A Plus comeback dashes Nichirin's hopes of first win

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A Plus winning pitcher Brooks Leftwich winds up for a pitch in the second versus Nichirin. Leftwich had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning and wound up surrendering just two base knocks in the 8-4 win that sent his squad into a second place tie with MMC. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

In Thursday night's Babe Ruth League nightcap at Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field, winless Nichirin (0-5) was on the verge of getting off the snide until A Plus manager Dan Pickle lit a fire under his ballclub that sent the collision center crew off to a five-run sixth inning that put them over the top in an 8-4 win.

With the win, A Plus (3-2) moved into a second place tie with Marshall Medical Center with three weeks remaining in the regular season schedule.

A Plus got on the board first, scoring twice in the top of the second, beginning with back-to-back hit by pitches to Jody Sullivan and Dallas Wright.

A force at third gave Nichirin starter David Looney the first out, but a passed ball on the next batter moved both runners up one bag each to second and third.

A single up the middle by Austin Blade sent Sullivan home and Wright scored when Nichirin fumbled the ball.

Brooks Leftwich pitched a scoreless second inning for A Plus, as did Looney in the top of the third.

Nichirin tallied an unearned off Leftwich in the bottom of third on a two-out walk to Hunter Talley, followed by a passed ball and an infield error.

Stuart Warner came to the hill in the fourth and set down A Plus 1-2-3.

Leftwich gave up his first hit of the game with one out in the bottom of the fourth to Looney and Gunner Southland followed with another base knock.

A passed ball sent the runners to second and third before Leftwich issued a walk to Connor Mealer to load the sacks.

A base on balls to Madison Peete scored Looney and one out later, two more runs scored on an A Plus miscue in the field to give Nichirin a 4-2 lead.

A Plus squandered a two out bases loaded opportunity in the top of the fifth and Leftwich set down Nichirin in order in the home half of the stanza.

When the A Plus boys came off the field, Pickle read his crew the riot act and they responded to their manager's appeal for runs with a five-spot, beginning with an infield single by Sullivan.

Wright reached first base on a Nichirin error and Sullivan scampered over to third.

Pickle reached into his bag of tricks, calling for a double steal and that scored Sullivan when Nichirin tried to throw out Wright at second.

Leftwich singled and went to second on a bad throw before a strikeout for A Plus' first out.

Two back-to-back infield errors on Nichirin gave A Plus the lead at 5-4 and Grayson Wiles made it 7-4 with a two-run double in to the left field gap.

Southerland reached on a leadoff error by A Plus in the bottom of the inning, but he was erased from the bases on a line drive double to Wiles at second.

Leftwich got a groundout to end the inning and A Plus notched another unearned run in the top of the seventh.

Wiles came on in relief of Leftwich in the bottom of the seventh and got three ground ball outs to end the ballgame.

Leftwich earned the win with the two-hitter, striking out five Nichirin batters and walking seven.

Wiles (2 RBIs, HBP, stolen base, 1 run scored) and Leftwich (2 runs scored) had two hits apiece, while Aaron Medley, Sullivan (2 runs scored), and Blade all had one base knock.