Sports

Merrimack bats come to life vs. Portsmouth

Friday, July 11, 2014

By BEN LEVINE

Correspondent

It’s much easier for a pitcher when he has some run support, and Merrimack’s Zack Amodio got that backing Tuesday night.

However, considering the way he was throwing the ball, his teammates could have called off their offensive barrage a bit early. Amodio allowed only one run in a complete-game effort, leading Merrimack Post 98 to a convincing 10-1 victory over Portsmouth Post 6.

The win was a bit of sweet redemption for Amodio’s squad; Portsmouth topped Merrimack in extra innings less than two weeks ago.

Amodio overcame a shaky start and eventually settled in, retiring 12 of the final 15 Portsmouth batters. The righty threw only 92 pitches in nine innings, allowing six hits and two walks. That made the job a lot easier for coach Mike Henzley, who was serving as manager due to Cliff Hicks’ absence.

“Zack pitched a great game,” Henzley said. “We had a couple of guys ready to come in if we needed them, but that never happened. Zack went the full nine innings and I couldn’t ask more from a guy. He was rolling.”

Not to be outdone, the Merrimack offense also shined. Post 98 compiled 11 hits to go along with six walks. Steve McFadden had a big game offensively, knocking in three runs on a pair of triples.

“He’s been hitting the ball hard all season but it keeps going right at people,” said Henzley of McFadden’s performance. “He kind of broke out of that today and got the ball in the gaps a couple of times.”

Merrimack first got on the board in the third when Michael Gasper took home on a double steal. McFadden’s triple made the score 2-0, but Portsmouth quickly cut the deficit back to one.

Merrimack broke it open in the fifth. Gasper knocked in a run on a single to center before McFadden’s second triple plated two more. Post 98 added two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

Gasper ultimately reached base five times while collecting three hits. The third baseman also scored a pair of runs, stole two bases and knocked in three runs.

“That’s typical,” Henzley said. “He’s probably our best hitter, no doubt about it.”

Brendan Holt, Taylor Black and Jack Duffy scored two runs apiece for Merrimack. Teammate Brendan Carter added a pair of hits.

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