AUBURN – There are swings in momentum, and then there’s the full-scale counter-attack Edward Little put on Cony at Pettengill Park on Monday.
EL gave Cony an 11-spot, then scored 20 unanswered runs to pull out a remarkable 20-11 comeback victory on a chilly, overcast afternoon.
Reliever Justin Ciszweski gave up a two-run homer to cap off the Rams’ 11-run outburst in the first inning, then shut them out the rest of the way to pick up his first win. Left fielder Tyler Snowe led the offense by going four-for-five with three RBIs and three runs scored.
“That was phenomenal. One of the best comebacks that I’ve ever seen,” EL coach Scott Annear said. “We knew that we could score runs. We just needed to get on a run. If you’re going to give up 11 runs, you do it in the first inning.”
Perhaps the most important thing for the Red Eddies (2-1) was that they stayed patient at the plate and didn’t try to get all the runs back at once. They cut into the deficit against Cony starter Ryan Cotnoir with RBI hits by Kyle Giguere and Snowe in the first and third innings that helped pull them to within 11-6.
“All through preseason and the regular season, coach has been saying Let’s get six guys to the plate each inning.’ We’ve gotten six guys to the plate and we’ve averaged two runs an inning for all three games,” said Snowe, who had three singles and a double.
EL sent 14 batters to the plate in the fourth to take the lead. Merrill, Ciszewski and Snowe each drove in a run to make it 11-9. Cotnoir then walked in a run and plunked Colby Malcolm to force home Snowe with the tying score. John Alexander (two-for-three, four runs scored) greeted reliever Steve Record with a bloop single to right that plated Corey LaRue with the go-ahead run. Derek Doucette added a two-run double to extend the lead to 15-11.
Ciszewski, who came on in relief of starter Chris Merrill with two out in the first, gave up a single in the second, another in the third and a walk in the fourth. But he induced double plays in each of those innings to keep the momentum in EL’s favor.
“Once my team started chipping away, I just tried to hold them off, because I knew we’d come back,” said Ciszewski, who surrendered three hits in six innings after Tom Daniels’ two-run homer in the first. “That first inning was a little rough, but coming into the next inning, I knew that I had to start bearing down right off the bat because I knew that we were going to chip away.”
By the fifth inning, the Eddies were well beyond chipping away, but the Rams (0-3) still helped them out with three errors that led to five more runs. Ciszewski delivered the big blow with a two-run double.
“This team’s starting to learn about momentum and learning you’ve got to keep a good team down,” said Cony coach Dennis Dacus. “They brought a new pitcher in, but he really wasn’t throwing any harder than the first guy. He had a little more control and his curve ball was maybe a little bit better, but he wasn’t much different than the first guy.”
Merrill had a nightmare of a first inning. Joe Lajoie led off the game with a double to open the floodgates, and Merrill seemed to lose his composure after giving up RBI hits to Tommy Poulin and Cotnoir because he issued three walks to the bottom of the Rams’ order.
On his second at-bat of the inning, Lajoie jacked a 3-2 pitch to left-center for a grand slam that made it 8-0. Ciszewski came on and didn’t fare much better initially, surrendering an RBI double to Poulin before Daniels’ two-run blast to left.
“I told them after that inning that was the best and worst thing that could have happened to us,” Dacus said. “The best thing is, of course, that we have an 11-0 lead. The worst thing is, mentally we’ve got to stay focused, and we didn’t.”