OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The first playoff game at The Ballpark in 28 years ended the same way for the hometown team: With a season-ending loss. This time around, it was the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide falling to the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks 7-3 on Monday in the franchise’s first home playoff game.

The Ballpark hadn’t seen a playoff game from a franchise since the Maine Guides played in their final playoff series in 1985. The Guides lost Game 5 of a first-round series in the International League playoffs to the Tidewater Tides.

The tide wasn’t in the home team’s favor on Monday night, as the Sharks took an early lead, just as they had in game one of the series on Sunday night. After OOB starting pitcher Enrique Sosa got out of jams in the first two innings, the Sharks struck for two runs in the third. No. 9 hitter Tad Gold led off with a walk, then advanced to second when Ryan Siegel hit a bunt single. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Sanford. Dylan Tice then hit a single up the middle to drive in both runners, with Siegel scoring when catcher Fran Whitten couldn’t corral Graham McIntire’s throw from center.

The Tide got one run back in the bottom of the inning, starting with Tito Lluberes leading off the inning by reaching on an error. Whitten followed with the Raging Tide’s first hit, a single to center. Shane Bussey tried to advance the runners with a sacrifice bunt, but Martha’s Vineyard starting pitcher John Cook forced out Lluberes to get the lead runner. A wild pitch put two runners in scoring position, and McIntire took advantage by driving in Whitten with a sacrifice groundout to second.

Martha’s Vineyard regained its two-run lead in the fourth, as Davidson Peguero led off with single, advanced to second on a passed ball, and scored on an error by first baseman Phil Sciretta on a grounder by Chris Miller.

The Tide had no answer to Cook’s work on the mound after that, until he ran out of gas in the eighth. After Bussey’s fielder’s choice bunt in the third, Cook retired 14 of the next 15 batters, including 10 straight after Matt Pagano singled in the fourth. The Tide bats went down quickly in the fifth and sixth innings, as Cook got six outs on seven pitches.

“He was just doing what he had to do, throw strikes, just mixing it up,” said Tide second baseman Aaron Wilson. “We weren’t able to put the ball in play.”

“We didn’t swing the way I’d like us to,” said Tide manager Chris Torres.

Sosa matched Cook by retiring eight consecutive batters before Miller singled to lead off the seventh. But Gold followed that with a double to score Miller and knock Sosa out of the game. Tyler Hill then came on in relief and got three quick outs.

Hill couldn’t duplicate that success an inning later, as seven-straight batters reached after Nik Campero grounded out to lead off the inning. Hill gave up three runs before being lifted in favor of Michael Franzese with two outs and the bases loaded. Franzese then got Tice to fly out to end the inning.

The Tide got back two runs in the bottom of the inning, as Wilson hit a two-run, two-out double to the right field corner.

“It’s a testament to the boys. It’s great that they fought back,” said Torres.

The Tide had one last gasp in the bottom of the ninth, starting when Pagano reached on a wild pitch strike three with one out. Two batters later, Lluberes singled to shallow left-center, but Whitten popped out in foul territory to end the game ”“ and the Raging Tide’s season.

“No matter the circumstance, you always try to play hard. You’re always taught, since you’re little, just go hard until the game is over, and that’s what we tried to do. Unfortunately, we came up short today,” said Lluberes. “But it’s been working for us all year. We just came up short.”

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



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