BROCKTON, Mass. -- Given the final score of Masconomet’s 10-2 win over Westwood in the Division 2 state title game at Campanelli Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, it wouldn’t seem that one of the most important moments for the Chieftains was a mound visit early in the game.
With Masco starter Joe Klingensmith struggling to find the strike zone in the third inning, though, that was exactly the case for TJ Baril’s squad.
Klingensmith hit Connor DiVicenzo with a pitch to start the inning. DiVicenzo was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Bo Berluti, who beat the return throw to first.
Bamford and Dan Howard then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases, setting off the mound visit by Baril, which was designed to slow his pitcher down.
“We don’t talk baseball when we go to the mound,” said Baril. “We just kind of talk, calm everybody down and understand the situation. Look, Joe’s got it. We just go out there so he can take a deep breath and kind of refocus.”
Coming out of the mound visit with four hitter Brendan Gotti up with the bases loaded and one out, Klingensmith went right after him, twisting a pair of curveballs into the zone to generate an 0-2 count. Klingensmith then froze him on a fastball for strike three. One batter later, he induced a weak ground out to first base to put an end to the inning.
“I just didn’t have my command -– a lot of it was just not getting ahead of batters,” said Klingensmith. “I was falling behind 1-0, 2-0, 3-1. My breaking ball was on, but I didn’t have command of it but I was able to throw him two good ones, then punch him out with the fastball.”
Added Klingensmith: “That was big. One single makes it 5-2, and you don’t know what’s going to happen after that. Him just buckling down, trusting his mechanics and getting ahead of guys the rest of that inning was key.”
Elias Varinos shot a double down the line to lead off the bottom of the first for Masco, kicking off an inning in which all nine Chieftains would bat and five would score.
Two batters later, Klingensmith helped himself when hit a hard liner to left that slipped underneath the glove of a diving Dean Laughter, resulting in a double for the first run of the game.
After a flyout, Masconomet took advantage of control issues by Westwood starter Eric Bamford. Tom Budrewicz walked, Dan Dempsey was by a pitch to load the bases and Chris Rich walked to force in the second run of the inning.
With Will Twiss at the plate and two outs in the inning, Burdewicz stole home successfully as Bamford went into his motion.
“Every time Tommy gets to third, he says he’s got it,” said Baril. “Every single time. He did it once last year, and we practice it weekly. He gave me the look and he stole it pretty easily. In the first inning of the state championship, that kind of sets the tone of ‘we’re here and we mean business.’”
One pitch later Twiss blasted a wall ball double to right to score Dempsey and Rich for the 5-0 advantage.
The Chieftains blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth with another nine-batter, five-run explosion. Masconomet took full advantage of free base runners in the frame, registering just one hit in the inning. Varinos, Greg Dougherty, Mike Manning, Budrewicz and Dempsey all around to score. Rich capped the scoring with the lone hit, a double that he blasted up against the wall in right.
Westwood scored both its runs in the top of the fifth after Bamford and Dan Howard walked to start the inning. A single by Pete Horsfall scored Bamford, while Howard crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice hit by Bryan Gotti.
Twiss retired all three batters he faced in the sixth while Ryan Beaton put the side down in order in the seventh to seal Masco’s first state title since 2000.