NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Entering Monday’s showdown with King Philip, the Oliver Ames baseball team needed a win to keep its postseason hopes alive.
The Tigers had senior ace Reid Latham on the mound but the weather didn’t cooperate, forcing the cancellation of the game and the teams had to restart on Tuesday. While it would have been a wasted start for most starters, it wasn’t for Latham.
Despite pitching three innings on Monday, the senior right-hander was back on the mound on Tuesday and delivered a stellar performance. Latham held the visiting Warriors to just one hit through six scoreless innings, helping Oliver Ames pull out a 4-0 win in a must-win game.
Latham held the Warriors without a hit into the sixth inning before KP junior Chris Sawyer got a single to fall in shallow left field with two outs. But two pitches later, Latham got a ground ball and completed a strong six inning performance.
“He’s been pretty bionic for us,” said Oliver Ames head coach Joe Abarr. “He had a no-hitter going for us into the sixth inning. It was exactly what we needed. He was getting ahead of guys, he only had a couple of walks. He told me he wasn’t tired. We know these games are high stakes, we had a lot of adrenaline yesterday and then came out today and pitched even better so I have to give him a lot of credit.”
After Latham worked around a one-out walk in the top of the first, the Tigers struck for a pair of two unearned runs in the bottom half to put the home team ahead early.
With out one, junior Kyle O’Connor singled up the middle and senior Jake Erlcih followed with a single through the left side. KP starter Robbie Jarest (6IP, 3H, 0BB 2HBO, 4R, 2ER, 4K) got a ground ball that could have turned into a double play but the original throw was off the mark, allowing O’Connor to score.
Junior Jacob Levine followed up with a grounder to short, scoring Erlich from third to make it 2-0.
“That’s something, as a team, we’ve been fighting all year,” Abarr said. “We’ve been coming from behind for the most part. We have some wins to show for it but it’s nice to just jump out there and put a couple runs up early. Even yesterday, we were chasing. We put the ball in play, they made a couple of mistakes, and we were in the right spot at the right time.”
Latham retired the side in order in both the second and third innings before running into some trouble in the fourth. Tim Crowley and Sawyer drew back-to-back walks with one out, and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. A stolen base from Tom Weir put two in scoring position but Latham got a grounder to first for the final out.
Jarest also settled in for the Warriors, setting the Tigers down in order in the second and third innings, and canceling out the leadoff hitter that was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.
Oliver Ames added two more runs in the fifth inning to give Latham even more breathing room. Sophomore pinch hitter Jadon Ricci was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved to second on a single from Matt McCormack. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Ricci came racing home and slid under the tag on a fielder’s choice up the first base line.
Oliver Ames baseball (6-9 Hockomock, 7-11 overall) can qualify for the state tournament if it wins its next three games against Dighton-Rehoboth, Foxboro, and New Bedford. Both games against Brockton this season are exclusion games. King Philip (5-9, 5-11) hosts Bishop Feehan on Tuesday.
“They are swinging the bat well, we’re just trying to keep the same approach regardless of what the pitcher is doing out there,” said first-year North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart. “We’re taking it one pitch at a time, one batter at a time. We feel if we take care of ourselves, we can be successful.”
And if the offense wasn’t hot enough, North Attleboro ace Nick Sinacola allowed just two hits and two unearned runs in six innings of work while striking out seven to earn the win.
“I’ll give it to that North Attleboro lineup, they crush the ball,” said Oliver Ames coach Joe Barr. “I’ve never seen a team like that, top to bottom, just go through and square it up. Our guy [Reid Latham] was throwing strikes but I don’t know if the air was a little thin or what but those balls got in the air and kept traveling.”
Once Sinacola set the Tigers down in order in the first inning, North Attleboro’s offense went right to work. Brendan McHugh led off with a double, Zach DeMattio had a one-out walk, and Nate Pearce roped a ground-rule double over the fence for a quick 1-0 lead.
Nick Raneri scored on a fielder’s choice as DeMattio was able to get home before OA’s throw did, and Jeff Gale hit one deep enough that brought Pearce, who was ruled to have tagged up after Mitch Goulet’s spectacular catch in center, home for a 3-0 lead after an inning.
Big Red tacked on four more runs — all with two outs — when it returned to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. McHugh started the rally with a single and moved to third when Sinacola picked up his first hit of the day. DeMattio brought both runners home with a hard hit triple, Pearce knocked a run in with a single, and Raneri drove a run in with a single as well to make it 7-0.
“We’ve all been working together through the winter and the spring and it really just shows how much hard work and coming together as a group can accomplish when you execute,” DeMattio said.
Nick Zwerle reached after forcing an error on his bunt and Sean O’Brien walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Sinacola got the second out but Michael Friel hit a line drive double into the gap in left center to bring both runs in to give the Tigers some life, cutting the deficit to 7-2.
But North Attleboro landed a big counter punch in the form of four runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead. Aidan Harding walked and pinch runner Kyle Briere took second on a wild pitch and third on a single from McHugh. Briere beat out a throw home on Sinacola’s grounder, DeMattio scored McHugh with a single, Sinacola scored after DeMattio stole second and OA attempted to pick him off, and Pearce doubled in DeMattio for an 11-2 advantage.
“Subconsciously that’s the type of stuff that just creeps into your mind,” Abarr said. “You think you’re back in it — and I think we were in it more most of the game — but that was a deflating experience. I’ve been on that end as a player and a coach, and it’s tough. I tip my cap to North for that, they didn’t let up. They played hard right to the end.”
“I give [OA] a lot of credit, they are an excellent hitting team,” Hart said. “In regards to answering back, I think it just puts us at ease. I think it made it 7-2 then and five runs with these two teams means nothing. So to get those runs back, it helps Nick on the mound.”
Sinacola retired the side in order in each of the first and second innings, and after allowing two runs in the third, only allowed one base runner to reach third base (an error and a wild pitch). It was Sinacola’s second win against OA this year after beating them in his first appearance back in early April.
“I think early in the year, a lot of hitters struggle with the fastball,” Sinacola said. “Once you get to this point in the season, they are a lot better and they have their timing down. So I think we had to change it up and throw a little bit more offspeed then I did the first time and I think it worked.”
Raneri scored on a passed ball and Gale came home on a hard hit ball from Nolan Buckley that was ruled an infield error for the Tigers in the fifth inning.
In the bottom fo the sixth, Sinacola got his second RBI with a single to score McHugh, DeMattio picked up his fourth RBI of the day with a base hit to score Sinacola and at the next at-bat, Pearce launched a two-run home run to cap the scoring.
“We had to pretty much show up and play perfect against that lineup and that pitcher in order to walk out with a win,” Abarr said. “We knew they’d be relentless. But it was an unreal run for us here at the end, with a team that didn’t quite expect to be here. We don’t set hard and fast goals about where a team can get to, we have just shown up and worked on specific things to get better each day. And these guys did a great job doing that.”
North Attleboro’s top four hitters — McHugh, Sinacola, DeMattio, and Pearce — combined for 13 hits, 11 RBI, and 14 runs scored.
“This is definitely the best group I’ve ever coached,” Abarr said of his team. “From top to bottom, the first guy in the lineup to the last guy on the bench to the team manager…they were tight, always behind each other, and regardless who was in the lineup each day, they were ready to play. It was the most reliable, hard-working, and unified group that I’ve coached and those are the three qualities you look for in a high school team.”
North Attleboro (21-2) advances to the D2 State Final to play North champ Beverly (20-4) on Thursday night at 6:30 at LaLacheur Park in Lowell.
ROCKLAND, Mass. – Any time Duxbury tried to make its way back into the game, Oliver had the answer.
Similar to a boxing match, the Tigers countered any punch that the Dragons landed with a blow of their own. In the end, it was a unanimous decision, 11-7, in favor of the Tigers.
Oliver Ames advances to the D2 South Final to play Hockomock rival North Attleboro.
The Tigers opened the bout by landing a big shot away, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. But as big as the opening inning was, it was the other two innings in which Oliver Ames scored that mattered most.
Duxbury connected with a jab in the top of the third in the form of two runs, cutting OA’s four-run lead in half. In the bottom half, the Tigers landed a clean shot of their own with their second four-run inning, pushing the lead to 8-2.
And again, when Duxbury landed another attempt in the top of the fifth with two more runs, making it a four-run game with just a couple innings to go, the Tigers responded. The fifth-seeded Tigers quickly striking back for three runs, restoring a comfortable lead at 11-4.
“That’s something that we said is one of our team priorities offensively,” said Oliver Ames head coach Joe Abarr. “When we’re scored on, our goal is to answer back immediately. I know from being around the game that if you’re the team playing catchup, and every time you get on the board, and the other team comes right back, it’s a very uphill battle. I think that was something really positive about our offense today, they did a good job with that.
“We put ourselves in good counts to hit the ball when we needed to and we got a ton of walks that really helped us down the line.”
After Duxbury failed to cash in in the top of the first inning, stranding a runner at third, the Tigers took advantage of their chance in the bottom half.
CJ Deveau earned a one-out walk to load the bases before Sean O’Brien did the same with two-outs bring Goulet in for a 4-0 lead.
“That was huge and this time we didn’t take our foot off the gas,” Abarr said of the opening offense. “We were able to keep putting runs up there. The top of our order has guys that at any given at-bat can do big things. It’s nice to see them stringing them together consistently.”
OA starter Michael Mulrean (5.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 1 K) ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the third. Not only was he taking on a strong Duxbury lineup, an issue with the mound caused issues for both pitchers. North Attleboro starter Peter Cohen had a similar issue during the game prior.
John Roberts led off the third with a walk but was erased when Sam Reagan reached on a fielder’s choice. A soft line drive from Luke Eggers put runners on the corners and then the ump called a balk, bring a run in and moving Eggers to second. A passed by and a single from Charles Coon brought in another run, making it 4-2. Coon made it into scoring position at second but Mulrean got back-to-back outs on two pitches to escape further damage.
Arguably OA’s most important was the bottom of the third. After Duxbury made a move to get back into it, the Tigers landed a deflating shot in the form of four runs.
Goulet walked and took second on an errant pickoff attempt. Erlich drew a walk and Deveau, who tried to sacrifice them both over, ended up safe at first after his speed down the first base line forced a high throw.
Nick Zwerle delivered a one-run base hit through the left side and O’Brien brought a run home on a groundout. With runners on second and third, Muir roped a hard line drive to right center field for a two-run triple to give OA an 8-2 advantage.
Mulrean was picked up by some solid defense in the fourth inning. A hard hit high bouncing ground ball was picked up by Zwerle on the first base line for an out. After a walk, Muir nearly made a spectacular leaping grab at short. The ball fell down but the senior stuck with it and got the force at second. And Friel snagged a tailing line drive at second for the third out.
“This isn’t a knock on the facilities but that mound was tough, I saw it when I went out for warmups,” Abarr said. “I think both sides really had to deal with that adversity. You could see their guy slipping and sliding. And the way Mulrean pitches, he pushes himself down and really does land in a slide with his front foot. He was almost doing a little split at times. I have to hand it to him, he did a good job hanging in there and gave us a chance to win and that’s all we can ask for.”
A leadoff single from Reagan sparked another comeback attempt for Duxbury in the top of the fifth. Eggers and Coon both walked to load the bases with no outs. Pat Melampy singled in one run and Frank Tower’s sacrifice fly made it 8-4.
Duxbury loaded the bases again but Mulrean got a big ground out to third to prevent any further damage.
True to form, Oliver Ames responded to recreate a comfortable separation. Sophomore pinch hitter Jacob Levine crushed a ball to left center field for a one-out triple and scored on an RBI single from Pearsons. A single from Goulet pushed Pearsons to third after, after Goulet stole second, Erlich walked to load the bases.
It looked as though Duxbury had its second out when Deveau hit a slow roller up the first base line. But once again, his effort down the line forced a second of indecision by the fielder and he slid in safely at first and Pearsons came racing in to score.
“It’s stuff like that that you need in these games,” Abarr said of Deveau’s two hustle plays. “That was unbelievable, they were both great hustle plays. We said last night, it’s going to be tough for everyone, so don’t take anything granted, we have to run everything out. And I have to really hand it to these guys, I don’t think I’ve had to talk to anyone about not running a play out, which is awesome.
With O’Brien up, Goulet sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 11-4.
Duxbury pushed back with three runs in the top of the sixth inning but reliever Tom Parker came in and eventually got the third out – a swinging strikeout – to strand runners at second and third.
OA’s Reid Latham inherited a runner at first when he came in to pitch in the top of the seventh. Latham got a strikeout, fly ball to center field, allowed a two-out walk, but closed the door on a groundout to second base.
“We were here last year, we got knocked out here [by a similar score],” Abarr said, the Tigers having lost 10-6 to Westwood at this point a season ago. “We battled back [in that game] but came up short. We’ve tried to work on specific things throughout the season. And these guys, from top to bottom, have done a tremendous job working on those things in order to get better.”
Oliver Ames baseball (16-7) will take on the Rocketeers in the D2 South Final on Saturday at 10:00AM at Campanelli Stadium.
The two teams opened the season against one another back on April 9th with Big Red prevailing 5-2. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh before North got the final out to secure the win.
“We faced [Nick] Sinacola, who is the real deal and their catcher [Zach DeMattio] is unbelievable, he crushes the ball, he’s one of the best high school hitters I’ve ever seen,” Abarr said. “Just thinking back, we had a couple of errors, we aren’t on time with our hitters. I’m hoping with two and a half months under our belt now, we’ll come in and give them a better game. I think we lost by three runs but they were just a step ahead. Hopefully we’re even now and have a good game on Saturday.”
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – With the way the game started, it was looking like it was going to be a blowout win for Oliver Ames.
But by the end, the Tigers were just happy to survive and advance.
OA built a 5-0 lead through the first three innings of play but saw that advantage shrink to just one run after the next two. The Tigers added a big insurance run in the fifth and escaped a seventh-inning threat from Nauset to emerge with a 6-4 win.
“I tip my cap to Nauset,” said OA head coach Joe Abarr. “Their first base coach just kept saying ‘play the game’ which I thought was a cool mantra. You could see their guys stay in the moment and getting hits when they needed to. But we were able to get enough runs across early in the game and protect the lead in the end.”
“As soon [Nasuet] battled back it was like a wake-up call and all the guys got behind each other. I’m hoping they remember that and keep that attitude moving forward because the games won’t be any easier moving forward.”
Some heads up base running in the bottom of the first inning helped the Tigers grab an early lead. Michael Friel (4-for-4, RBI, run) had a one-out single and stole second with two outs. Chris Pearsons (3-for-4, RBI, run) hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield but raced down the line and beat the throw for an infield hit.
With two outs, Friel was off and running, but didn’t stop at first. The senior infielder alertly sped around third and took off for home. The Nauset first baseman held the catch at first while the ump made the call and Friel crossed without a throw home. With no one covering second, Pearsons sprinted to the open bag for a free base but was stranded there.
“My assistant coach was just saying that’s what wins tournament games,” Abarr said of the alert base running. “I really can’t say enough about both of those guys, their baseball instincts are tremendous. But it’s not just instincts, they work at it. We have two rounds during batting practice that you have to run the bases after and those two guys take all their reps very seriously and it pays dividends. We’re hoping to get more guys to buy into that too because it makes a big difference.”
Oliver Ames starter Reid Latham (3.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB) worked around a hit in both the first and second innings. In the first, Nauset’s Stephen Kalnick was gunned down by Sean O’Brien after trying to turn a single into a double. And in the second, Harrison Field’s leadoff single didn’t result in anything when Latham got three straight outs.
Jake Erlich (2-for-4, RBI, run) got the bottom of the second started with a single and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Nick Zwerle. CJ Deveau battled his way through a nine-pitch at-bat, ending it with an RBI single to score Erlich. Matt Muir followed up with a two-out single to bring Deveau in and Muir took second on the throw.
Friel grabbed his second hit of the day with a double to bring Muir home to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Pearsons led off the third with a bloop single into left field and made his way all the way to third after a throwing error. Junior Matt McCormack grounded out but Pearsons came in to score to make it 5-0.
Nauset came firing back in the top of the fourth, taking care of some miscues by the Tigers. Latham got the first out with a strikeout but a high fly ball from Kalnick dropped in left center field. Latham bounced back with another strikeout but Chris Beach singled with two outs to put runners on first and second.
Latham induced a ground ball to the left side but miscommunication allowed John Dysart to reach and load the bases. Kurtis Thomas and John Paul LaBarge hit back-to-back singles, though each only scoring one run apiece. Henry Blanchard was then awarded first after a catcher’s interference call, bringing a third run in.
“This was the first time he’s been on the mound in a real game in probably five or six weeks so I have to give it to him,” Abarr said about Latham. “He did a tremendous job. When he had the cast on his hand, he was still the first one at the park each day. As soon as he was able to get the hard cast off, he could throw some and he came straight from the doctors to practice and wanted to throw. I think this was a moment he’s been waiting for and as far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t be deflated about that inning, he just didn’t have some things go his way, and that’s the way baseball goes.”
Abarr went to the bullpen and brought in junior Tom Parker (2.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 K, 3 H). The lefty needed just one pitch to get a fly ball to right to leave the bases loaded for Nauset.
“I give Tommy credit, coming in there and throwing that one pitch to get us out of it, which I thought was a huge momentum changer for us,” Abarr said.
A single from Friel and a walk to Mitch Goulet put runners on first and second for OA in the bottom half of the fourth but an infield pop up ended the threat.
Kalnick helped get Nauset one run closer with a one-out triple in the fifth inning. Harrison Field followed with a triple of his own to bring Kalnick in but Parker didn’t let Field get any further, getting two ground balls to end the inning.
OA got the insurance run it needed in the bottom of the fifth. McCormack led off with a walk and took second on a passed ball. Erlich hit a hard grounder down the third base line for an RBI double to plate McCormack to put the Tigers up 6-4.
After Zwerle was hit by a pitch, Deveau’s sac bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out but Kalnick, Nauset’s third pitcher of the day, prevented any further damage with a strikeout and 6-3 ground out.
Parker worked around a one-out error in the top of the sixth, getting back-to-back strikeouts after the runner reached. OA had a chance to blow the game open when it loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth behind three straight singles from Friel, Pearsons, and McCormack.
But this time it was Kalnick with back-to-back strikeouts to prevent any further damage.
Nauset threatened in the top of the seventh behind a one-out single from Kalnick and a walk to Field. Abarr brought in Muir to close the game out and the senior did just that, getting a line drive to center and a ground ball to short for the final two outs.
“[Parker] kept himself really composed when their three and four hitters had those triples,” Abarr said. “He was able to get out of that inning with just the one run which I’ll take all day. He was jacked up for that last inning and then we had that pause for the base runner and I think that hurt his momentum. And Matt Muir has probably been our most consistent guy out of the pen this season.”
Oliver Ames baseball (15-7) advances to the D2 South Semifinal for the second straight year. The Tigers, seeded sixth, will take #7 Duxbury (14-8) on Wednesday at 7:00 at Rockland Stadium.
“I give my guys a lot of credit to come back in that seventh inning,” said OA head coach Joe Abarr. “[Feehan starting pitcher Colin Gauther] did a phenomenal job, he was mixing pitches and getting ahead of almost every batter and I could tell it was getting to our guys.
“Around the fourth or fifth inning it kind of occurred to me, in terms of coming from behind, we haven’t done it a lot. But looking back, it didn’t matter because our focus all season has been winning every pitch and treat every at-bat as the same. We had some guys step up and do the job.”
Gauthier tamed the Tigers through the first six innings, allowing just four hits and issuing one walk. And of those five baserunners, only Sean O’Brien (double) reached past third.
But Matt McCormack’s double to lead off the seventh inning gave the Tigers the spark they needed. McCormack had singled back in the second inning but was picked off at first. A half inning later, Feehan capitalized on that momentum and scored the game’s first run.
“I just didn’t let it get to me,” McCormack said of the second inning pickoff. “Coach came over and told me to shake it off. We knew the pressure was on the pitcher in the seventh inning so I just tried to make contact and put the ball in play. I was seeing it well and my timing was pretty good.”
With McCormack on second, junior Jake Erlich collected his first hit with a single into right field. That was enough for McCormack to sprint around third to bring OA within a run, down 2-1.
Abarr then called upon sophomore Jacob Levine to come in and pinch hit. Despite not playing all game, Levine answered the call in impressive fashion. The sophomore got a hold of one and ripped a deep shot to the gap in right-center field. Pinch runner Ezra Coyne came racing around from first to tie the game and Levine was into third with a stand up triple with no outs.
OA couldn’t get the winning run across though as Gauthier got three straight outs without the ball leaving the infield, sending the game to extras.
OA starter Michael Mulrean didn’t skip a beat in either the eighth or ninth innings. He got two fly balls to center and then made a nice play on a slow grounder for an unassisted out. In the top of the ninth, Mulrean sandwiched his 10th and 11th strikeouts around a 6-3 ground out.
McCormack was once again the catalyst for OA in the bottom of the ninth. His patience paid off, drawing a leadoff walk. A one-out single from Nick Zwerle advanced McCormack to second.
“[McCormack] stepped up for us early in the year as a DH and then he had a slump where he was struggling a little bit,” Abarr said. “He took a great batting practice the other day, he was all over the ball in our scrimmage against Brockton. After that scrimmage, I told him he was going to be the DH for us and he really stepped up for us. He could have let that [pickoff] situation break him but he didn’t, he showed a lot of mental toughness.
Junior CJ Deveau, who entered the at-bat 0-for-2 on the day, tried to lay a bunt down on the first pitch but it went foul. Three pitches later and the junior drove a shot to center field just out of the reach of the outfielder and McCormack sprinted his way to the plate for the walk-off win.
“I was just thinking about having runners on second and third, and I was hoping CJ could put one down, put some pressure on the third baseman and make a play,” Abarr said of the original bunt call. “He struggled during his first couple at-bats but he did a nice job grinding through there. He could have counted himself out and said it wasn’t his day but he came through with an unbelievable hit for us.”
Feehan took the lead in the top of the third inning. Back to back singles put runners on first and second but a sacrifice bunt attempt turned into an out when the ball hit the batter. A chopper got just through the gap on the left side allowing Joe Castano to come home and score for the first run. Mulrean induced an infield fly and pop up to right to escape without further damage.
The Shamrocks capitalized on a pair of OA mistakes in the fifth inning to double their lead. Castano reached on an infield single and took second on an errant throw. He took third on an infield groundout and then came home to score on a passed ball to make it 2-0.
Beyond those chances, Mulrean had his way with the Shamrocks lineup. He allowed just five hits, only one of which dropped in shallow center field. He retired the side in each of the first, second, fourth, eighth and ninth innings. He had a pair of strikeouts in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and nine innings. He had just one walk all game.
“And he was ready to go back out there for the 10th inning if we needed it,” Abarr said of Mulrean. “He’s one of our most reliable strike throwers. He was dealing for us and he battled for us. He treats himself like a softball pitcher, if he could he would pitch every single game.”
Oliver Ames baseball (14-7) advances to the D2 South quarterfinal round and will host #14 Nauset (7-12), who upset #3 Whitman-Hanson, 3-0, in the first round. The Tigers will welcome Nauset to Frothingham on Tuesday at 4:00.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Franklin senior Steven Luttazi hadn’t had his best performance at the plate, held without a hit through the first seven innings. But his day changed with one swing of the bat.
When the Panthers needed him the most, the senior delivered a clutch two-out single to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. Junior Jake Macchi followed with a monster two-run double and Franklin prevailed from Frothingham Park with a 5-2 decision in eight innings.
“It was a tie ballgame, senior at the plate, a kid who’s worked really hard in the offseason…I feel like he was pressing early on but he let the game come to him and put a good swing on it and sparked us,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “Then Jake followed it up with the big blow.”
Franklin was three outs from earning a win in regulation, but Oliver Ames rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. But instead of wilting, the Panthers responded — all with two outs.
Senior Colby Fitzgibbons drew a two-out walk from the nine hole, and after stealing second, junior Alex Haba took first after another walk. In stepped Luttazi, who laced a 1-0 pitch into center field to bring pinch runner Shane O’Neil home.
Macchi then launched the first pitch he saw into deep left center field resulting in a two-run double and a three-run lead.
“It was one of those early New England high school baseball games,” Brown said. “OA is really well coached, they play a real sound game. We’re lucky to get out of here with an extra inning win. It was a character win for us. We were frustrated with the way we played in the opener, and we let a two-run lead bleed away here but the guys showed a lot of resolve and a lot of character, and we got a lot of contributions from guys up and down the lineup.”
Sophomore Will Pacheco, who escaped a jam in the bottom of the seventh, retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to earn his first varsity win.
Franklin built a 2-0 lead by scoring solo runs in the top of the second and the third, but Oliver Ames clawed back with a run in the fifth and the tying run in the seventh. OA senior Matt Muir reached with a one-out single, stole second, and came around to score on a double from classmate Nick Zwerle to tie the game.
OA had runners on first and second with one out, but Pacheco got a big strikeout, and Scott Elliott made a nice catch in foul territory in left field to send the game into extras.
“The kids showed a lot of heart there at the end to rally,” said OA head coach Joe Abarr. “We’ll reset…we’ll try to get our timing right with our hitters and then try to figure out our rotation, and see what happens from there.”
Elliott had a hand in both of Franklin’s first two runs. In the top of the second, the junior led off with a single and took second on a fielding error. He took third on a groundout from Jake Noviello and then scored on a bases loaded infield single from Haba to make it 1-0.
Macchi singled to lead off the top of the third and advanced to second base on a balk. Elliott delivered with an RBI double to bring Macchi home for a 2-0 lead.
“Scott has been doing a real nice job,” Brown said. “He’s been working hard, has had great at-bats, really competitive. He’s a hockey guy so he has that hand-eye coordination and we’re just excited with where he’s at.”
Oliver Ames cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth inning. Muir drilled a triple into center field, through the branches of the tree at Frothingham. Muir came home to score on a groundout from Zwerle.
As a team, Oliver Ames posted just five hits.
“A lot of is just timing,” Abarr said. “You see it click with some guys, like Muir today, he came on line. But some of the guys we’re dependent on just haven’t picked up the in-season rhythm yet. The kids will come around…Franklin figured it out in the last inning there.”
Franklin senior Bryan Woelfel got into a nice rhythm over his 6.1 innings of work, allowing five hits while striking out seven.
“Bryan worked really hard in the offseason and was throwing a lot,” Brown said. “He did a good job building up his arm so that he can last longer. Then Will Pacheco came in and slammed the door for us.”
Oliver Ames senior Michael Mulrean had a strong outing in relief for the Tigers, striking out four in four shutout innings of work with just four hits.
“He was phenomenal, I was very impressed with him,” Abarr said of Mulrean. “There were a lot of positives that came out of that game, obviously we want the win, but a lot of guys stepped up and showed what they’re capable of. Mike did awesome, he kept us in the ballgame.”
Oliver Ames (0-2, 0-2) looks to bounce back on the same day when it hits the road to play at New Bedford.
DIGHTON, Mass. – When the state tournament rolls around, it’s not records or seeds that matter anymore — it’s execution.
Despite being forced inside for practice the past two days, and a five-day break in-between games, 10th-seeded Oliver Ames showed no rust in a 5-2 win over second-seeded Dighton-Rehoboth, the defending Division 2 State Champions.
The Tigers connected for 10 hits — all singles —and had runners on base in all innings but two. Dighton-Rehoboth registered seven hits — also all singles — and put a runner on base in all but the final inning.
After pitching just 14 innings during the regular season, sophomore Matt McCormack earned the win for Oliver Ames. He allowed two runs in 5.1 innings of work, scattering seven hits with one strikeout.
Despite starting the season on JV, McCormack impressed in his appearances for the varsity squad and earned the trust of head coach Joe Abarr to get the start on the road against the defending state champs.
“I had a lot of faith in him after how he’s handled himself in big games against some good teams,” Abarr said. “He threw a great game against New Bedford late in the season so that gave us a lot of confidence in him.
“He’s only a sophomore and he started starting for us about halfway through the season. He shows a lot of good baseball IQ. He doesn’t have a lot of ego attached were he wants to blow it by everyone. He will strike guys out but he wants to get ground balls, he wants to get out of the inning. And our catcher [Alden Newman] is a very mature, smart guy that knows how to work counts and pick up tendencies so they worked well together.”
Cam Johnson and Sam Burr connected for back-to-back one out singles in the top of the first inning, with Johnson reaching third but Falcons’ starter Thomas Roache got the third out before any damage.
D-R’s offense got going early two with consecutive singles to start the game but McCormack got a key strikeout, a line drive out to center and an infield ground out to escape unscathed.
OA’s offense continued its aggressive ways in the second inning and it paid off. Matt Muir’s speed forced an errant throw, allowing the junior to take second with one out. A single from Chris Pearsons put runners on the corner, and Pearsons stole second to put two on. Newman laced one to center, forcing a diving catch, which allocated Muir enough time to tag up for a sac fly.
Kyle Gagliardi (2-for-4, RBI) ripped one into the right field to bring Pearsons home from second and give OA a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers had a lead off single in there third inning, but couldn’t do anything with it. The Falcons put a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the third but a shallow pop up to center and a grounder to short with Muir flipping to Mitch Goulet at second for a close force out got OA out of the jam.
Newman led off the top of the fourth with a walk and Gagliardi record his second hit of the day to put runners on first and second. Johnson laid down a perfect bunt to sacrifice the runners over but instead, the throw from the catcher eluded the first baseman. The ball stayed in play in foul territory, allowing both pinch runner Will Hogan and Gagliardi to score and Johnson to advance all the way to third.
Two batters later, Goulet delivered a one-out single to bring Johnson in and put Oliver Ames up 5-0.
“When we got that sac bunt down…when you do the fundamental things right, if you force their hand, mistakes can happen, it’s high school baseball,” Abarr said. “I thought our guys did a nice job of handling it.
“They were able to keep themselves composed. They looked very mature in a big situation. Since I’ve been apart of the program, the second round of the playoffs has kind of been our stumbling point. So it felt good to get it out of the way, especially after practicing inside the gym the last two days.”
The Falcons had an immediate response in the bottom half of the fourth inning. A lead off single from Dallas Noons, a one-out single from John Chrystie and a walk to Joseph Reed loaded the bases for D-R. OA tried to get the force out at home on a chopper up the first base line but the throw was off the mark and the run was safe.
Steven Silvia lifted one to center for a sacrifice fly but McCormack got a line out to center for the final out to limit the damage to two runs.
“Those guys [D-R] can play a heck of a game of baseball,” Abarr said. “I came and saw them Saturday and I knew they were a good team. If we showed up today and played the way I know we could, I knew we’d have a chance. And things went our way some today.”
Muir reached second in the fifth inning with one out but OA couldn’t cause any further damage. D-R earned a two-out walk in the bottom half but that was all.
D-R retired OA in order for the only time in the sixth inning and the Falcons nearly capitalized on that momentum in the bottom half of the inning,
Chrystie led off with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. A single put runners on the corners and forced Abarr to his bullpen, bringing in junior Michael Mulrean in relief.
Pearsons fielded a grounder to third cleanly and he fired home and Newman got the tag for the force out. Mulrean then induced a fly ball to left to get out of the inning.
Mulrean retired the Falcons in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to finish off the save.
“I was really proud of the way the guys handled themselves,” Abarr said. “Everyone had good at-bats, we didn’t try to do too much, I don’t think we had an extra base hit all day.”
Oliver Ames baseball (14-8) advances to the D2 South Semifinals and will take on 11th-seeded Westwood (13-8) on Thursday at 7:00 at Rockland High School.