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Late run not enough for baseball team

The throw to Marblehead pitcher Drew Whitman came a little too late as a Salem runner slides safely into home. Photo by Spenser Hasak

What does a good baseball team do when facing a 7-1 deficit midway through the fourth inning? It doesn’t give up.

Despite Marblehead losing a home game to Salem on Friday, things certainly got interesting before the eventual 7-4 final.

Trailing by six runs in the fifth, step one was to get men on base – consider it a mission accomplished. Marblehead’s Bodie Bartram (single) and Drake Wyman (double) did just that, and Bartram went on to score and make things 7-2.

“You stay in it,” Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said. “You come back in and we get energy.”

Charlie Sachs followed with an RBI single to plate Wyman, and things got even more interesting at 7-3.

Then came the boom. Marblehead’s Shane Keough saw one he liked before hitting a home run into center field. The Magicians faithful went crazy for a 7-4 game.

“I liked the fact that we never gave up,” Giardi said.

As if this one needed more theatrics, Marblehead had its bases loaded in the seventh inning with a chance to win it, but a groundout to first base was all she wrote.

“We put ourselves in a position to tie the game, but you can’t give a team like Salem extra outs and extra opportunities,” Giardi said.

Extra opportunities, indeed. The Magicians walked Salem’s leadoff hitters twice, and second hitters twice.

“When you’re starting innings with guys on base, it’s tough,” Giardi said. “That’s going to come back to hurt you.”

And, there were outfield miscommunications on more than one occasion. Giardi said the little, big things will come with time.

“You learn from these things, and in baseball, you’ve got to have a short memory,” Giardi said.

Drew Whitman toed the rubber for Marblehead, allowing five hits and two earned runs across four innings. He also retired six Witches.

It’s the second consecutive game Whitman’s improved throughout each inning (he allowed two runs in the first), and his fastball has improved according to Giardi.

“He’s gutty. He pitches better as the game goes along,” Giardi said. “He’s gotten much better than where he was, especially last year.”

Marblehead scored a first inning run with Keough plating Brooks Keefe on a single to right field. But in the end, Keough’s RBI and the fifth inning-barrage couldn’t do the trick.

“It’s a little frustrating. The guys are frustrated right now, too,” Giardi said.

When asked about his level of satisfaction early on in the spring, Giardi said the team has hung around, but needs to make more things happen.

“Obviously, we don’t want to be 3-4 right now,” Giardi said. “Because we were so successful at the end of last year, the kids feel it’s just going to carry over, and right now it hasn’t.”