Boston High School: Andrew Sweet

Recap: A-B 4, No. 12 Chelmsford 2

May, 25, 2012
LOWELL, Mass. -– The Acton-Boxborough Colonials rode the left arm and bat of senior Ryan McDonald on Thursday night as they defeated Chelmsford 4-2 in the Mickey Sullivan Baseball Classic at the Lowell Spinners' Lalacheur Park.

McDonald tossed 6.1 innings of one run baseball before giving way to reliever Ethan Dukes, who battled a spirited seventh inning Chelmsford (13-7) comeback for the save.

“Ryan (McDonald) is a bulldog for us,” said A-B head coach Patrick Grucela. “His pitch count was a little high but he just works hard, throws in the mid 80’s and he also trusts his catcher and the game we are trying to call.”

McDonald struck out eight and walked five while surrendering only four hits and two runs on the evening.

“It killed me not to finish it as that is what I strive to do,” said McDonald. “I feel proud that we finished it off as a team and it boosts our confidence.”

Chelmsford’s Mike Rosa had the games only extra base hit in the fourth inning as the junior outfielder laced a double over the head of leaping center fielder Thulani Denaro. Rosa would later score the Lions’ first run of the game on an RBI single by junior third baseman Conor Barry.

Chelmsford lefthander Russell Olive relieved sophomore classmate Quinn Cooney in the third inning and went the rest of the way for the Lions on the mound.

More from McDonald: McDonald not excelled on the mound but he also provided three solid singles and helped his own cause in the third inning when he drove in Billy Jackman with a rip to left center for the game’s first run.

“I was looking for my pitch to hit and Coach (Grucela) always provides us with a good scouting report on all the pitchers we face,” said McDonald. “I just took that into the game today and it worked out.”

McDonald’s 3-for-4 performance at the plate led the A-B hitting attack that also featured two hits each from John Mielke and Andrew Sweet. The Colonials had 10 hits in the game.

Squeeze Play: A-B executed a perfect suicide squeeze in the fifth inning as Mielke laid the bunt down and Joe Euele timed it perfectly and scored. The run gave the Colonials a 4-1 lead at the time.

“We should have actually squeezed in the second,” noted Grucela. “The same situation came up again in the fifth and I learned from my mistake. That was a big play. We got the bunt down, we did not break too early and it was great execution on the kid’s part.”

Late Inning Rally: Chelmsford second baseman David DeDonato scored on a Dukes wild pitch after reaching on a single to lead off the seventh inning.

The Lions got the potential game tying run on second base but Dukes would battle out of a bases loaded situation and get Barry to fly out to center to end the game.

“I was proud of the way we came out but I was more proud of the way we finished,” said Grucela. “We have been preaching all season to be mentally tough when those moments come up and I think we did a great job of that today.”

D1 Tournament Bound: Both teams will be headed back to the MIAA Division 1 state tournament next week. A-B concluded their regular season with today’s win and finish with a 14-6 overall record.

“That is why we play those teams like Lowell twice, BC High, and Chelmsford,” Grucela said. “Those teams really prepare you for the tournament which we were fortunate enough to make this year.”

Chelmsford concludes their season this weekend as they travel to Wilmington to take part in the Dick Scanlon tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Participating teams include Salem, Wayland and host Wilmington. Chelmsford faces off against Salem at 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the Championship and Consolation games taking place on Sunday.

Recap: No. 1 BC High 15, No. 10 A-B 11

April, 4, 2012

ACTON, Mass. -- It was what one could expect from an early-season baseball game: two teams still working out some kinks, while at the same time showing flashes of what each can be when everything comes together for them.

As dark rain clouds rolled over the field, No. 1 BC High was able to record the final out and fend off a potential seventh-inning rally from No. 10 Acton-Boxborough. The Eagles won on the scoreboard, 15-11, but it left the team feeling like it has a ways to go now that the games count.

“Obviously I’m really happy with the offense,” said BC High (1-0) coach Norm Walsh. “We weren’t swinging the bat well the past few days, so we had a little chat about pitch selection and approach at the plate and I think we re-focused and did what we needed to do offensively.

“We had a couple of defensive lapses, which were uncharacteristic. That was a little bothersome. It’s tough to get on my pitchers at this point, but the big thing is we have to throw strikes. In the last couple of innings, we didn’t throw strikes. It’s not that we don’t have the ability to get people out, because we do. When we threw the ball well through the strike zone, we got outs. It was just giving them free base runners that we can’t afford to have.”

The run production started right from the beginning of the game for BC High. After leadoff hitter Dan Dougherty worked the count full against A-B (0-2) starter Reid Jordan, he belted the payoff pitch over the right field fence to give his team the early lead.

Ryan Tufts, the very next batter, was hit by a pitch. Next, senior catcher Bobby Melley hit a rocket double all the way to the fence, which allowed Tufts to score all the way from first. A-B was already playing from behind before it got a chance to bat.

Jordan left the game after four innings, giving up nine runs. The A-B relief pitchers did not fare much better. The Eagles scored at least one run in each inning besides the last.

Conversely, BC High’s Tommy McDonald gave up seven runs, lasting five innings, giving up eight hits and three walks.

Colonials keep it close: It was not all smooth for BC High, however. Over the course of the game, defensive lapses allowed A-B to prolong innings, and ultimately generate runs.

In the third inning, a hit batsman and a single put runners on first and second with one out. A-B’s Ryan McDonald hit a grounder at Tufts, who fielded it cleanly on the edge of the grass. Rather than throwing over to first to get the sure out, Tufts turned around and tried to tag out Billy Jackman. He was too late, as Jackman beat him to the bag by several steps. He still threw over to try to get the out at first, but McDonald beat out the throw, thus loading the bases.

That turned into a three-run inning for A-B, making it a 5-4 game.

In the fifth, A-B had the bases loaded and already scored a run. Brendan Phelan hit a line drive at shortstop Jake Marotta, but the ball hit off his glove and into the outfield. What could have ended the inning lead to A-B to two more runs.

“We made mistakes, errors, judgment stuff, stuff that probably could have put four or five more runs on the board for them,” said Melley. “We could cut down on that. In close games, we’re going to need stuff like that to win ball games.”

Walsh credited those mistakes to where his team is in the season, believing they aren’t emblematic of the team as a whole.

“I think those are early season jitters,” he said. “Over the process here, I don’t think that’s going to continue by any means. I think we’re going to be a very good defensive team.”

Melley Mashes: In the fifth, Melley came to bat with a runner on second. The left-handed hitting catcher took the first two pitches, making the count 2-0.

Earlier in the game, he had hit the ball well against Jordan, but this time, he was up against junior Andrew Sweet. In what can only be characterized as a hitters count, Melley got a chest-high fastball and was able to get under it and get a good enough part of the bat on it to muscle it out of the park for a two-run home run. It was an impressive fete of strength for the senior captain.

“I was looking for a fastball, and I was comfortable against (Sweet) and what he was throwing to me,” he said. “I saw the fastball, probably about head-level. I really did get under it but I had enough to get it in the wind and get it out of there.”