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Lack of big hit burns Bears

POSTED May 29, 2018
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

            THOMASTON – There was so much the Thomaston Bears offered up in their Class S opener against No. 19 St. Bernard’s Tuesday afternoon – a gritty pitching effort from Drew Colavecchio, Jon Wilson’s two hits and usual three times on base. Some vintage seventh inning magic.

            It sounds like victory, it smelled like victory. Ahh, but the recipe was missing a major ingredient. There were hits but there wasn’t a big hit to be found and as darkness descended on Black Rock Field, the 2018 season became history.

            St. Bernard’s shook off a disastrous seventh inning and rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to eliminate the No. 10 Bears, 5-3, in game delayed a half hour because of lightning.

            The Bears (12-9) stranded 14 runners on base, leaving the bags full in both the first and third innings and just could not overcome the run-producing futility.

            “It’s not that we did not hit, we just couldn’t get a big hit,” said Wilson.

            “(Leaving men on base) is not usually a problem we have,” said coach Pat O’Neill. “We usually don’t get that many runners on. We didn’t have timely hitting.”

            The Bears did take a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Wilson led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and came home on Colavecchio’s single.  But that was it for a long, long time.

            Colavecchio (one earned runs, six hits) had no margin for error and was outstanding through the first five innings preserving the 1-0 lead. But the wheels began to wobble in the sixth as the Bears’ defense faltered.

            Connor Svab reached first to start the inning when third baseman Isaiah Johnson couldn’t handle his sharp ground ball. After a bunt and ground out moved Svab to third basek Brandon Beck walked and pinch runner Guthrie Belfiglio took off for second base.

            Catcher Jack Brody gunned the ball down to second base as Svab bolted for home. The relay throw was not in time, tying the game, 1-1. Will Kane put the Saints ahead with a sharp single to left.

            After the lightning delay, St. Bernard’s added another run in the seventh when Brian Bergeron reached on an error and Svab made it 3-1 with a base hit to right field.

            The Bears were past life support in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and nobody on. But then some brown and gold magic was found.

            Ian Bethin walked and Johnson singled. Brody’s slow roller down first base was misplayed as Bethin came home to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Bears weren’t done yet. Reliever Brandon Beck uncorked a wild pitch as Johnson barreled home narrowly beat the tag to tie the game.

            About this time you started thinking that you can’t make this stuff up and the ghosts of Bears’ past were going to win the game. You don’t lose after scoring twice with two outs, do you?

            Well, it was good magic but not enough magic. The Bears left two more runners on in the eighth inning and then it was the Saints’ turn. Johnson, on in relief, got the first two hitters but Cole Potts singled and Brian Bergeron walked. Svab then lined an RBI single to left followed by Hunter Baillargeon’s RBI single for a 5-3 lead.

            The Bears did leave one more runner on in the ninth but the there was nothing left as the clock approached the 8 p.m. hour.

            “I thought we were going to get the ghosts to come out but we made too many mistakes today,” said O’Neill. “We gave up two unearned runs and we didn’t have timely hitting. But I’m proud of us not giving up. Two outs, down two runs, we came back.”

            If only for a big hit or two.     

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