ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro baseball team traveled a couple of minutes across town to Beach Field to face rival Bishop Feehan on Saturday afternoon. Weather had forced a delay to the start of the season for the Bombardiers and had severely limited their ability to get outside and practice.
On Saturday, Attleboro looked like a team that was seeing its first action of the spring, especially at the plate where the Bombardiers were limited to only four hits by a pair of Shamrocks pitchers, and fell 5-1.
Junior Matt Callahan made the first start of his varsity career, giving up three runs on five hits over four innings of work. Although Callahan took the loss, Attleboro coach Matt Bosh pointed to the lack of offensive punch as the main reason for falling to 0-1 on the season.
“He did alright,” said Bosh of Callahan. “We just didn’t hit the ball…and we threw the ball around a little bit, more than we should have.”
He added, “Give them credit. Their pitchers pitched well, hit spots and we just didn’t put the ball in play enough.”
Attleboro had a chance in its opening at bat to get on the board. Cam Hochwarter led off with a single to left but with one out was forced out on a grounder by Nate Tellier, who took second on a balk. Patrick Collins followed with a walk but Nolan Kane grounded out to short to end the threat.
Jon Dunn reached on an error in the top of the second but was caught stealing third on a missed bunt attempt and would be the last baserunner for the Bombardiers until the fifth inning. Feehan starter Zack Newman settled down and struck out four over 4-1/3 innings.
“We just didn’t put the ball in play enough,” said Bosh. “We didn’t force mistakes by them, not enough contact.”
Meanwhile, Callahan got off to a great start. He needed only 11 pitches to get through a perfect first and 11 more in the second in which he allowed just a two out single.
In the third, Feehan took the lead. After Callahan got the first two hitters to ground out, he hit lead-off batter Matt Everton in the foot. Jake Bamford followed with a single to right moving Everton over to third and then Jason Medeiros drilled a pitch into the gap in left center plating both runners.
The Shamrocks added another run in the fourth when Reid Spears, who had singled with one out, raced home from third on a wild pitch.
Attleboro finally got something going in the top of the fifth. Dunn singled to center, his second time reaching base in as many plate appearances. John Burns followed with a single and Dunn took third. Brandon Galvao would plate the Bombardiers lone run with a fielder’s choice to short and advanced to second when the ball was thrown away.
Newman walked pinch hitter Dylan Maskell to put two on with one out. Pat Cashin came in from shortstop to take over on the mound and he promptly induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play from Hochwarter to get out of the jam.
Feehan plated another run off of Maskell in the bottom of the inning, but Attleboro came right back and had the first two on to start the sixth on a double by Will Carter and a walk to Nate Tellier. Again, Cashin made his pitches and Nolan Kane bounced into a double play to end the inning.
The Shamrocks wrapped up the scoring in the bottom half. Bamford drove in Jake Bernhardt with a single off Dylan Prout. The ball died in the lengthy grass, allowing Bernhardt to score from second without a throw.
“I’m sure they didn’t have a chance to cut all week because of the snow and the rain,” said Bosh about the grass at Beach Field. “Usually, it’s sort of a fast track but today everybody was coming in full sprint on ground balls.”
Burns got his second hit of the game with one out in the seventh, but Cashin got a grounder and then caught Prout looking on a breaking ball to end the game.
“We had three scrimmages last week but we haven’t seen live pitching since Thursday of last week, so we’re going on 10 days,” Bosh explained. “Hopefully that’s going to come. We’ve got three games next week…we’ll be alright. I’m not worried.”
Attleboro will not have much time to dwell on it, as the Bombardier will be back on the diamond on Monday against Milford. Bosh is confident that his team will get the bats going.
“The Hock is loaded this year…every game is going to be a battle,” he said. “We’ve got Milford on Monday and they’re going to be good, so we’ll be right back at it.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.