BURLINGTON — Just one more hit, just one more play.
That was all the Burlington High baseball team needed to snap its three game losing streak last Wednesday.
Victory, however, was just out of the Red Devils' reach. After going back and forth with Wilmington for ten innings, the Wildcats prevailed, 6-5, at Jim Curtin Field.
"We left two men on in the first, two in the second and two in the sixth," said Burlington coach Dan Hirsch. "We're not playing smart baseball early in games. We had our chances to win. The guys want to succeed, but the season is slipping away."
Burlington dropped to 5-8. It was the Devils' third extra-inning loss this season.
Wilmington scored the winning run in the top of the tenth. Bailey Smith walked with one out and stole second. With two outs, Gavin Kelsey hit a double to right field, scoring Smith. Tristan Ciampa followed with a single that moved Kelsey to third, but Burlington reliever Cam Wheelock got out of the inning with a grounder back to the box.
In the bottom of the tenth, Justin Miksenas (3-for-5) singled to left with two outs, but Wilmington's Harry Serounian ended the game when he induced a grounder to second.
Burlington led 2-1 after the first inning. Chris Stokes drove in Smith with a bases loaded sacrifice fly to put the Wildcats on the board.
In the bottom half of the inning, Alex Stamides led off with a single to right and Nick Ponzini walked. With one out, Miksenas singled to right, scoring Stamides. Matt Tyman drove in Ponzini with a fly to left.
Wilmington (7-6) took the lead in the sixth, scoring four runs. Brendan George drove in two runs with a double to right. Peter Marino moved George to third with an infield hit. Andrew Gallucci singled, scoring George. Marino scored when Smith reached on a fielder's choice and Marino forced out at second.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Halloran led off with a base hit and took third on a passed ball and wild pitch. Miksenas, who followed O'Halloran with a walk, scored when Kyle Pena doubled to deep center making it a one-run game.
Shawn Pinkham, who ran for Pena, scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
Burlington threatened in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases. Ponzini was hit by the pitch to start the inning. After Serounian took the mound and retired the first two batters he faced, Tyman reached on an error and McCauley walked to load the bases. Serounian got a strikeout to send the game to the ninth.
Ciampa and Stokes started the ninth with a single to left and a bunt single, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Wheelock then retired the next three batters with two pop ups and a grounder to short.
Serounian picked up the win on the mound tossing three scoreless innings of relief. Ryan Collins was the starter and went into the sixth inning, ending with a no-decision.
Offensively, Wilmington had 11 hits including Ciampa finishing 4-for-6, Stokes having two hits and Smith, Kelsey, George, Marino and Gallucci with one each. Stokes and Kelsey had one double each.
On Thursday, the ‘Cats were defeated by Wakefield, 6-1.
Then on Monday, Wilmington trounced Shawsheen Tech, 14-1, in the second non-league game played between the two teams.
The Rams jumped on top with a run in the top of the first inning when senior C.J. Zemetres of Tewksbury walked, and Russ Cook followed with another walk before Vinny LoGuidice reached on an error allowing Zemetres to score. But that was as good as it would get for the Rams
“After that, it was all Wilmington,” Shawsheen coach Brian McCarthy said. “They got base runners on all day and came up with many timely hits. They are a solid team. They have a solid batting order, one through nine.”
The Wildcats were led on offense by junior leftfielder Bailey Smith, who reached base several with walks and a hit by pitch, scoring three runs in the day, while senior first baseman Michael Fiorenza, junior shortstop Brandon George and sophomore second baseman Andrew Gallucci each had multiple hits on the day.
Senior pitcher Ryan Collins was the star on the mound for the Wildcats, allowing just six hits over five innings while striking out five batters to pick up the first varsity win of his career.
“He had a real good day for them,” McCarthy said. “He throws hard, mixes his pitches, and kept us off-balance all day at the plate.”
On Tuesday, the Wildcats were defeated by Stoneham, 4-2, to fall to 7-8 on the season.
Wilmington will be back in action with three straight home games, with Watertown on Friday before the annual Scanlon Memorial Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The Wildcats will face Cambridge in the first round.
The team will conclude its season with a match-up on June 3rd against Melrose. The two teams will resume its suspended 7-7 game and then head over to MHS to play a second contest.
The 'Cats need to finish 3-2 over their last five games to qualify for the state tournament.
Mike Ippolito contributed to this report.