By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – A five-run first inning gave the Davenport division-leading North Attleboro Red Rocketeers the boost they needed Friday as they cruised to an 11-4 win over the King Philip Warriors at Community Field.
“We just stuck to our whole batting approach that we keep pushing, just being at the plate and getting our pitches to drive,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “It worked out early for us and guys are starting to feel good… We stuck to our approach and it worked out for us today.”
The top of the Red Rocketeer batting order did much of the team’s heavy hitting, as senior outfielder Nate Pearce went 3-for-3 with a double, three runs and an RBI. Senior catcher Zach DeMattio went 2-for-4 with three RBI, two runs and a double, while junior outfielder Brendan McHugh went 2-for-2 with two runs, a double and a pair of walks from the leadoff spot.
On the mound, North Attleboro had a solid outing from junior pitcher Matt Wanless, who struck out three while surrendering five hits and a walk through six scoreless innings in the win. King Philip struck for four runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Rocketeer offense launched right off the bat in the bottom of the first, as McHugh sent the first pitch he saw deep into right-center field for a double. The next pitch hit senior shortstop Nick Sinacola, and the pair would be driven in through a two-RBI double from DeMattio. A double by Pearce the next at-bat sent DeMattio home and gave North Attleboro the early 3-0 lead.
Junior third baseman Nick Raneri nearly had an inside-the-park home run, which drove in Pearce, though he would be thrown at the plate on the relay from KP junior second baseman Ian Zimmerman.
Senior outfielder Jeff Gale reached base due to an error, and after batting through the order, the hosts emerged from the inning with a 5-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, the Rocketeers nearly batted around again, coming up one player short as junior outfielder Ryan Warren flew out to center to end the inning. Before that, however, McHugh reached on a full-count count, only to be driven in again by DeMattio two batters later. Pearce walked during the next at-bat, and both were driven in by a two-RBI single from senior first baseman Aidan Harding, giving the hosts a commanding 8-0 lead.
The game evened out for much of the middle innings, with the Warriors having their first solid scoring opportunity in the fourth soiled as DeMattio picked off a runner at third from behind the plate.
The scoreline stayed the same until the bottom of the sixth when a leadoff single by Pearce was turned into the ninth run by Raneri an at-bat later. Junior pinch hitter Matt Seavey drove in Raneri for the tenth run on an RBI single, while pinch hitter Shawn Watters drove Seavey in on another RBI single to extend the lead to 11-0.
In the top of the seventh, facing a new pitcher, the Warrior offense roared to life. After senior pinch hitter Jackson Siebler reached base on a fielder’s choice, he stole second and would come home through a bases-loaded walk to fellow senior pinch hitter Ben Furfari, as junior pinch hitters David Morganelli and Matt Dix would reach base through singles.
Third baseman Chris Sawyer drove in Morganelli on an RBI single to double the Warrior lead, while a double from Jeremey Rhines drove in both Dix and Furfari to make it 11-4.
The comeback effort, however, would be cut short for the Warriors, as the Rocketeers secured another win.
Both teams return to action Monday, as North Attleboro (12-1 Hockomock, 13-1 overall) travels to Foxboro while King Philip (5-9 Hockomock, 5-10 overall) will face Franklin.