Mitchell, Hamilton-Grenham Collar Bulldogs 7-1
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.