Oliver Ames took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third and then capitalized on a pair of Bulldogs’ errors in the fifth inning to tack on insurance runs.
Sato tossed six innings in his second start of the season, striking out six batters, walking two and allowing just a pair of hits to get the win.
“Zach’s been in the program for four years now, he’s worked really hard,” Oliver Ames head coach Leo Duggan said. Sato also pitched 3.1 innings in the season debut against Franklin. “He practiced with us last year but didn’t play, he just pitched JV. I thought he did a nice job today, he kept the ball low and kept it away from guys like [Joe] Peccia and [Kevin] Powers. They are aggressive, they were going after the first pitch.”
Both Sato and Canton senior left hander Sean Doyle were efficient through the first two innings. Sato allowed a walk in the first inning but escaped without harm. After allowing a leadoff bunt single to Mike McMahon in the second, OA catcher Josh Minuskin threw him out at second on a steal attempt and Sato got two straight outs.
Doyle let up a leadoff double but induced two ground balls to Powers at shortstop and ended the bottom of the first with a strikeout. Kevin Geary advanced to third after a leadoff single but Doyle induced a pop up to strand the runner.
Sato needed just 10 pitches to get through the top of the third inning and OA used that momentum to cash in in the bottom half. Sophomore Matt Muir led off with a single up the left field line and moved to second on a sac bunt from Chris Romero. A wild pitch moved Muir up to third and senior Ryan Adams laced a shot down the right field line for an RBI triple to take the lead.
After both sides went down in order in the the fourth, Oliver Ames added insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Mancini started the inning with a four pitch walk and stole second. Doyle got two straight infield pop ups and looked like was going to get out of the inning unharmed but an error gave the Tigers life.
Minuskin hit a grounder to third but the throw sailed over first to advance Mancini to third. Adams then found space in the right side to bring Mancini home and push Minuskin to third. A dropped pitched allowed Adams to move to second and Mitch Goulet walked to load the bases.
Canton brought Joe Peccia in to pitch. Geary got contact on the first pitch and it rolled to short. But the throw for the out at second couldn’t be caught and both Minuskin and Adams came across the plate to make it 4-0.
“We haven’t got those [breaks] yet this year,” Duggan said. “We’ve played Franklin, North and Stoughton who have all done really well.”
Sophomore Chris Perron made his varsity debut with a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to earn the save.
Adams finished 2-3 with two RBI and a run scored while Muir had two hits and Geary finished with one.
“Ryan had a big game,” Duggan said. “Muir had a pretty good game, Chris [Romero] and Josh [Minuskin] haven’t really hit yet but Ryan stepped up and performed well today.”
“The bottom line is that when you have two hits, it’s pretty hard to win a game,” Canton coach JP Scott said. “That fifth inning hurt us. We’re still trying to figure out where we’re going to be defensively and trying to get the right combination on both offense and defense. You just can’t make mistakes like that against bad teams let along teams like Oliver Ames.”
McMahon and sophomore Matt Casamento each had a hit for the Bulldogs.
Oliver Ames (1-3) will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to New Bedford for a 11:00AM non-league contest with the Whalers. Canton will next play host to Fairhaven on Tuesday at 11:00AM.
“t was nice to get the win,” Duggan said. “It had been a while since we had lost three games in a row. I think we’ll be alright, we’re still trying to piece together stuff. Now we have three non league games with New Bedford, Silver Lake and Falmouth. The schedule is tough.”
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.