LOWELL, Mass. -- Lowell High head coach Dan Graham thought about taking his pitcher, Kyle Edwards, out before the seventh inning of his team’s game Wednesday against Lawrence. But he ultimately decided against it, and the senior rewarded his coach by throwing a 1-2-3 inning, capping off a complete game, 7-3 victory against the Merrimack Valley Conference foe.
“I gave (taking him out) some thought there at the end,” Graham said. “He went into the last inning with 93 pitches. He got a quick out at first and hadn’t really gone deep in any of the counts, but 110 was definitely the number that we were definitely going to pull the plug on. We had someone ready to go too, but I think he wanted to stay out there.
“We had a situation earlier in the year when he was in line for a win and we took him out early against Lexington, but he didn’t end up getting the win. He’s been great his last two times out for us too, so I’m happy that he got to finish the game.”
The Raiders (6-2) got to Lawrence pitcher Anthony Rodriguez early in the game, putting six runs on the board in the first two innings. Matt Tulley -- whose fastball topped 91 miles per hour on the radar gun in Monday's win over Central Catholic -- singled in the first run of the game. After a passed ball advanced runners to second and third, Chad Gens hit a double to right-center that hit off the wall of Alumni Stadium to plate two more runs.
It was a 32-pitch first inning for Rodriguez. He became more effective as the game went along, but that was after giving up seven runs. He had a quick third and fourth inning, but was pulled from the game after 5-2/3 innings, when Lowell loaded the bases with two outs. Carlos Ditren was able to come in and stop the bleeding, preventing any more runs from being put on the board.
Having a four-run cushion helped Edwards settle in to the flow of the game and really make the most of his outing.
“Even after the first inning I was still a little nervous, but once we put up that four-spot, it all just went away and I used my defense instead of trying to do it all by myself,” Edwards said.
Tulley (1 for 4), along with shortstop Chad Gens, were active in the field most of the night, helping their team secure outs and keep Lawrence (7-2) off the basepaths.
“Tonight was probably the most balls that’s been put in play all year, and for a defense to not make one error is pretty good,” Edwards said. “I have all the confidence in the world in those guys.”
Edwards kept the Lancers off the board until the third inning. He had a very effective curveball working, and could feel it early on.
“During the bullpen session before the game, I do a few to get it going, and that’s when I know if it’s going to work or not, and it was,” he said.
He walked Edwin Brito on five pitches to start the inning, but came back and struck out David Quezada and Victor Mendez for two quick outs. During one of those at-bats, Brito was able to get to third on a passed ball. He scored when Lowell’s R.J. Noel overthrew first when fielding a ground ball.
Edwards finished with six strikeouts, three walks, and left four Lawrence runners on base.