Bottom-of-the-order heroics pace Islanders
No. 9 hitter Taylor Larkin hit a walk-off single to right-centre field Saturday to help the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders win 4-3 and sweep a doubleheader with the Saint John Alpines.
With the victories at Memorial Field, the Islanders improve to 14-7 and move to within a half a game of the Fredericton Royals for first place in the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League, while the Alpines fall to 3-20.
Larkin, who finished Game 2 2-for-3, with a double and the game-winning single, was looking for the heater and capitalized when he got it.
“I was just trying to pick the boys up and get the big hit,” Larkin said.
“The infield and outfield were both in, so I was looking for a pitch middle up, so I could get my hands through and hit the ball in the air somewhere, and hopefully get it over the outfielder’s head.”
After a 10-day layoff, the Islanders found a way to take both games despite trailing in each matchup.
The Alpines struck quickly in Game 2, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning off of starting pitcher Jacob Beck, who hit two batters in the inning. Beck surrendered a sacrifice fly to Yves Parent and an RBI single to Joel Arbeau.
The Islanders stormed back in the second, as the Alpines struggled to field the ball.
Islanders right-fielder Sean Corcoran hit a sharp grounder that trickled past second basemen Devan Thomas’ glove. A wild pitch and a Will Connolly single and the Islanders had men on the corners.
Alpines starter Dan Taylor’s second wild pitch of the inning scored Corcoran and Brody McDonald hit a game-tying single.
The Alpines scored in the fourth off a Thomas RBI single.
The lead was short-lived as the bottom of the order came up big for the Islanders in the fifth. Kris McGuirk and Larkin singled and doubled, respectively, and Dylan McKenna hit the gametying sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Dan O’Shea doubled, McGuirk moved him to third with a bunt and Larkin ended the game.
“I just wanted to get the bat on the ball and give us a chance to win,” O’Shea said.
McDonald pitched a perfect seventh inning for the win. Beck allowed three runs off six hits and three walks while recording four strikeouts.
After a 10-day layoff, the bats were slow to get going, but the pitching staff picked up the slack.
“It definitely helped the pitchers to rest their arms and we practised three or four times in the meantime just to stay fresh, too,” O’Shea said.
Jordan Stevenson nabbed the Game 1 win in a complete-game effort, allowing one run off four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
The Islanders capitalized on four Alpine errors, as they took home the 2-1 victory with just a single hit, a Morgan MacLean bunt.
Sean Corcoran, of the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders, scores ahead of the tag from Saint John Alpines pitcher Dan Taylor Saturday at Memorial Field. Charlottetown (14-7) will host the Moncton Fisher Cats (9-7) Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.