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Manny’s turns back Ash-Dee scare, 6-4

It looked like a mismatch going in, but last-place Ash-Dee gave second-place Manny’s TV & Appliance all it could handle Sunday before Manny’s pulled out a late win with a 6-4 Tri-County League amateur baseball triumph at East Longmeadow High School.

A three-run fifth inning lifted Ash-Dee into a 4-3 lead and things got tense for Manny’s, who has lost just once this season but played some tight ballgames of late. Manny’s (10-1-1) came back to score twice in the sixth inning on three Ash-Dee errors, then added one more run in the seventh for insurance.

“Perhaps you look at the two teams on paper, but you don’t play them on paper,” Manny’s coach Lee Magee said. “We have to make sure we don’t take anyone lightly. We need to come out and play hard every day. Today, we hung in there and we found a way to come back.”

It wasn’t easy. Manny’s held a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Ash-Dee hung three runs on starting pitcher Devin Rhodes. Mario Felici and Colin O’Neil sandwiched RBI singles around an RBI groundout by Alex Caldwell to drive in the three runs. But sloppy defense came back to bite Ash-Dee, which had played errorless ball until the sixth inning. T.J. Meyer led off the inning with a single and was standing at third base with two outs when Soren Pelz-Walsh hit a grounder to third that should have been the final out of the frame but wound up as an error, allowing Meyer to score the tying run. That opened the floodgates as two more errors followed, allowing Pelz-Walsh to score the go-ahead run. Manny’s added one more run in the seventh inning when the ageless Dave Talbot (44 years young) smoked an RBI double down the line in left to score Mike Putala, who had walked and stole second base.

Rhodes earned the win with four strikeouts and no walks in 5 1/ 3 innings, while Dean Bonneau finished it up and struck out three to record the save.

Manny’s took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Greg Vouros led off the game with a double to left-center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brian Hayes. The visitors made it 2-0 in the third inning as Hayes and Garrett Hudson each singled and Hayes later scored on a sac fly by Steffen Herter. Ash-Dee got one run back in the bottom of the third on a Dave Gwozdz solo home run, but Manny’s pushed the lead back to two runs in the top of the fifth when Garrett Hudson and Austin Finck pulled off a trick play with two outs. With the count 0-2 to Putala, Finck walked off first base to intentionally get into a rundown. When he did, Hudson broke for home and scored without a throw.

Nate Jurkowski struck out three and walked three in the loss.

Manny’s hosts Chicopee Tigers tonight at 7 at Vets Field in Greenfield.

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