ATTLEBORO — A tandem of Rocketeers, Matt Wanless and Kyle Bolger, newly-minted products of North Attleboro High School, delivered the pitches and hits, respectively, that carried the South Attleboro American Legion Post 312 baseball team to a 3-1 victory over Somerset Wednesday at Bishop Feehan High’s Beach Field.
In avenging a 5-4 loss in eight innings at Somerset Tuesday, South Attleboro and Hathaway Post of Somerset are both deadlocked for first place in the District 6 standings with 11-3 records.
South Attleboro and Somerset meet for a third consecutive night Thursday, at Somerset, to determine first place as the No. 1 seed for the playoffs to begin next week. The winner meets Fall River, and the second-place finisher tangles with New Bedford — both best of three-game series.
Wanless weaved his way through danger time and again, ending five consecutive innings with strikeouts, stranding Somerset runners at second and third base in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Another Rocketeer, Russ Dunlap, relieving Wanless at the outset of the seventh inning, also worked his way through trepidation, yielding a two-out double. But with the potential trying run at home plate, Dunlap retired the No. 3 Somerset batter in the order on strikes.
Wanless scattered six hits over six innings, while walking three in a 91-pitch performance. But after Somerset touched him for a run in the first frame on two hits, Wanless, a righthander, pitched five scoreless frames — evading danger as Somerset had the leadoff batter on base in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings.
Meanwhile, Bolger, batting in the No. 9 spot of the Post 312 order, smacked two of South Attleboro’s mere total of four hits and drove in both the game-winning run in the second inning and an insurance tally in the fourth frame — both with two outs.
In the second, after Attleboro High’s Tim Callahan drew a leadoff walk, Bishop Hendricken’s Jared Munoz of Attleboro reached base on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on a two-out double into left field off the bat of Bolger.
In the fourth frame, Bolger created a two-run lead for South Attleboro. Callahan drew his second leadoff walk of the game, advanced when Munoz’s fly ball to right field was misplayed, and scored on another two-out stroke by Bolger, a single into center field.
Post 312 had knotted the score at 1-1 in the first inning, as Attleboro High’s Ryan Morry reached base on a pop double down the right-field line and scored on a Troy Gamache single.
South Attleboro had more runs denied as Somerset turned an inning-ending double play in the first and a leadoff Post 312 runner was gunned down trying to steal second base for the first out of the third inning.
Post 312 had lost a heartbreaker of a one-run game to Somerset a night earlier. Munoz broke a 1-1 tie for South Attleboro by socking a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. But Post 312’s three-run lead was short-lived.
Wanless stranded a Somerset baserunner in the second inning with a strikeout of the No. 9 batter for the final out.
In the third inning, North Attleboro High’s Jake Palmer extricated Wanless out of a jam by latching onto a line drive and turning it into a double play for the first two outs of the frame.
In the fourth, with a Somerset runner at second base, Wanless retired the No. 7 batter on strikes to end the threat.
In the fifth, Wanless yielded a pair of hits with two outs, but then gunned down the No. 3 batter on strikes to strand runners at second and third.
And in the sixth inning, after issuing walks to the first two batters that he faced, Wanless struck out the No. 8 batter, once again stranding runners at second and third base.