The Gershkoff Auto Body/Auburn Post 20 Junior American Legion team survived a scare in the opening game of its quarterfinal series against Upper Deck-Post 86/14 before rebounding and sweeping into the semis.
Gershkoff trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh in Sunday’s game one before rallying for a 3-2 win. On Monday, there wasn’t quite as much drama, as Gershkoff won 13-2 to win the series 2-0.
In that first game, Bobby Santos pitched all seven innings for Gershkoff and allowed just one earned run, but his team still trailed by the 2-1 deficit in its final at-bat.
Damon Raposa opened the frame with a pinch-hit single, and Nick Ferry followed that with a bunt single. Anthony Crudale then walked to load the bases before Frank Pettinato hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at two.
Peter Esposito came through next, ending the game with a walk-off double.
“It was a game were nothing was going right for us for six innings,” manager Nick Ruggieri said by email. “But I was proud of everyone on that roster for staying in the game mentally. Damon's hit sparked us. It was a great win.”
In the second game, Kemi Idowu threw four innings of shutout ball to set the tone, and the offense capitalized on some Upper Deck mistakes to take command of the game.
Matt Corey had a two-run single to start the scoring, and Brian Franco also came up with a big hit, his being a two-run double.
Gershkoff will now gear up for the Final Four, which begins on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Cranston West. Gershkoff will take on the winner of Hurd Auto Mall and Woonsocket.