Jones steals home in tenth as Mt. Hope tops Tiverton, 5-4, in preliminary playoff game

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 6/15/21

Huskies sophomore, AJ Jones, stole home on a passed ball in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Mt. Hope a, 5-4, victory over Tiverton, in a preliminary playoff game at Guiteras Field on Sunday …

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Jones steals home in tenth as Mt. Hope tops Tiverton, 5-4, in preliminary playoff game

Posted

Huskies sophomore, AJ Jones, stole home on a passed ball in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Mt. Hope a, 5-4, victory over Tiverton, in a preliminary playoff game at Guiteras Field on Sunday evening. The 100 plus fans were on the edge of their seats as the Huskies were trying to manufacture a run in the bottom of the tenth inning to win the game with the score tied 4-4. Mt. Hope had beaten the 6-10, Tigers, earlier in the season. Their rematch with their seasons at stake, had taken on the mantra of a 15 round, heavyweight fight. Tiverton starter, Caiden Ibbotson a senior, kept the Huskies off balance for six innings, scattering seven hits, striking out four, walking one and hitting one batter, gave way to sophomore, Jason Potvin (three strikeouts, three hits, no walks) who shut down the Huskies for three innings before giving up the game winning run in the bottom of the tenth.

“That was the longest game in my tenure as coach,” said Huskies head coach Mike Mazzarella. “It wasn’t an easy game to be a part of, but the boys buckled down and were able to grind out the win.”  

Bottom of the tenth

Senior first baseman Matt Brackett singled to start off the bottom of the tenth. Brackett, two for four with two RBI, smashed a triple into the left-centerfield gap in the fifth inning to tie the game, 4-4. Sophomore AJ Jones also singled, to give the Huskies runners at first and second. Potvin then hit Griffin Berardo with the count, 1-2, to load the bases with no outs. The young pitcher bared down and got Matt Gale to ground to Tigers senior second baseman, Cam Travis. He threw home to senior catcher Tom Wood to force out Brackett at the plate for the first out of the inning. Nine hitter, Dave Benevides, walked to the plate with the bases still loaded. The senior was hitless for the game and Potvin struck out him out with three pitches, the last a curve ball that landed in the dirt. Wood went down for it, but the pitch got by him. The ball hit the fence and spun up towards the Huskies dug out. AJ Jones quickly scampered home for the winning run and the Guiteras Field crowd erupted. 

“I didn’t have to say anything,” said Coach Mazzarella. “Jones just took off. When he got to the plate, the team came out of the dug out and swarmed him. We survived and It felt great. Tiverton was certainly a tough test.”

Tiverton scores first

Tiverton scored two runs off Mt. Hope ace Ethan Leary (seven strikeouts, four hits, one walk in three innings) in the top of second inning. Tigers centerfielder Devin Pieroni doubled to lead off the inning. Leary struck out Potvin for the first out. Senior Ben Deneault singled, to give Tiverton runners at first and third with one out. He then stole second base to give the Tigers runners on second and third for Travis, who laced a single to center to score Pieroni, to give Tiverton a, 1-0, lead.  Leary struck out Justin Durfee for the second out, but Ibbotson (two for five), smacked a single to left to score Deneault, for a Tigers, 2-0, lead. Leary struck out Jameson Peckham on three pitches, to end the inning. 

Mt. Hope got one run back in the bottom of the second. Jones singled to right field with one out. Sophomore Matt Gale, the designated hitter, smacked a two out double to left centerfield, to score Jones and cut the Tigers lead to, 2-1. 

The Huskies tied the game in the bottom of the third inning. Junior catcher Jack Standish singled and moved to second on a force out. Senior short stop Ryan Nappi hit a rolling grounder to third base. Potvin ate up the grounder and rocketed a throw to senior first baseman, AJ Vieira, to nab Nappi by a step. Huskies senior clean up hitter Cam Connor hit an 0-1, fastball to centerfield, to score Standish and tie the game, 2-2. Brackett crushed a long fly ball to centerfield, but the tall, lanky Pieroni snared the ball for the the third out.

Huskies take the lead 

The Huskies scored two more in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Ibbotson hit Mt. Hope lead off hitter Parker Camelo to start off the inning. The senior then walked Standish on four pitches, giving the Huskies runners on first and second base with no outs. Ibbotson got Nappi to fly to Pieroni in centerfield for the first out. Cam Connor hit a sharp grounder to Potvin at third and he stepped on the bag to get Camelo for the second out. Brackett stepped to the plate and lined a triple into the right centerfield gap, to score Standish and Connor and put the Huskies up, 4-2.

Tigers knot it again

The Tigers picked themselves up off the mat and scored two in the top of the sixth to knot the score, 4-4. Durfee hit a one out single to centerfield. Van Amberg pitching in his third inning, walked Ibbotson to give the Tigers runners at first and second with one out. Durfee and Ibbotson both moved up a base on a passed ball to give Peckham, the Tigers two hitter, runners at second and third. The senior singled up the middle, plating both runners to tie the score 4-4. Coach Mazzarella walked to the mound to get Van Amberg and replace him with Brad Denson. The sophomore walked Vieira, struck out Wood for the second out and hit Pieroni to give the Tigers runners on first and second with two out. Coach Mazzarella replaced Denson with Jones and the flame throwing righty struck out Potvin on a 3-2, pitch to end the threat. Jones pitched the rest of the way for the Huskies, striking out nine, walked one and allowed one hit, in four and a third innings of work.

“It was a great team win,” Coach Mazzarella said. “The team showed resilience. We really appreciated the support from the community. It was an awesome atmosphere for the boys to play in front of.” 

Next up: 

The Huskies will play Middletown or West Warwick in their next playoff game at Guiteras Field on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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