Five-run fifth propels Toll Gate
Lions suffer 3rd straight defeat
The Lincoln High School baseball team was handed its third straight defeat, as Toll Gate secured a 10-3 senior day victory at Mickey Stevens Sports Complex Thursday afternoon.
Toll Gate senior Matt Martinez earned the win, pitching a complete game and striking out three on 87 pitches.
“He got ahead of hitters,” Toll Gate coach Nick Durand said. “Once we gave him the lead, he filled up the zone. That’s what you got to do.
The Titans’ offense was led by its seniors, Dylan Palmiotti and Andrew Ekroth, who contributed two hits and three RBIs each.
Lincoln coach Vin Zibelli felt the Lions were outplayed in every part of the game.
“We’ve got to pitch better, we got to field better, and we got to hit better,” Zibelli said. “That’s really it today. It was just every facet of the game, base running, from hitting to fielding.”
“You’ve got to give Toll Gate a lot of credit. They played hard. They came out inspired and they definitely took it to us in all aspects of the game today.”
Toll Gate didn’t waste any time getting on the board.
In the first inning, the Titans had the bases loaded when they got a two-run single from sophomore right fielder Jake Langevin. Then, with runners at first and second, senior second baseman Ekroth drove in Palmiotti to extend the lead to three.
The Lions pulled within a run in the fourth inning when senior shortstop Blake Zaniol hit an RBI single down the third baseline and drove in junior outfielder Aaron DeSousa. Shortly after, Zaniol scored Lincoln’s second run when he scored from third after an error at third base.
Nonetheless, Toll Gate tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
First, sophomore AJ Ucci delivered an RBI single. Then, Langevin launched a sacrifice fly to right and scored Ucci, putting the Titans up 5-2.
In the fifth, Toll Gate tacked on five more runs. With runners in scoring position, Lincoln elected to intentionally walk Ucci to load the bases. Palmiotti came up to bat next and made Lincoln pay when he hit an RBI sin- gle. During that same play, Toll Gate had two runners near the third base bag, which caused Lincoln to throw over to second and that resulted in an error, which allowed both runners to score and gave Toll Gate an 8-2 lead.
Then, with the bases reloaded, Ekroth hit a sacrifice fly to score Palmiotti, making it 9-2. Finally, on back-to-back passed balls, Ryan Carlson trotted in from third and gave Toll Gate a 10-2 advantage.
In the sixth, Lincoln senior Stephen Andrews blasted a one-out double to right-center. Then, Zaniol sent a single down the third baseline and scored Andrews, pulling the Lions within 10-3.
It was a rare blowout win for Toll Gate, who improves to 3-14 in Division I on the season.
“We came out loose and the kids had fun and when we do that, we play well,” Durand said. “Absolutely a whole team effort. The younger guys picked up the seniors and the seniors set the tone.”
Toll Gate heads to Johnston next Wednesday for its final game of the season.
“If we can play with the same mentality that we played with today, we’ll be good to go,” Durand said.
Lincoln falls to 8-8 and plays its last two games next week starting with Monday afternoon’s game at Middletown. The regular season ends Tuesday against Central.
After producing a five-game winning streak, the Lincoln baseball team has now lost three straight games after Thursday afternoon’s 10-3 defeat to Toll Gate at Mickey Stevens Field.
Lincoln senior starter Brandon Kelly (11) didn’t make it out of the second inning, as Toll Gate scored three times in the first, twice in the fourth and fifth times in the five to hand the Lions their third straight loss, a 10-3 Division I decision Thursday afternoon.