P-North takes second state title in four seasons
June, 19, 2011
By Lucas Shapiro | ESPNBoston.com
LYNN, Mass -- In a year where the Dallas Mavericks, UConn Huskies, and Boston Bruins have all won championships, the Plymouth North Blue Eagles discontinued the underdog trend in a solid 3-1 victory over the Hudson Hawks.
When Hudson’s Ryan Bowen hit Plymouth North’s Zach Zaniboni on the very first pitch of the game, it became very apparent where this game was going.
“We had to jump on them early and be aggressive. That was our approach to this game,” said second basemen Jamie Dougherty. “But if we laid around and kept them in it, things wouldn’t have gone good.”
And to say Dougherty was aggressive would be an incredible understatement. After a pitch had hit his teammate, Dougherty took a sacrifice bunt, which helped Plymouth North score their first run of the game. He also made an incredible diving catch at the bottom of the sixth inning that shut Hudson’s hopes of winning the game down. All of this was done with an injured elbow after being hit by a pitch in the previous game.
“[My elbow] did hurt but I was trying not to worry about it,” said Jamie Dougherty. “My good friend [Matt] Walsh kept telling me to take it one out at a time.”
“He shouldn’t even have played,” said coach Dwayne Follette. “He’s got a nasty elbow. He shows the character of this program and this team. You wouldn’t even believe it if you had looked at his elbow.”
Plymouth North’s other two runs came in the third and fourth inning. Dougherty scored a run on a bocked pitch in the third and pinch-runner Tom Faucett scored on a Doug Maccaferri single in the fourth. Alex Rozak pitched an incredible game, letting up only three hits in six innings. But he wasn’t quick to accept praise after the game. Instead, he gave credit to the relentless Plymouth North fans.
Said Rozak, “We have the best fans in the state. They are always here supporting us. It’s always a big boost when you have people behind you.”
From chants to body paint, the Plymouth North fans were simply a reflection of how the Blue Eagles’ program operates. Heart, grit, and toughness is what they are all about. When things were not looking good, there was always someone there to step up, whether it was Cody Holmes cleaning up for Rozak or Dougherty’s heroic catch to help close out the game. Their numbers also speak for themselves.
“We have two [state championships] in the last four years. We got 13 seniors going on to college, six to play baseball, and one in the armed services. These guys are unbelievable.”