LINCOLN, Mass. -– Defense may have failed the No. 1 Bridgewater-Raynham baseball team on Thursday afternoon, but the Trojans remained unbeaten with a 12-4 win over Lincoln-Sudbury behind an impressive offensive showing and a gutty pitching performance.
“I think there was some type of hangover from playing yesterday or the long bus ride today,” said B-R coach John Kearney. “I was shocked. We had seven legitimate errors and gave up four unearned runs. I’m hoping the defense today was a fluke -– we’d made one error each of the first three games, so I really do think it’s one of those fluke-ish things, but luckily the offense is good enough to overcome it and Jack Connolly is good enough to overcome it.”
The offense erupted for 15 hits and five walks on the way to the win. Perhaps the biggest hit of the day came in the top of the fourth when Joe Freiday stepped to the plate with runners at second and third, and B-R leading 5-4.
With one mighty swing, Freiday launched a ball well over the center field fence for a 3-run homer -- despite hitting the ball near the end of the bat –- sending the Trojans surging toward victory.
“Joe’s three-run homer settled some of our nerves -– that was a huge shot he hit,” said Kearney. “He’s a pretty strong kid. He’s a big boy and he worked in the offseason a lot on conditioning and with the weights. He’s never done that before and it’s really paid off. He’s hit a few balls that he’s just wristed out. He didn’t even hit that one well. He hit it out, but he didn’t get all of that ball.”
Freiday finished the day 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs scored in addition to the long home run.
The offense was also bolstered by Andrew Noviello (3-for-4, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 3 Runs) and Tyler Carey (3-for-4, 3B, BB, 3 Runs), and both Cory Wasylow and Connor Sullivan had two hits in the win.
“We came ready to swing,” said Freiday. “Coming into the season, I knew we’d have a complete lineup –- there’s not a hole in our lineup. You really can’t go past one guy to get to someone else. We like to believe you can’t put someone on base and not have another threat right behind them. We just came ready to hit today.”
As good as the offense was, Connolly might have been even better when all of the extra outs he had to get are considered.
“I think Connolly had like 60 pitches going into the third, and that’s unacceptable, and were going to work on it in practice and make sure that never happens again,” said Freiday. “Jack did incredible today. I’m not sure if there were earned runs or anything, and on paper it might not look too pretty but we let up more than we usually like to.”
Added Kearney: “Jack showed a lot of character to stay composed like he did and get through the sixth inning, settling down like he did. Give Jack all the credit in the world for the way he pitched. He pitched out of jams, he’s striking guys out, he was pretty incredible.”
He scattered four hits and three walks, and used seven strikeouts to navigate around the defensive miscues in the early going. Connolly (2-0) surrendered all four runs (zero earned) in the first three innings, before settling in and retiring 11 of the final 14 hitters he faced before giving way to Noviello for the seventh.
“People might say ‘he didn’t throw well, look at the runs he gave up’, but Jack pitched great,” said Kearney. “He had to throw and extra 30 or 40 pitches because of our defense. No earned runs, he was a big reason we were able to overcome those errors.”