MANSFIELD, Mass. -- It’s hard to miss the bats at the top of the Walpole Rebels lineup if you are an opposing pitcher.
When the bottom of the lineup can provide that same punch for the Rebels then the Bay State Conference and the rest of the local nines should be on alert.
The Rebels pounded out 13 hits and got multiple-hit games from Tom Farrow and Mike Rando in the final two spots of the lineup to squeak past host Mansfield, 7-6, in a nonleauge afternoon game.
Farrow and Rando each went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Rick Ordway delivered with a single off the bench to push the Rebels record to 7-0.
“We feel we are a decent hitting club,” Rebels said head coach Bill Tompkins. “If the top half doesn’t do it, then we hope the bottom half can. That’s certainly the way it is, and the bottom half did do a good job today.”
The Hornets answered a two-run top of the first inning with two of their own off Rebels starter Mike Baryski.
Then the bottom of the order took the game back for the Rebels.
Ordway entered the game in the top of the fourth as a pinch-hitter and beat out an infield single to lead off the inning. Ordway took second on a passed ball and Farrow hit a fly ball to right field that got in when Steve Nagle tripped and injured his leg (more on that later) on the play.
Ordway scored on the play for a 3-2 lead and Farrow ended up on third base. Rando roped an RBI triple to right center and John Adams brought the nine-hole hitter in with a sacrifice fly to center field.
“The biggest hit today was Rando’s triple, because that took the game back for us,” said Tompkins.
The top and middle of the lineup still provided the punch as well for the Rebels. Adams delivered with the sacrifice fly in the fourth and stung a couple of balls right at Hornets’ position players. Craig Hanley collected three singles in four plate appearances, and his brother, Cam, added a pair of hits.
NAGLE INJURY COULD PROVE COSTLY
The Hornets are much better than the 1-7 record they sport this season based on the close game they played against an undefeated elite team, but an injury to one of their leaders could prove costly.
Steve Nagle, who was 2-for-2 in his first two plate appearances at the top of the Hornets lineup, had to leave the game in the top of the fourth after he went down awkwardly trying to track down Farrow’s sly ball to right.
Nagle had to be helped off the field from his teammates and head coach Tim Graham was hoping that a serious injury could be avoided that could derail his senior leader’s season.
“It’s a huge loss because he’s a fantastic player,” said Graham. “I’m hoping it’s a little sprain. Never had an injury before and he’s played for me for three years.”