KINGSTON, Mass. -– The No. 5 Silver Lake baseball team proved for the second time in two days that they can never be counted out, this time surging past Xaverian, 4-3, behind a 3-run homer off the bat of senior Matt Cauchon in the fifth inning.
“Matt’s the kind of guy whose been a spark plug for us all year,” said SL coach Kenny Tocci. “He’s made big plays and came up with a lot of big hits. He was red hot early in the year, then he kind of went into a funk, but no one works harder than Matt and I’m really happy for him today.”
Xaverian held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, but Brad Chandler got things going with a double down the right field line and Ryne McNeilly followed with a bunt single. After a fake suicide squeeze allowed a pinch runner to steal second base, Cauchon stepped to the plate ready to play the part of hero.
“I knew I had to come up big,” said Cauchon. “Honestly, I was trying to shoot one down the line because he had pretty good zip on his fastball. I got up there and shortened my stroke and was just like ‘I’m going to hack at it.’ I thought it was a pop-up and they were going to get out of the inning, but it just kept going.”
Not only did he connect on his first career homer, Cauchon finished 2-for-2 with a walk, two stolen bases, three RBI and two runs scored in the win on SL’s senior day. The blast also served to ease some of the frustrations the Lakers (19-3) had after some missed opportunities on offense and some defensive miscues that led to all three Xaverian runs.
“Any time you see a 3-run home run that puts you 4-3, it doesn’t matter how the game was going you just take it and bow to the baseball gods,” said Tocci. “To our team’s credit, our guys handled the adversity and battled back for the second day in a row.”
Starting pitcher Jason Johndrow made sure the 3-run homer would be enough by retiring the final six hitters he faced in the win, finishing with six strikeout and no earned runs against in the win. Johndrow surrendered four hits, three walks, and a hit batter, but showed impressive composure by stranding six runners in scoring position in the win.
“That’s kind of Jason. You gotta live with the good and the bad with him,” said Tocci. “He can lose it one pitch then find it and be unhittable the next and that’s kind of what happened today. He didn’t have his best stuff, but the great ones win when they don’t have their best stuff and he’s one of the great ones.”
Silver Lake got on the board first after Cauchon singled, stole second and third and scored on an infield hit by Josh O’Neill in the bottom of the first inning.
Xaverian knotted the score in the top of the second when Trevor McQuade, who singled earlier in the inning, dashed home on a passed ball.
An error, a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball in the fourth gave Xaverian its second run before an Andrew Elliot double to the fence in centerfield tacked on their third run in the fifth. The Hawks missed some chances for more, leaving runners on second and third and in the second and third innings, a runner on third in the fourth and a runner on second in the fifth.
“I thought both teams played well today. It wasn’t perfect,” said Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert. “We had one or two mistakes, they had one or two mistakes, but it was two teams playing well and it came down to them having a huge swing. We had a few chances ourselves with runners in scorers position, but we couldn’t get the big hit and they got the biggest hit of all.”
The win wrapped up a perfect month for the Lakers, who have rattled of 10 straight win since their last loss on April, 29.
Hawks' playoff hopes grounded: For Xaverian (8-11), the loss ended any chance of a playoff berth, ensuring they missed the tournament for the first time in Lambert’s 12 years as head coach. They still have one game to play against Millis on Monday, but they can’t get back to the required .500 to qualify.
A tough schedule complicated matters, but the Hawks realize they missed chances to punch their playoff ticket earlier this season and that the loss to Lakers was just another bump in the road.
“We talked about it after the game, we’re not out of the tournament because of the way we played today,” said Lambert. “We played well enough to win today, but they’re a great team and they just beat us. We’re out of the tournament because of games earlier in the year. We had games that we didn’t execute on a routine level, and that’s why where we are now.”