch to drive in Hopkins with the tying run before Herzog doubled to left, driving in Hosman and Cacciola and sending Shackelford to third. Nachmanoff then singled to send home Shackelford and Herzog, upping the score to 8-4 entering the seventh.
Chris Mitchell had pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Americans in relief of Luke, but he had pitched five and two thirds innings two days earlier and had reached his limit. Out of pitchers, the Americans turned to two catchers in an attempt to finish off the game. The Reds, however, were having none of it and took complete advantage, getting their eleven runs in the inning on a hit batter, three walks and seven hits, including their third home run of the night, a three run rocket to left by Dan Chaisson.
With the loss, the Americans fell to 8-9, good for sixth place in the standings. They'll send Zach Begin to the mound Thursday when they visit Trum Field in Somerville to take on the Somerville Royals at 8:15.
Chris Mitchell tossed five and two third innings of four hit ball to earn his fourth win of the season and lead the Americans to a 7-1 win over the Reading Bulldogs Monday night at Morelli Field.
Mitchell (4-2), who struck out five Bulldogs on the night, was in complete command through five, tossing a tidy two-hitter and issuing two walks. But up 4-0 entering the sixth, he walked Kevin Marciano leading off. He appeared to get back on track with successive strikeouts of number three hitter Ryan Wolfsberg and four hitter Zak Talis. Those outs, however, were the last Mitchell would get.
Chris Bosco chased Marciano to third with a single to center before veteran Steve Busby, who played a decade in the Boston Park League before switching leagues and playing another decade in the north of Boston suburbs, roped his own single to center to drive in Marciano and send Bosco to third.
When Mitchell walked Nick Berno to load the bases his night was over and Aran Hamilton-Grenham was called in from the pen to extinguish the flames. The Stonehill College southpaw did so with one pitch, getting Rosario Missiti to ground out to Charlie Huegi at second. Hamilton-Grenham earned his first save of the season when he closed out the game with a perfect seventh.
The Americans, who seem to be finding their way with the sticks, broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Nick Herzog got things started when he worked a lead off walk and took third on a Kyle Devin line drive single to left. Chris Hopkins then drove home both with a double to deep left center. Hopkins held at second when Hunter Boyce grounded to third for the first out but he came around to score the third run when Matt Hosman shot a double down the left field line.
With the ice broken, the Americans plated another run in the fifth and three more in the sixth to put the game away. In the fifth Dan Cacciola singled leading off and was sacrificed to second by Will Shackelford. Herzog popped to second for the second out but Devin's base hit to left center got Cacciola home and made it 4-0. A Hopkins single put runners at first and second but Reading starter Colby Morris (2-2) got Boyce on strikes to end the inning.
After Reading closed the score to 4-1 with their sixth inning run, Melrose tacked on three of their own in the bottom of the frame. Hosman singled leading off and was replaced on the base paths by the newly signed Harry Welch. Huegi, at the plate to bunt, walked on four pitches to put runners at first and second. Mike Goddu, also at the plate to bunt, failed to do so before going down on strikes for the first out. John Jennings, feeling under the weather and on the bench, pinch hit for Cacciola and made the Americans well, sending a double down the left field line to score Welch and Huegi and make it 6-0. Jennings took third on the throw home and scored the seventh run when Shackelford followed with a deep sacrifice fly to right.
Devin, Hopkins and Hosman all had two hits for the Americans while Boyce, Cacciola and Jennings had one. Hopkins and Jennings each drove in a pair of runs.
The Americans got back to the .500 mark (8-8) with the victory. They will attempt to improve on that mark when they play host to the Watertown Reds at Morelli Field Wednesday night at 7:30. It will be "Melrose Night" at the ballpark and Melrose's own Mike Peters will take the ball for the Americans.
The sixth place Americans trail the first place Reds by 7 points in the Intercity League standings but the Americans hold three games in hand over the Reds. A win earns a team two points and a tie earns each team one point. The season series between the two clubs is tied 1-1.
Shawn Smeglin was lights out on the mound and the Americans scored two runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back, defeating the Merchants by a score of 5-1 Sunday afternoon at Walsh Field.
Melrose took the two run, first inning lead on just one hit, a leadoff single by Will Shackelford. After that single, Wakefield pitcher Steve Xirinachs (2-2) did himself in by walking Nick Herzog, hitting Malcolm Nachmanoff with a pitch to load the bases and walking clean up hitter Kyle Devin to force in Shackelford. Xirinachs then induced a grounder to second off the bat of Hunter Boyce that scored Herzog as the Merchants spun the double play. With Nachmanoff on third and two outs, Charlie Huegi walked, but Matt Hosman ended the inning when he grounded sharply back to the pitcher.
That was all the runs the Americans would need as Smeglin (2-1), who pitched the full 7 innings, surrendering only 4 hits while walking four and striking out three, took over from there. After tossing a perfect bottom of the first, he got the first two batters in the second but soon found himself in a bases loaded situation after Nick Napoli doubled and Anthony Cecere and Ryan Collins both worked walks. But Smeglin composed himself and struck out Vin Nardone to escape the threat.
Back to back one out, third inning walks to Devin and Boyce and a two out RBI base hit by Hosman increased the Melrose lead before Smeglin pitched around two Wakefield singles in the bottom of the inning to keep the score 3-0.
In the top of the sixth, the Americans tacked on two insurance runs. Hosman led off with an infield single and took second when the shortstop overthrew first. He took third on an Andre Gaudet line drive single to right. Mike Goddu then came up large when he singled to score Hosman and send Gaudet to second where Dan Cacciola went in to run for him. Shackelford failed to get the sacrifice bunt down before flying out to center for the first out and Herzog grounded into a fielder's choice to short that erased Goddu at second and moved Cacciola to third. Malcolm Nachmanoff then delivered a clutch, two out single to center to score Cacciola with the fifth and final Americans' run.
Smeglin entered the bottom of the seventh working on a three hit shutout. He got pinch hitter Louis Tarantino to ground to short where Shackelford made a great diving stop before throwing to first for the out, but Bobby Losano gave the Merchants life when he singled to center and stole second. He moved to third when Scott Searles grounded to short for the second out. It appeared that Smeglin had completed the shutout on a ground ball to second, but a not so great throw from second baseman Charlie Huegi and poor glove work by first baseman Dave Center resulted in an error on Center, allowing Losano to score the shut out breaking run. Smeglin regrouped and got Dillon Koster to ground out to Shackelford at short to end it.
The Americans' bats showed signs of life in this one as they banged out eight hits, two more than they'd gotten in the two previous games combined. They were aided greatly by seven Wakefied walks and two hit by pitches. Nachmanoff and Hosman each picked up a pair of hits for the Americans, while Shackelford, Boyce, Gaudet and Goddu chipped in with one.
The Reading Bulldogs will visit the Americans at Morelli Field Monday night. The Bulldogs hold a 2-1 lead thus far in the season series. Chris Mitchell (3-2) is scheduled to throw the first pitch at 7:30.
Melrose Matters: LHP Kyle Autilio has been diagnosed with left shoulder tendonitis and has been shut down indefinitely. Autilio is the second Americans' pitcher to be placed on the DL with injury in the last two weeks, joining Mark Fusco who went on the list following an outing against the Somerville Royals July 5.
The Americans' bats remained in hibernation against the Watertown Reds Friday night at Victory Field and they were shutout 3-0 for the second consecutive game.
The Reds, who also struggled on the offensive end Friday, put together three of their four hits off Americans' starter Zach Begin in the fifth inning when they scored all three of their runs.
The Americans squandered a bases loaded, no outs situation in the top of the fifth. Consecutive singles by Chris Hopkins, Will Shackelford and Charlie Huegi off Reds' hurler Nate Beck started the inning, but Andre Gaudet forced Hopkins at home on a grounder to shortstop for the first out, Mike LaRovere struck out looking for the second and Dan Cacciola grounded out to short for the third. Watertown took full advantage of the squander in the bottom of the fifth.
Begin entered the inning with a no-hitter but Mike Samko put an end to that when he led off with a triple to center field. Justin Forman followed with a single off the glove of a pulled in and diving Shackelford to score Samko. Casey Santos Ocampo fouled out to first for out number one but Cal Christofori caught up to a Begin fastball and drove it over the left center field fence for a two run homer to give Watertown a 3-0 lead. Begin ended the inning with two strike outs and allowed only one other hit in the game, a single in the sixth, but the Americans couldn't get anything done with the bats against Beck and the 3-0 lead held up.
Begin (0-1), who helped St. John's Prep of Danvers to the Super 8 final this year, pitched a gem for the Americans in his first Intercity League start. He went six innings, allowed three earned runs on four hits. He struck out four Reds and walked one.
Offensively, the Americans managed just five hits. Nick Herzog joined Hopkins, Shackelford and Huegi with singles and John Jennings added a two out double in the sixth.
The Americans fell two games under .500 with the loss. Now 6-8, they've reached the halfway point of the season in sixth place, holding down the final playoff spot. They travel to Wakefield Sunday for a 4:00 contest against the Merchants at Walsh Field. Sean Smeglin will be on the mound seeking his second win of the season Sunday.