WESTWOOD, Mass. -- John Mullen was hoping the 1-1, bases-loaded, two-out curve he'd just cranked off of Lincoln-Sudbury's Carl Anderson would at least hit the fence, sending somebody home. His Xaverian teammate, Derek Reddy, had happier thoughts.
"As soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone," said Reddy, who pitched six scoreless innings before giving way to reliever Mike Uradnik, as Mullen's walk-off grand slam gave the No. 4 Hawks (3-1) a 4-0 win over No. 6 L-S (1-2) in the eighth inning.
"I knew he could get the job done if anybody could. Once I saw it come off the bat, I knew it wasn't staying in the yard."
Neither Reddy nor Anderson surrendered much over the course of their starts, combining for just seven hits allowed headed into the final frame of the afternoon at Xaverian High. the right-handed Reddy struck out three, walked three and allowed four hits in five innings of work before Uradnik finished the game out; meanwhile, Anderson struck out four and at one point retired 13 batters in a row before giving way in the eighth.
Try as they might, Hawks head coach Gerry Lambert admitted they were never able to adjust to the Bryant-bound, left-handed Anderson's tricky off-speed stuff, which carried good movement with it today in painting each side of the plate. But in the bottom of the eighth, they were able to string together a few good hits to set up Mullen's grand slam.
First, senior centerfielder Mike Muir reached first with two outs on an error by the second baseman. That was followed up by a single from junior second baseman Chris Hoyt, and a walk from Reddy. Mullen swung foul on his first cut, and two swings later sent everyone home.
"Carl's a very good pitcher, got me out three times in a row [prior to the at bat]," Mullen said. "I was just sitting on curveball. I was just trying to get a good pitch, and put a good swing on it."
Said Lambert, "He [Anderson] was dropping those off-speed pitches over the plate. That's not easy to do early in the year, so a ton of credit to him. I thought we matched them pitch for pitch, Derek Reddy was great and Mike Uradnik in relief was tremendous. And obviously, John finally clocked one out at the end."
Uradnik surrendered no hits and struck out one in three innings of relief, to pick up the win.
Anderson, who led the state in home runs a season ago, went 0 for 4 at the plate, and threw 88 pitches in the loss. But head coach Kirk Fredericks praised the senior's mettle at the plate.
"He's one of the better pitchers around," Fredericks said. "He may not throw 95, but he's heart."