Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College baseball squad overcame an early strike from visiting Mitchell College and rallied to a 5-4 victory in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) game at MacKenzie Stadium Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Blazers improve to 8-10 overall and 3-5 in NECC play, while the Mariners fall to 15-3, and 8-1 in conference action.
Mitchell wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with senior Kenneth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) blasting a three-run home run following a leadoff walk and a single from freshman Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn.), staking the Mariners to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Mitchell tacked on another run in the second on a sacrifice fly from senior Peter McTernan (Union, N.J.) to make it a 4-0 game.
The Blazers ignited their comeback in the bottom of the third with a single from senior Kevin Dwire (Ellington, Conn.), followed by back-to-back hit batters in senior Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) and sophomore Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) to load the bases. Senior Geoff Frost (Ludlow, Mass.) stepped to the dish and laced a 2-1 offering from Mitchell sophomore Axel De Jesus (Stratford, Conn.) into the gap for a base-clearing double, cutting the Blazers deficit to 4-3 after three innings.
Elms completed their rally in the bottom of the fourth with freshman Michael Bombard (Chicopee, Mass.) leading the inning off with a single, and came around to score as junior Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) survived a rundown after a single. The Blazers pulled ahead 5-4 as McTernan misplayed a ball at shortstop, allowing Medeiros to the decisive run.
The Blazers escaped jams in the eighth and ninth with the Mariners putting runners in scoring position. In the eighth, Mitchell had the bases loaded with one out, but Hartenstein laced a ball right at Elms sophomore first baseman Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.), who made the catch and tagged the bag for the inning-ending double play. Olszewski advanced all the way to third in the ninth, but Elms junior Brian Langdon (Beacon Falls, Conn.) induced a game-ending pop up to secure the 5-4 victory.
Bombard led the Blazers at the dish, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Frost knocked in three runs, while Medeiros, Zima, Dwire, junior RJ Lyrenmann (Glendale, Ariz.) and sophomore Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) each added hits. Elms junior Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass.) earned his third win of the season, allowing four runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts in seven innings of work, while Langdon recorded his third save of the year. De Jesus took the loss, surrendering five runs, four earned, with four strikeouts in six innings.
The Blazers will return to action Tuesday afternoon in a conference matchup against Lesley at MacKenzie Stadium. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m. Mitchell hosts Albertus Magnus in non-conference play Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.