By Michael Antonellis, HockomockSports.com Contributor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Less than 48 hours after being no hit in a 2-0 extra innings loss to Attleboro, North Attleboro did a complete 180, and jumping out to a quick start in a 4-0 victory over Foxboro.
Leadoff man Kyle McCarthy slapped a stand up double to start the game for the Rocketeers, and senior Brian Poillucci’s ground out pushed McCarthy to third. Zach DeMattio drove McCarthy in from third on an RBI single, and an infield single from Ridge Olsen put runners on first and second.
Tyler LaFreniere ripped an RBI double to make it 2-0, and also put himself and Olsen into scoring position. Two consecutive batters were hit by pitches, the first one loading the bases and the second one bringing a run home, making it 3-0 North Attleboro.
With the bases still juiced, Foxboro starting pitcher Aaron Wentling battled back and ended the inning on a strikeout looking and a fielder’s choice ground out.
“[North Attleboro] was aggressive early on in the game,” Foxboro head coach Chris Sullivan said. “He (Wentling) didn’t have his off speed stuff and they jumped on some fastballs… we constantly talk about playing hard for all 21 outs. We settled in, but obviously we didn’t do a good job of getting through that first inning.”
The game marked the last starting pitching appearance for North Attleboro senior John O’Donnell and he made the most of it. The crafty lefty threw a complete game shutout, tallied seven strikeouts and only allowed two hits while on the hill. He allowed one runner via a hit by pitch in the second, walked one batter in the bottom of the seventh and let up two singles, one in the fourth and one in the seventh.
The Foxboro bats couldn’t respond to the initial North Attleboro crooked run inning, and O’Donnell wasn’t making it an easier for them. The senior lefty jumped ahead in virtually every count, and didn’t waste any time wasting pitches even when he was up 0-2 in the count.
His inside and outside pattern of his fastballs were complemented by his off speed plunging lefty curve. However, when the ball was put into play, O’Donnell’s fielding core was there to track down numerous fly balls and quick grounders looking to get through the gaps.
“He mixed his pitches up very well,” North Attleboro coach Paul Tobin said. “His location was sharp and he had great command today. We talked about getting the first batter (out) each inning and he was able to do that up until the sixth. I was very pleased with his job today.”
After the first inning, Wentling settled in and didn’t allow a run for the remainder of his outing. He fanned five and his defense made many plays, including three double plays.
No runs were scored again until the top of the seventh. Wentling was replaced by senior Steve Couroupacis.
An infield single followed by a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second. Back to back walks loaded the bases for the Rocketeers. An RBI single from LaFreniere, his second RBI of the night, was the final insurance run for North. A double play ended the inning and left only three outs for the Warriors to work with. A leadoff walk in the bottom half for Foxboro followed by a single from Cam Feldman threatened North, but the door was closed shortly thereafter with a 4-6-3 double play and a game ending ground out to second.
North Attleboro snapped a nine game skid with the win, improving to 7-12 overall and 6-10 in league play. The Rocketeers will conclude their season on Friday when they host Bishop Feehan under the lights at Community Field. Foxboro (7-12, 5-11) next hosts Carver as they prepare of the MIAA tournament.