Prospect Blake Swihart sighted at Portland in 6-2 win over New Hampshire

Blake Swihart was the Portland catcher today.  How much longer?

Blake Swihart was the Portland catcher today. How much longer?

Danny Bethea returns to the Portland dugout after getting an RBI in his first at-bat with the Sea Dogs

Danny Bethea returns to the Portland dugout after getting an RBI in his first at-bat with the Sea Dogs

(Portland ME) The Portland Sea Dogs are playing so well that when you arrive at Hadlock Field and find a player missing you assume that there has been a promotion to AAA Pawtucket.

Henry Owens and Sean Coyle were absent from the Sea Dogs, 6-2, win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Monday afternoon.  No promotions (yet) for either of them.  They had been participants in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Why Henry hasn’t moved up is a mystery to this reporter.  The 21-year-old lefty has statistically dominated the Eastern League so far in 2014.  Henry tops the EL in wins (12), strikeouts (111), ERA (2.21) and WHIP (1.03).

The Sea Dogs (63-34) have the best record in the Eastern League.  The Binghamton Mets, however, are just 4 1/2 games behind in the Eastern Division of the EL.  The Sea Dogs dropped four straight in Binghamton this month so the race for the top spot in the EL could become very interesting the rest of the way.  And if Henry gets promoted, as well as Sean Coyle and catcher Blake Swihart, that top spot would be even harder to hold onto.

Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

But on Monday Blake was on hand and Henry and Sean were due back when the EL season resumes on Thursday.

Portland did promote a catcher to Pawtucket but this time it was reserve Matt Spring.  They also brought a new catcher in from the Lowell Spinners, Danny Bethea.

Danny got his first at-bats at the AA level versus New Hampshire (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) and picked up an RBI in his first at-bat.  That RBI came on a slow dribbler down the first baseline that NH starter Casey Lawrence opted to go to first with allowing Jonathan Roof to score.

Portland starter Mike Augliera gave up his tenth homer of the season to Andy Fermin but benefited from a matching homer from teammate Heiker Meneses.  Mike is now 4-8 and hadn’t won a game in nearly two month.

Part of the Sea Dogs’ success this season has been the way they have dominated the Cats from New Hampshire.  With today’s win the season record favors Portland 10-4.

It was Campers’ Day at Hadlock and the camps each had their own tee-shirts.  On a hot afternoon (the game started at noon) there was plenty of action at the concessions stands.

Slugger has spent the season riding on a jeep instead of working on his base running.

Slugger has spent the season riding on a jeep instead of working on his base running.

It was another sorry day for Slugger in his season-long quest to beat someone (anyone) on the race around the bases.  For some reason Slugger’s opponent always gets a half-base lead.  That seems unfair since Slugger hasn’t won yet this year!  In today’s race Slugger was matched up against a girl.  This kid was small but fast but Slugger is big and fast and crossed second base with the lead. Then for some unknown reason the Sea Dogs mascot decided to head out between first and second for a brief chat with an umpire.  I ask you, what would they have to talk about at this point?  But Slugger still had a chance because as he got to first the little girl was just getting to third….this race was even.  But what happened next, is worthy of a full-blown investigation. A Sea Dogs’ staff member, standing at first base, offered Slugger a drink of water.  I now believe that the staff member and the little girl are related.  Of course, Slugger stops for the drink instead of taking it on the fly. When the mascot resumes running the little girl is home the winner.  Very disappointing.

I’ve seen Slugger lose after falling over second base, but losing because of time wasted chatting and drinking is unacceptable.  I would recommend that he spend some pre-game time running the bases instead of riding around recklessly on the back of a jeep!

Michael Almanzar score first Portland run

Michael Almanzar score first Portland run

Prime photo target for me at Hadlock was catcher Blake Swihart.  I suspect that his days with Portland are numbered.  Blake was a first-round compensation pick for Boston in 2011 after the Red Sox lost Adrian Beltre.  In today’s win Blake caught a NH runner trying to steal.  The 22-year-old has 10 homers and 48 RBI.

I was part of a good crowd (6,552) enjoying the game.  Portland games are affordable and offer glimpses of future Red Sox players.  Think Mookie Betts!

Thanks to Chris Cameron for setting me up to see the game.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Michael Almanzar

Michael Almanzar

Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

fun with young fans

fun with young fans

Heiker Meneses (home run in game)

Heiker Meneses (home run in game)

Shannon Wilkerson

Shannon Wilkerson

Jon Berti (28 stolen bases)

Jon Berti (28 stolen bases)

Blake Swihart consoles starter Mike Augliera after home run pitch

Blake Swihart consoles starter Mike Augliera after home run pitch

Andy Fermin in home run trot

Andy Fermin in home run trot

Jonathan Roof scores as Casey Lawence throws to first

Jonathan Roof scores as Casey Lawence throws to first

Danny Bethea batting for the first time in Portland

Danny Bethea batting for the first time in Portland

Peter Hissey

Peter Hissey

newspaper toss

newspaper toss

NH starter Casey Lawrence

NH starter Casey Lawrence

shortstop Ryan Dent sets to throw to first

shortstop Ryan Dent sets to throw to first

Olympian Julia Clukey threw out the first pitch

Olympian Julia Clukey threw out the first pitch

Derrik Gibson back after short time with Pawtucket

Derrik Gibson back after short time with Pawtucket

Jonathan Roof

Jonathan Roof

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Harrison Old Home Days parade 2014

These are my pictures from the 2014 Harrison Old Home Days parade:

hp vacation land hp Tractor ken hp tractor brian hp tractor brian friend hp soldiers hp Phyllis ginzler hp old car hp moped riders hp Harrison 6 hp Harrison 3 hp camp wigwam hp Averill Davishp villa

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David Krall and Jen Rohde win 12th Harrison 5K Run by the Lake

David Krall topped the Harrison 5K field at 18:11

David Krall topped the Harrison 5K field at 18:11

Jen Rohde was 10th overall and first among the women finishers

Jen Rohde was 10th overall and first among the women finishers

Arno Bommer outruns a Coastal Road Repair truck for second

Arno Bommer outruns a Coastal Road Repair truck for second

(Harrison ME) David Krall and Jen Rohde took top honors in the 12th running of the Harrison 5K Run by the Lake on Wednesday night.

David (from South Weymouth MA) covered the scenic course in 18:11 and had a commanding forty-second advantage over Arno Bommer (Houston TX) who finished second.

Jen (from Cumberland ME) ended up tenth overall (20:45) but her margin of victory was only eleven seconds over Ann Lastra of Fryeburg Academy.

The weather was pleasant for running (overcast) compared to the last two years when the participants faced pouring rain in 2013 and sun in 2012.

There was plenty of space between the first four finishers.  Let their times tell the story: David Krall (18:11), Arno Bommer (18:51), Dana Welch (19:38), and Michael Mageles (20:03).

The race for 5th between David Landry (138), Glenn Gordon (167) and Mark Hogan (371)

The race for 5th between David Landry (138), Glenn Gordon (167) and Mark Hogan (371)

The first close race, from the Harrison Marina to the finish line in front of the Harrison Grange, was over fifth place.  Sixteen-year-old David Landry came into view ahead of Glenn Gordon and Mark Hogan and was able to hold that spot.

Josh Weisbach looked as if he would take 8th but 14-year-old Dorn Scalfani caught him at the bridge before the Grange.

As I mentioned earlier, Jen Rohde was the quickest female.  Ann Lastra finished second last year to Westbrook’s Sara Bradley by seven seconds.

Virginia Cain (Barrington RI) notched third place among the women runners.

Benjamin Sykes in the stretch run

Benjamin Sykes in the stretch run

Nearly two hundred participants registered times for the event.

The course records of Jeffrey Sprague (15:45 in 2008) and Tina Meserve (18:47 in 2007) were never in any kind of danger this time around.

David Krall’s 18:11 would have earned him fourth place last year.  Maybe David’s time would have been a lot better if there had been competitors in his vicinity.

I marvel at the turnover in the Harrison 5K.  The familiar faces are mostly in the crowd.

Arno Bommer improved his time from 2013 and moved up four slots from his 6th place finish that year.  Arno looked as if he was trying to outrun a Coastal Road Repair truck over the final yards.

Michael Mageles improved five spots from 2013

Michael Mageles improved five spots from 2013

Michael Mageles also improved his closing spot.  Last year he was 9th, this time around 6th.

This race appeared to be well organized thanks to race director Kelly Meuse.  My only worry on her behalf was before the race when a very dark cloud was moving over Long Lake with a thunderstorm in the forecast.  Thankfully, none of that possible decision-making bad weather kicked in.

The complete race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

David Krall runs alone to victory

David Krall runs alone to victory

Dana Welch (3rd)

Dana Welch (3rd)

Dorn Scalfani (131) on the way to catching Josh Weisbach (127) for 8th place

Dorn Scalfani (131) on the way to catching Josh Weisbach (127) for 8th place

Dimitri Dibiase (11th)

Dimitri Dibiase (11th)

Anna Lastra (2nd woman)

Anna Lastra (2nd woman)

Virginia Cain (3rd woman)

Virginia Cain (3rd woman)

Evan Hamm

Evan Hamm

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Marube and Pfitzinger win 38th Bridgton 4 on the Fourth

Moninda Marube of Auburn, Maine wins easily for the second straight year

Moninda Marube of Auburn, Maine wins easily for the second straight year

Annika Pfitzinger of Auckland, New Zealand won the female title finishing 7th overall

Annika Pfitzinger of Auckland, New Zealand won the female title finishing 7th overall

Tony Bumatay: One of many runners showing the US colors

Tony Bumatay: One of many runners showing the US colors

(Bridgton ME) Moninda Marube made it look easy for the second straight Bridgton 4 on the Fourth.

The Auburn (Maine) resident, formerly of Kenya, finished the course in 20:29 which was actually four seconds slower than last year’s winning time.

Moninda ran down Main Street without a challenger in sight.  I am guessing that the 35-year-old could run closer to the course record (18:46) if someone pushed him.  There was no one capable of doing it last year or this year.  Maybe next year?

The temperatures were in the sixties with occasional drizzle.  There was a rumble of thunder about forty minutes after the race started that got everyone’s attention.

Annika Pfitzinger of Auckland, New Zealand ran away with the woman’s title defeating runner-up Jenna Willett by over two minutes.

The battle for second: Matthew Methot (20400), Silas Eastman (71), and Robert Hall (2039)

The battle for second: Matthew Methot (20400), Silas Eastman (71), and Robert Hall (2039)

The Bridgton race seems, in my opinion, to annually attract a ringer or two.  Annika fits that category this time around.  The 21-year-old finished second in the national cross country championship in New Zealand last year.  Both of her parents are former Olympians.  Annika was seventh overall (22:32) in the 38th running of this race.

I like to watch the start of this race and then move to the Magic Lantern area to catch the Main Street section down to Renys.

The race of the day was for second in the men’s division between Matthew Methot, Silas Eastman, and Robert Hall.  Matthew (Maine Maritime Academy grad) went past me with a five-yard lead over the other two and I thought that he looked strong enough to hold onto second place.  But it didn’t work out that way.  Silas (Colby freshman) caught Matthew and took second by three seconds.  Robert (Syracuse freshman) ended up seven seconds back in 4th place.

Silas won the race two years ago and then last year was a disappointing 7th.  This year he improved his time by over a minute to get second place.

Chris Garvin

Chris Garvin

Chris Garvin of Charlestown (RI) took 5th with a career best 21:53.  Chris was 12th last year.

Nate Richards (6th) is a counselor at Camp Newfound.  The 19-year-old took a minute off of last year’s 14th place finish.  He is attending Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.

Annika Pfitzinger (21) was 7th.  She reacted to a group of well-wishers in front of the Bridgton Library.

Eric Rudolph from Augusta took the eighth spot.  Eric (30) is a graduate of Unity College.  He was a cross country academic All-American there.

Ian Lanza (9th place) is a doctor from Rochester, Minnesota.  Ian (37) ran at UNH and did graduate work at UMass Amherst.

Ben Tanoff finished two seconds behind Ian in 10th place.  Ben (21) is a counselor at Camp Indian Acres in Fryeburg.  He ran for Kenyon College in Ohio.

Jenna Willett: second female

Jenna Willett: second female

Youngster Nicholas Brown (16) finished off the top ten males in the race.  Nicholas is from Madison (Maine) and runs for the Granite State Flash.

Jenna Willett from Denmark (Maine) was the second female (23rd overall).  The Kenyon College grad was second last year as well.

Newcomer, to me, Erin Flynn from Newton (Massachusetts) was the third female finisher.

Robert Hall (4th place finisher) was part of Scarborough’s state championship outdoor track team in 2013.  Robert won the 1600 meter at that event.

Weather?  I thought it was terrific for the runners.  Cooler than it had been with no sun.  The off-and-on drizzle probably felt good to the participants.  My camera wasn’t thrilled, however!

One improvement I liked was not having any cars parked on Main Street.  I also liked the idea of keeping the runners on the right hand side of Main Street.

Truck adds some excitement to the wait for the runners to appear

Truck adds some excitement to the wait for the runners to appear

If you’re looking for excitement you’re sure to get it while waiting for the runners to finally pop onto Main Street.  Every year, without fail, some driver will try to become part of the race.  This year two drivers entered the “what-could-go-wrong” zone in the last minutes before the runners appeared.

The first one pulled out of the Big A planning on heading toward Reny’s.  He was stopped in a hurry but opted to converse with a race staff member about why he needed to continue the way he was going.  He was finally convinced to turn around which seemed to take forever.

The other driver came out of the side street across from the Big A driving a truck.  He headed up Main Street toward the spot where the runners get onto Main Street.  No one stopped him and he went up the hill toward the monument literally seconds before the runners showed up.  That one could have been ugly!

National Anthem

National Anthem

I commend the race staff for their overall organization.  The same folks appear to be in charge every year and they know what they’re doing.

Always impressive at the 4 on the Fourth is the patriotic garb.  The participating camps really seem to take it on.  In a world where things are anything but rosy, you sense optimism about this country among the younger set.

Official race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brian Ladd

Brian Ladd

Austin Osborn

Austin Osborn

Ricky Lipsey

Ricky Lipsey

Benjamin Chaine and Kristen Huntress

Benjamin Chaine and Kristen Huntress

Alex Youngblood

Alex Youngblood

Bill Wood

Bill Wood

Erin Flynn (3rd female)

Erin Flynn (3rd female)

Nate Richards (6th)

Nate Richards (6th)

Eric Rudolph (8th)

Eric Rudolph (8th)

Ian Lanza (9th)

Ian Lanza (9th)

Ben Tanoff (10th)

Ben Tanoff (10th)

Nicholas Brown (11th)

Nicholas Brown (11th)

Isabella Rocamboli

Isabella Rocamboli

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St. Mary’s defeats Amesbury 8-5 to take Division 3 North softball title

St. Marys (2014 D3 North champs)

St. Marys (2014 D3 North champs)

Coach Chris Perry accepts the runner-up trophy for Amesbury

Coach Chris Perry accepts the runner-up trophy for Amesbury

(Lowell MA) On Saturday, Amesbury fell behind by two runs in the first inning and came back to defeat Lowell Catholic, 3-2, in the D3 North semifinals.

On Sunday, that fall-behind-thing didn’t work so well as the Indians trailed St. Mary’s (Lynn), 7-0, after two innings and ended up losing the Division 3 North title game, 8-5, to the Crusaders at Martin Field.

St. Mary’s moves on to the state semifinal game versus Greater New Bedford (South winner) on Wednesday night (5PM) back at Martin Field in Lowell.

Spartans start to celebrate

Spartans start to celebrate

The Spartans (17-7) won state titles in 2009 & 2010.  Last year they lost in the finals to Assabet Valley.  The most remarkable thing to me about past performance was that St. Mary’s has been in the D3 North finals for NINE straight years.  If experience means anything in big games they have it.

Amesbury (17-7), despite being down big early, never quit and put runners on base in the innings that followed and left the bases loaded in the fourth (after getting two runs) and in the seventh (after getting one run).

St. Mary’s picked up an insurance run in the sixth inning when Cassi LaFauci’s two-out double scored Alexis Mango with the Spartans eighth run.

That run loomed large in the Amesbury seventh after reliever Mia Nowicki walked in the Indians fifth run with two outs and had to face the Cape Ann League’s MVP Amanda Schell.  Mia escaped by getting Amanda to ground out to second baseman Jen Mucciarone to end the game.

Mia Nowicki

Mia Nowicki

St. Mary’s totaled ten hits but had five of them in their seven-run second inning.  Amesbury had three errors in the game and unfortunately, for them, all three came in the second inning.

In that second inning, the Spartans loaded the bases with two hits and a walk with one out.  Pitcher Rachel Cyr then bobbled Jess Martinello’s grounder and Vanessa VanBuskirk scored.  With two outs and the bases still loaded, another grounder and this time the throw home was over catcher Amanda Schell’s head and two runs scored.  Later a single (Molly Doyle) to center went through CF Sam Stone allowing yet another tainted run.  All seven runs were unearned.

Amesbury began the long road back with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.

Autumn Kligerman and Rachel Cyr picked up RBI in the third.

collision course

collision course

Jordan D’Orsi started the fourth inning for St. Mary’s.  Consecutive doubles (Zoe Fitzgerald & Lauren Fedorchak) produced a run and after a walk Mia Nowicki came on in relief.  Mia hit the first batter (Amanda Schell) she faced and walked the next batter (Alexis Boswell) forcing in a run.  Here was a key point in this game: bases loaded with one out and Amesbury within three runs.  Mia, however, came up big for the Spartans registering a strikeout and a popout to escape further damage.

Mia Nowicki fanned seven Indians in her 3 2/3 innings of work.  The freshman has plenty of speed and a devastating changeup.

Michaela Hamill pitched three innings for St. Mary’s giving up two runs on five hits.

Third baseman Autumn Kligerman and second baseman Lauren Fedorchak had terrific catches on infield popups.

Alexis Mango

Alexis Mango

Alex Fisher, Alexis Mango, and Mollie Mello each had two hits for St. Mary’s.

Lauren Fedorchak had two hits, scored a run, and had an RBI for Amesbury.

St. Mary’s won an April 22nd game versus Amesbury, 4-1, at Amesbury.  Vanessa Van Buskirk had three RBI in that one.

Weather?  Sunny/Cloudy with an off-and-on breeze.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Sam Stone tries to get back to third

Sam Stone tries to get back to third

Alex Fisher heads for home

Alex Fisher heads for home

Maddie Napoli (25) and Sam Stone (13) chase the same popup

Maddie Napoli (25) and Sam Stone (13) chase the same popup

Autumn Kligerman takes a cut

Autumn Kligerman takes a cut

Meg Aponas slides back into third as Mollie Mello takes the throw

Meg Aponas slides back into third as Mollie Mello takes the throw

Rachel Cyr

Rachel Cyr

Second baseman Jen Mucciarone gets an assist on the final out of the game

Second baseman Jen Mucciarone gets an assist on the final out of the game

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Zoe Fitzgerald flips to first

Zoe Fitzgerald flips to first

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Lowell Catholic defeats Georgetown 9-4 to gain D4 North title

Lowell Catholic (2014 Division 4 North champs)

Lowell Catholic (2014 Division 4 North champs)

runnerup Georgetown Royals

runnerup Georgetown Royals

(Lowell MA) Lowell Catholic looks ready for a run at a second straight Division 4 state baseball title.

The Crusaders (21-2) defeated Georgetown, 9-4,  at very warm LeLacheur Park on Saturday afternoon to get the D4 North crown and position themselves two wins away from a second championship.

Lowell Catholic was able to bunch hits/runs together in two innings and they were flawless in the field.

Georgetown (15-8), on the other hand, had eight hits but lost runners on the bases and had a deadly two-out drop of a foul popup.  That drop (pitcher Alex Bornholdt) extended a 1-run fifth inning into what became a 4-run inning.

The Crusaders picked up five runs in the 4th and the Royals answered with four of their own.  LC added four more in their half of the fifth and that 9-4 spread held up the rest of the way.

Kyle Rafferty

Kyle Rafferty

Tom Cahalane

Tom Cahalane

The team from the Cape Ann League had numerous scoring opportunities but on this day the Crusaders’ pitching combo of Tom Cahalane (4 1/3) and Kyle Rafferty (2 1/3) prevailed.

Jesse Caisse led Lowell Catholic with two hits and three RBI.

Lowell Catholic had played the day before and it looked like it in the early going.  Royals’ starter Pat Slack retired the first ten batters he faced.  However, Pat never got another out as LC put six hits and a walk together for five runs and Alex Bornholdt came on for G’Town in relief and quieted LC.

The Royals came right back in the top of the fifth inning.  They loaded the bases with no outs and had RBI by Mike Goddu and Pat Slack.  Then they loaded the bases a second time and out went starter Tom Cahalane and in came Kyle Rafferty.  Georgetown added two more runs (RBI by Colby Ingraham and Kyle Nelson) before that 5th was done.

Jesse Caisse looks to tag Colby Ingraham

Jesse Caisse looks to tag Colby Ingraham

But LC still had the lead, 5-4, going into their half of the fifth.  The Crusaders loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a single.  Brandon Bursey (2 hits/2 RBI) then singled sharply to left putting LC up by two.  This was where the Royals had a great chance to get out of the inning with one-run damage but Jesse Caisse’s foul popup was dropped.  Given another chance, the LC junior singled, bringing home two teammates.  James Sullivan would later force in the 9th Lowell Catholic run with a walk.

Georgetown had two runners aboard in the sixth but an infield single (Pat Slack) turned into the final out as pinch runner Gus Savage was picked off second.

The Royals put two more players on base in the seventh but Kyle Rafferty struck out pinch hitter Nick Correnti and got Chris Chiklakis to fly out.

Ben Noelk in a rundown

Ben Noelk in a rundown

In the first inning, Ben Noelk was caught in a rundown.  In the same inning, Colby Ingraham was picked off second.

Nick Cervizzi had 3 hits, 2 RBI, and scored 2 runs for Lowell Catholic.

The game started nearly thirty minutes late because of the lengthy (controversial?) first game between Methuen and Chelmsford.

Kevin Terban dives

Kevin Terban dives

Weather?  Hotter than I like it.  There are very few places at LeLacheur Park (home of the Lowell Spinners) where you could find shade.  I’m betting more than a few sunburns were acquired.

Kyle Nelson, Ben Noelk, and Dan Manning each had two hits for Georgetown.

Shortstop Colby Ingraham made a next-level play on a grounder up the middle showing good range and good arm.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Ben Noelk (2 hits)

Ben Noelk (2 hits)

Aaron Crandall rounds third

Aaron Crandall rounds third

Brandon Bursey (2 hits and 2 rbi)

Brandon Bursey (2 hits and 2 rbi)

Georgetown hit drops in

Georgetown hit drops in

Nick Cervizzi flips to pitcher Kyle Rafferty

Nick Cervizzi flips to pitcher Kyle Rafferty

LC starts to celebrate

LC starts to celebrate

James Sullivan

James Sullivan

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Gloucester holds off North Andover 2-0 to gain D2 North finals

Jordan Pallazola scores an insurance run for Gloucester in the sixth inning

Jordan Pallazola scores an insurance run for Gloucester in the sixth inning

Reliever Pete Clark struck out Brendan Parisotto to end the game

Reliever Pete Clark struck out Brendan Parisotto to end the game

(Lynn MA) Gloucester took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh, and survived a bases-loaded situation, to win a Division 2 North semifinals battle with North Andover on Friday afternoon.

The triumph by the Fishermen (20-2) sends them to the D2 North finals against Masconomet tomorrow (4PM) at Lelacheur Field in Lowell.

Senior Conor Harris picked up the win with one-batter relief help from Pete Clark.

The #1 seed Fishermen seemed to be in pretty good shape heading into the final inning the way starter Conor Harris was going.  Gloucester had two runs and the GHS senior had given up only one hit through six innings.

But after one out in the seventh the Knights made things very interesting.  Matt Iannone and Stephen Borzi singled before Conor Harris struck out pinch hitter Marc Patnaude to get the second out.  Pinch hitter Christoffer Keane then walked to load the bases.  At this point, Gloucester coach Bryan Lafata brought in Pete Clark (MVP Northeastern Conference) to face Brendan Parisotto.  Pete got the strikeout to seal the deal for Gloucester.

Stephen Borzi flips to shortstop Matt Varoutsos

Stephen Borzi flips to shortstop Matt Varoutsos

The Fishermen’s first run came in the second inning and was unearned.  After Drew Shairs singled, a routine grounder to second baseman Stephen Borzi did not result in an out.  Stephen tried to tag the baserunner (Drew Shairs) and missed and then threw late to first.  Another grounder was hit Stephen Borzi’s way and this time he clicked with shortstop Matt Varoutsos on a force-out at second.  The error part was Matt’s low throw to first baseman Collin Couillard that allowed Drew Shairs to cross with the first Gloucester run.

The NEC champs added insurance in the sixth inning.  Jordan Pallazola beat out a slow roller to third and reached second on a fielder’s choice with two outs.  Junior Bart Margiotta singled Jordan home.

Evan Glew allowed one earned run

Evan Glew allowed one earned run

Junior Evan Glew took the loss for North Andover (Merrimack Valley Conference) but gave up only one earned run and struck out five.

The Knights (12-11) were limited to three hits by Gloucester pitching.  NA did have a runner in scoring position (Brendan Parisotto) in the third with two outs but Matt Varoutsos popped out to first to end the inning.  In the fifth, the #12 seed had two on with one out but GHS starter Conor Harris struck out Austin Flinn and got a fly out from Brendan Parisotto to maintain the shutout.

Plenty of credit goes to the North Andover team for the recovery they made after being 5-9 at one point in the 2014 season.  The Knights won seven of their last eight to reach the tournament and then upset two higher seeds (Winchester and Reading) to reach the D2 North semifinals.

Gloucester dominated the NEC (13-1) this season.  They are in the MIAA tourney for the 11th straight season.  The Fishermen defeated Belmont, 3-2, to reach the semifinals.

Jordan Pallazola was caught stealing on a fine throw to second by NA catcher Chris Bosco to shortstop Matt Varoutsos in the fourth inning

Ball gets away from NA first baseman Collin Couillard as Eric Chalmers touches first

Ball gets away from NA first baseman Collin Couillard as Eric Chalmers touches first

Gloucester got a fortunate bounce in the fifth inning.  With two NA runners on, catcher Jordan Pallazola tried to pick Brian Varoutsos off first.  Jordan’s throw hit the baserunner diving back in and bounced directly into first baseman Drew Shairs hands.  If that ball gets by, the NA runner on second might have scored.

Matt Iannone was hit twice by Gloucester pitcher Conor Harris.

Knights’ leftfielder Austin Flinn dove for freshman Eric Chalmers short fly and ended up needing medical attention.

A 2PM start on a school-day Friday drew a close-friends-and-family sized crowd.  I suspect that both Masco and Gloucester will have many on hand for tomorrow’s Saturday afternoon matchup at Lalacheur Field.

Weather?  Couldn’t have been better.

Fraser Field now has turf in the infield and from dugout to dugout in front the backstop.  I like it.

Gloucester box

North Andover box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Conor Harris allowed three hits

Conor Harris allowed three hits

Austin Flinn needs medical attention

Austin Flinn needs medical attention

final strike

final strike

Drew Shairs scores the first Gloucester run

Drew Shairs scores the first Gloucester run

Stephen Borzi tries to tag Drew Shairs

Stephen Borzi tries to tag Drew Shairs

Jordan Pallazola flips his mask before making a catch

Jordan Pallazola flips his mask before making a catch

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Filed under Gloucester, North Andover