BRAINTREE, Mass. – Heading into the D1 South Semifinal, the Attleboro Blue Bombardiers knew that would have to play nearly flawless if they wanted to upset top-seeded Silver Lake and Gatorade Player of the Year, pitching Anthony Videtto.
Unfortunately, Attleboro had things go wrong at inopportune times and the Bombardiers suffered a 3-0 loss to Videtto and the Lakers in the D1 South Semifinal.
Silver Lake scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings while Attleboro was unable to get a base runner past second base.
“We couldn’t generate a couple hits in a row and then we had some base running mistakes that we don’t normally make and couple errors,” Attleboro head coach Matt Bosh said. “You can’t do that against that against good teams. Unfortunately, the three kids that scored for them, all got on by walks. So with the errors, the base running mistakes, against a good team like that, that’s going to burn you.”
Nate Tellier was strong on the mound in a six-inning complete game effort, tossing a two-hitter with nine strikeouts. But Silver Lake was patient, drawing six walks – three of which led to runs.
Attleboro’s Tyler Stowe roped a one-out single in the top of the first inning but Videtto came back, getting a strike out looking and Lakers’ catcher Greg Wozniak fired to second for the double play.
A lead off walk from Will Gallagher to open the bottom of the first quickly turned into a scoring opportunity for Silver Lake when he stole second. Dan Collins ripped an 0-2 pitch into right field, bringing Gallagher in for a 1-0 lead.
The Bombardiers were unable to capitalize on a lead off walk in the top of the second, grounding in a 5-4-3 double play. And then Videtto worked around a two-out single in the third.
Videtto drew a lead off walk in the bottom of the third and quickly got into scoring position by stealing second. The senior then took off for third and the throw from home skipped into third. Videtto sprinted in for the Lakers’ second run as the throw from left sailed high.
Attleboro had a base runner in every single inning, including Will Carter reaching second on a one out error in the fourth. But Videtto locked in with a strikeout and a routine grounder to short to get out of the inning. Stowe collected his second hit of the game to lead off the sixth but a line out to center turned into a double play with the throw to first for the out.
Silver Lake added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Back to back walks to Gallagher and Videtto preceded an infield hit from Collins to load the bases with no outs. After Tellier induced a pop up in foul play to first, Lakers head coach Kenny Tocci elected for a squeeze play. Jack Ruprecht placed a perfectly hit bunt for a ground out RBI, right between Tellier and third baseman Robbie Araujo, allowing Gallagher to scamper in.
“I don’t know if he felt 100%,” Bosh said of Tellier. Tellier had pitched back to back extra inning games, the most recent a week ago. Videtto had yet to pitch in the postseason. “He didn’t have his normal velocity and control. I think he was really trying to get a lot of turn in his body to make up for the velocity. He changed his mechanics a little but that kid battles. He wasn’t 100% but he went out and threw a two-hitter against the top seed, so hats off, hats off to all the kids.”
“You’ve gotta get the runs when you can, [Tellier’s] an excellent pitcher,” Tocci said. “We knew that coming in. He had something like 65 strikeouts in 35 innings [in the regular season]. We knew we would have to do some unconventional things to get runs across, we stole third when he wasn’t looking and the squeeze. You have to push runners across when you can.”
Tellier struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, all looking, and gave the Bombardiers the momentum heading into the top of the seventh, and they nearly capitalized.
Araujo’s grounder got through at second base for a one out hit. Pinch hitter Nolan Kane took four straight balls to put two on and bring the tying run to the plate. Videtto got a strikeout for the second out, bringing Attleboro second baseman Cam Hochwarter to the plate. Hochwarter connected on a 1-2 pitch, launching the hardest hit ball of the day to left center field but Silver Lake’s Aidan O’Neil made the running catch just mere feet from the fence for the final out.
“We battled all year,” beamed Bosh. “We were 7-9 and we finished off 13-10, so there’s absolutely nothing to hang your head about.”
Attleboro finishes the season 13-10 overall, winning seven of their last nine games.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.