DUXBURY, Mass. -- To witness Cole Roland for the first time, you need to be reminded that he is only a freshman.
Such observation would likely tell you otherwise, considering the fact that the Duxbury righthander had the look of a seasoned veteran and not some fresh-faced rookie on the mound Friday afternoon. Roland certainly made believers out of Silver Lake after limiting the Lakers to just one run on four hits in a six-inning, mercy-shortened 12-1 Patriot League triumph at Murphy Field.
After allowing his lone run in the first inning, Roland was virtually untouchable the rest of the way. Mixing a tailing fastball with a nasty curve, Roland kept the defending league champs in check throughout.
"The first inning started off a little shaky but after that my fielders started making a lot of plays behind me," said Roland, who struck out five. "I was feeling a little jittery in the beginning but I was able to calm down and throw strikes. My curve ball was breaking really well today. This is the position I have wanted to be in for quite some time."
With the victory, the Dragons improve to 2-2 and 1-1 in league play. Silver Lake came into this contest unbeaten but now fall to 4-1 (2-1).
The Lakers opened this tilt nicely after pushing a run across on Josh O'Neill's RBI single. But having tossed 21 pitches (83 for the game) in the first frame, Roland settled down nicely soon after. It didn't take long for his teammates to erase the deficit after scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning against sophomore righty Jason Johndrow.
It all started when Matt Saia drew a walk. After fouling off several pitches, Buddy Mrowka next ripped a triple to right to tie matters. Junior Mike Callendar followed by blasting a fastball well-over the right field fence to put Duxbury in front 3-1.
"Cole just turned 15 last week and he really gets on top of the ball and the ball comes out of his hand tremendously," Dragons head coach Gordon Cushing said. "He had a really nice curve working today as well. It's the best in our program. It was just a great effort by him against the defending league champs. He has good mechanics and certainly has a huge ceiling ahead of him."
While Silver Lake had no clue in its attempts to solve Roland, the Dragons, playing without their top offensive threat and Northeastern-bound junior Cam Walsh (shoulder) were finding their time at the plate less-than-difficult. In the bottom of the second, Jake Reagan (2 hits) singled and Mike Cardelle walked. After issuing just one pitch to Saia (a ball), Lakers head coach Kenny Tocci opted to pull Johndrow in favor of lefthander Tim Collins.
A wild pitch ensued putting both runners in scoring position. Moments later, Saia lofted a SAC fly to score Reagan. After Mrowka walked and stole second, Keven O'Rourke (2 hits) belted a double off the right field fence plating two more runs, giving the Dragons a 6-1 advantage.
Duxbury increased its advantage to seven in the third. With one out, Ryan Duffey (2 hits) singled and stole second. Reagan followed with a walk in which the final pitch of the at bat turned into a pass ball to put runners at the corners. Reagan then stole second with ease to keep the pressure on Collins. With the Lakers infield playing in, Cardelle followed by blooping a single to left which scored Duffey with Duxbury's seventh run. Another Saia SAC fly made it a 8-1 game.
"Up and down today our line up was pretty good," said Cushing. "We wanted to work Johndrow a little bit and make him throw a lot of pitches. We're a young team and got killed on Wednesday (against Middleboro) so to have them comeback like this shows a lot of character."
While Roland continued to pile up zeros on the scoreboard, the Dragons offense continued to swing the bats with authority. In the fourth, Duxbury sealed Silver Lake's fate by scoring four more times. After loading the bases with one out and reliever William Gallagher now on the hill, Duffey grounded a ball to third baseman Nathan Youseff.
The junior immediately went home on the play to try and get the force out. But his throw sailed wide of catcher Ryne McNeilly thus plating the Dragons' ninth run. Reagan then grounded a single up to the middle to make it 10-1. Duxbury's final two runs came benefit of a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch. On the afternoon, Laker pitchers combined to issue nine walks.
"When you have that many walks you aren't going to win many games," said Tocci. "I tip my hat to Duxbury because they are a quality program. Anytime you don't bring your A game you are going to get beat in this league. Duxbury certainly beat us today. They hit the ball and it fell in and when we hit the ball it didn't, and the walks certainly didn't help us either.
"We had been playing really well coming into today and I can't remember us losing a game like this in a long time. It's kind of a slap in the face for everybody. But it is just one game so we need to put it behind us and move on."