OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide manager Chris Torres said after Wednesday night’s game that he had grown some new gray hairs. The 30-year-old Torres can live with a couple faded follicles, however, as the Tide walked off with a 4-3 win in 11 innings over the Torrington Titans at The Ballpark.

“Just call us the cardiac kids,” said Torres. “That’s what we are. And it’s awesome.”

It was a pivotal game for the Raging Tide, which held a one-game lead over the Titans for the sixth and final playoff spot prior to Wednesday night’s game.

But things didn’t go the Tide’s way early on, as the Titans scored two runs in unconventional fashion to take a 2-0 lead. With two outs in the top of the first, Ryan Kelly hit a grounder to third, and Tide third baseman Shane Bussey threw it wide of Phil Sciretta at first, allowing Kelly to advance all the way to third. When right fielder Brian Doran got to the ball, he threw back over to third, trying to get Kelly. Doran’s throw was air-mailed, allowing Kelly to score.

“With baseball, you got to forget those things. Things like that happen,” said Doran.

Torrington scored again in the third, as Kelly hit a two-out triple to deep left-center, then scored on a wild pitch.

The Raging Tide battled back and took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Doran led off with a single up the middle, stole second, and after Matt Pagano walked, moved to third on a botched pick-off attempt by Torrington starting pitcher Mike Gibbons. Sam Canales then hit a dribbler down the first base line, and catcher Conor Fitzsimmons threw the ball wide of first, allowing Doran to score and putting runners on the corners. But the umpire ruled that Canales interfered with the throw by running inside the base path, and he was ruled out, with Pagano moving back to second. After Tito Lluberes walked on a 3-2 pitch, Fran Whitten smacked a double to deep left-center to drive in two runs.

Michael Franzese came on in relief of starting pitcher Enrique Sosa ”“ who allowed just two hits in six innings ”“ and got himself into trouble in short fashion. Consecutive singles to lead off the inning, followed by an error by Sciretta trying to field a bunt, loaded the bases with no outs. But Franzese got out of the jam with a strikeout of Tyler Martis and a 4-6-3 double play.

“I think the boys felt a little bit (of pressure). But I think they dealt through it,” said Torres. “Teams that win rise above adversity. Today we rose above adversity.”

The Raging Tide weren’t so lucky an inning later, as again Franzese allowed a lead-off single. He then struck out Jeffrey Osak and got Kelly to ground into a fielder’s choice to get two outs, but a wild pitch strike three against Michael Odenwaelder got away from Whitten behind the plate, and a throw to first went off-target, allowing Kelly to score. Torres tried to argue that the ball was fouled off, but to no avail.

Both teams put runners on base in the ninth, but the game headed to extra innings. The Titans stranded a runner at third in the top of the tenth, but Tide reliever Louis Distasio got Odenwaelder to pop out to second to end the threat.

Torrington put another scare into the Tide in the 11th, loading the bases with two outs on three walks by John Mildner. But Casey Jones struck out looking to keep the game knotted up at 3-3.

Bussey led off the bottom of the inning with a double down the first base line against Torrington reliever Chris Hatfield, who was in his fifth inning of work.  Hatfield then intentionally walked Graham McIntire before being lifted in favor of Alex Disanto. A sacrifice bunt by Aaron Wilson moved both runners into scoring position, and Disanto intentionally walked Sciretta to load the bases. That brought Doran to the plate, and he was able to make up for his run-scoring error 10 inning prior, lacing a single past a drawn in Martis at shortstop to score Bussey for the winning run.

“I got a good pitch to hit. Guys got on base, so they gave me the opportunity. I got lucky, got a good pitch, and hit it hard,” said Doran. “I kind of owed it to the team. I made a big error in the first inning that cost us a run. It was just good to get that run back for the team.”

The win gives the Raging Tide a two-game cushion over Torrington with three games to go, and also puts the Tide just a half-game out of fourth pace, which would mean a home playoff game in the opening round of the playoffs.

“This is huge. This alleviates some pressure off of us, even though we still need maybe one more win. This win could very well put us in the playoffs. It’s a big win. I’m proud of the boys.”

NOTES: The Raging Tide has added a game to its schedule, as the Tide will host Wachusett on Friday at 7 p.m. for a make-up game from earlier in the season. The owners of the team have proclaimed the new regular season finale as “Family Day” at The Ballpark.

Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323. Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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