Mark Martinez's grand slam, six RBIs spark Division
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Division is a baseball team known for its high-octane offense. So after the Blue Dragons took their first loss against Plainedge on Wednesday and were held to a season-low four runs, reason would dictate that they would come into Thursday's rubber game fired up and maybe a little overeager.
"Sure, we came in with fire,'' Joe Piscitelli said. "But really we were calm and collected. We knew we had a good pitcher and we believed in our offense and we just knew it would have to come.''
Added Mark Martinez, "There are some days you're going to struggle. You fail a lot in baseball, and it's all about how you come back.''
Turns out, Division's very Zen approach packs a very big wallop.
The Blue Dragons cruised to a 15-0 League A-II win at Plainedge behind James Varela's four-hit, six-inning effort, Martinez's fourth-inning grand slam, Piscitelli's three runs and two RBIs and contributions from pretty much everyone with a bat.
"It's great coaching,'' Martinez said. "We hit every day after school and we're there at school until 7 o'clock at night. Our work ethic is so good and we put it into games and it shows in the games.''
So far, that's meant that Division has outscored opponents 55-14 in five games.
They wasted no time against Tyler Ciuffo. Division loaded the bases against Plainedge (4-2, 4-2) in the first before Tyler Epple stroked a two-out, two-strike single to right, driving in Piscitelli and Anthony Papa. Chris Reilly scored later in the inning on an error for a 3-0 lead.
The Blue Dragons (4-1, 3-1) scored twice more in the second and broke it open in the fourth, when Martinez smacked a first-pitch fastball to straightaway center for the grand slam and a 9-0 lead.
Division batted around against Jules Imkamp in the fifth, with five players recording RBIs. Martinez went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and six RBIs and Epple went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Joe Spitaleri scored three times.
Varela cruised, retiring the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth. He also was the beneficiary of some flashy plays behind him. In the third, shortstop Spitaleri made a backhand grab deep in the hole and nailed the long throw for an out. After catching a fly ball, rightfielder Papa's throw hit catcher Martinez on a fly to keep a baserunner at third.
"I just hit the spots and threw it right to my catcher,'' Varela said. "I know I'm going to throw it and if they hit it, they hit it. The defense is going to be out there and they'll have my back.''
Oh, and the offense, too.