BROCKTON, Mass. -– Masconomet head coach T.J. Baril will not sleep much tonight, but it has nothing to do with the Bruins game extending into triple overtime only to lose to Chicago.
Hingham was able to turn two catcher interference calls into a scrappy run in the bottom of the second inning and held on long enough to steal a 2-1 win over the Chieftains to capture the D2 EMass title at Campanelli Stadium.
Hingham now travels to Lowell to face Auburn for the state title Saturday at 7pm at LeLachuer Field.
John Carlson sat on a 1-2 fastball from Speros Varinos (10-1) and singled in the bottom of the sixth to score Evan Flanagan from second base for the game-winning run as the Harbormen were only able to muster three hits all game. The good news for Hingham – two of the three came in the pivotal sixth inning.
“It didn’t feel like we found a way, it kind of fell upon us but yes we finally found a way,” said Hingham head coach, Frank Niles. “You get the early run from a bases loaded walk after a couple of catcher interference calls and we haven’t seen that all year.”
Niles described the two-out rally in the bottom of the second inning as Varinos was cruising along sitting down the first five batters via strikeout. But David Hutchins and Cody Clifford each reached on consecutive catcher interference calls in a bizarre series of events. After a Matt Glenzel reached on an infield hit, leadoff hitter Stephan White walked to score Hutchins for the game’s first run.
“Anyone who hit the ball early in the game was doing a real good job, but their kid (Varinos) was phenomenal so it’s hard to believe he lost but we will take it of course,” said Niles.
The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fourth when Masconomet tied it up with a leadoff home run off the bat of first baseman Joe Klingensmith that may still have yet to land. Klingensmith sat on a high changeup from William Boyton for the equalizer to give the momentum back to Masconomet.
But the bad baseball continued for the Chieftains as they had two failed squeeze attempts result in outs at third base and also had a runner gunned down at third with no outs to snuff out multiple rallies to try and gain the lead. The base running blunders cost the Chieftians at least three runs and possibly more according to Baril.
But Baril pulled zero punches and laid the blame right at his own cleats.
“That’s what we try to do, get the runners moving, get the bunts over, but I got a little over zealous,” said Baril. “Those are thing you can point out to me making mistakes and these guys played well enough to win and deserved a better outcome and a better fate.”
Hingham was finally able to take advantage as Flanagan beat out an infield single and advanced to second on a questionable balk call all on Varinos with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. After John Wehner moved Flanagan over to third with a groundout to first base, Carlson punched Hingham’s ticket to the D2 state final with a clean one-hopper to left field for the game-winning RBI.
The hit by Flanagan was big and the balk was just a little twitch so it was a break and Carlson took advantage,” said Niles. “Billy (Boynton) is a kid with no pulse. He didn’t throw well for him but he gutted it out and he stayed with things and made pitches as the game went on.”
After the homer to Klingensmith, Boynton settled down and scatter six hits for the complete game victory.
But Varinos overshadowed Boyton in the loss as the senior Cape Ann League MVP fanned 11 Harbormen and carried a one-hitter into the crucial sixth inning. The hard-luck loser yielded only three total hits but the two in the sixth unraveled the Chieftains chances to advance.
This is Hingham’s first trip to the state finals in school history and the Harbormen had not won a tournament game in over ten years until this season.
“This is baseball and anything can happen to win or lose a game and it’s nobody’s fault, but it is just one of those weird things that happen in high school baseball,” said Baril. “Usually we a strong enough to overcome it but we just didn’t have enough innings this time.”