By Nick Bello– Media Operations Assistant, Newport Gulls
NEWPORT, R.I. – Newport (20-15) walked-off against the Valley Blue Sox (18-16-1) for the third time this season at Cardines Field. Mike Townsend picked up the win for Newport while Hunter Waldis was saddled with the loss for the Blue Sox.
The Gulls bats got hot early on as they tacked on five runs in the bottom of the first thanks to three RBI doubles by Hudson Haskin, Colton Bender, and Austin James. The lead, however, would be short-lived as the Blue Sox would score six runs in the top of the second, including a grand-slam by Carter Williams to make it 6-5.
In the bottom of the third, the Gulls would tie it up at six after Haskin launched a solo home run to left-center. The Blue Sox would go on to take a one-run lead in the top of the fifth after Garret Schmeltz hit Travis Holt with a pitch, walking in a run. The Gulls would go on to tie it up yet again in the bottom of the inning after Justyn-Henry Malloy hit a rare ground-rule double to left-center that scored Chris Hamiltonfrom second.
The score would be knotted up leading into the bottom of the ninth thanks to stellar pitching out of the bullpen from both Schmeltz andTownsend, setting the Gulls up for a chance for some late-game heroics yet again. The inning began with Scott Holzwasser taking a leadoff walk. The Blue Sox, however, were then able to record two outs and were one away from sending the game to extra innings. However, Hunter Waldis hit Malloy with a pitch which set up Haskin to win the game for the Gulls. Haskin came through on an 0-1 pitch that he sent off the wall in straight away center, scoring Holzwasser to give the Gulls the walk-off win.
With the win, Newport is now sitting comfortably in second place in the Southern Division as they are two and a half games ahead of the Mystic Schooners and also two and a half games behind the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. The Gulls will make the trip to Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday for a 7 pm start time, as they look to gain some more ground on the Sharks for the first-place spot in the Southern Division.