SUDBURY, Mass. -- It was a pitcher’s duel from beginning to end, and ultimately a clutch walk-off single from Lincoln-Sudbury senior Brian Carroll was the difference, giving the Warriors (6-4) a 2-1 win over third-ranked BC High (7-2).
Junior Owen Bautze, in his second start of the year, got the win for Lincoln-Sudbury, scattering three hits in seven innings pitched. BC High’s one run came by way of a home run by leadoff hitter Dan Dougherty (2-for-4) in the third inning.
“BC High--they can always swing the bats. Last year they put a quick eight runs on us. [Owen] pitched phenomenal for seven straight innings," Carroll said in praise of his teammate. "He came out against a very good team and performed well."
Lincoln-Sudbury coach Kirk Fredericks echoed his senior’s remarks on Bautze, pointing out Bautze’s gradual improvement in terms of his mentality on the mound.
“It’s all about getting better," Fredericks said. "Earlier in the year if he gives up a home run it would have affected him for the next couple batters. Here he gives up a home run, he comes right back, and he does a nice job."
Following Dougherty’s home run in the third, the Warriors come back in the fourth with a run of their own. Sid Warrenbrand hit a single up the middle to score Ian Kinney and tie the ballgame at one.
“We really worked on two strike hitting, it showed up today," Carroll said. "And working on keeping the ball on the ground, hopefully to get it through holes."
From there on out, Bautze and BC High starter Dan Cobban dominated the tempo of the game. Cobban avoided any jams until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Shane Sefton started off the inning with a base hit. Bautze bunted to the first base side soon after, and Cobban bobbled the ball before he could get a decent toss over to first.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Fredericks made the decision to pinch-hit Kieran Pathak. The move paid dividends, as Pathak’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third.
The next batter, Dylan DeFlorio, was intentionally walked—bringing up Carroll with the bases loaded. Carroll wasted no time, hitting a line drive up the middle on the first pitch he saw to win the game.
“The whole game I was seeing fastballs, so I just wanted to be aggressive at the plate and I didn’t want to get down in the count," Carroll said. "First ball I saw, I took a hack at it, and got up lucky for a single."
Fredericks added, on Carroll’s final at-bat, “That’s our best player, they put our best player at the plate. So if we’re going to beat BC High, it’s going to be with our best player. He gave us the best shot, got into one and got a nice pitch to hit.”
Fredericks admitted he was skeptical on how his team would come to perform, saying he kicked them off the field during pre-game for a lack of effort.
“There are some games we’ve executed and some games we haven’t," he said. "Today we had to kick them off the field. They came with a horrible attitude, a horrible effort [before the game]. On their own, wherever they went for a half an hour, they found it, figured it out, and came and matched BC High,” the coach said after the game."
He also sent out a challenge to his team after the game. A relatively young, but talented squad, Lincoln-Sudbury has taken its’ lumps this year, and Fredericks wants to see a more consistent effort from his squad from here on out.
“We worry about trying to get better, I tell them all the time that it’s not about the result, it’s about trying to get better. We got better today, but, we got better against Westford and then we laid an egg the next day against [Acton-Boxborough],” Fredericks said.
"So we’ll see how we do against Waltham, will we be two steps forward one step back again? Or will we take two more steps?”