Boston High School: Bryan Abbott

Recap: Oliver Ames 9, Franklin 5

May, 1, 2013

NORTH EASTON, Mass. -– Oliver Ames sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored six runs in the second inning against Franklin starter Brendon Kuzio, on the way to a 9-5 victory over the Panthers on Wednesday afternoon at Frothingham Park in Easton.

Andrew Mancini sparked the Tigers offense with three hits and three RBI, while Dave MacKinnon struck out six over five-plus innings in his first start of the season. The win improved the Oliver Ames record to 9-1 this year (all of them league games), a mark that head coach Leo Duggan, in his 27th season at the helm, was not expecting.

“If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we’d be 9-1...I don’t know...It’s great,” said Duggan. “The kids are great and they work hard.”

OA grabbed a lead in the second inning that it would not relinquish. After a leadoff walk, Brandon Gagliardi drove in Greg Cummings with a double to center. Mike Ferreira followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0. After a MacKinnon base hit, Mike McMillan drove in the third run. Andrew Mancini, the senior catcher, broke the game open with a triple to left-centerfield that scored two runs and made it 5-0.

The Tigers added one more on a double steal in the second and then tacked on a seventh run in the third on a MacKinnon sacrifice fly to right. Duggan called it the best offensive inning of the season for the Oliver Ames.

He added, “We’re usually behind people. Today was the first time that we’ve been out in front all year. We usually wait until the bottom of the fifth to start doing well. They had good swing, which we’ve been trying to stress.”

MacKinnon, who had struck out 14 of the 15 hitters he had faced in five previous relief appearances, was dominant early in the game. He struck out the side in the first inning on nine pitches, but as he got into the fifth inning he was clearly tiring and the Panthers (7-3, 6-3) started to take advantage.

Chris Roche led off the inning with a single down the leftfield line, which was followed by a base hit to center by Drew Inglesi. Catcher Stephen Shea stepped up with a run-scoring double to right center to make it 7-1 and Inglesi would come home on a wild pitch. With runners at second and third and no outs, MacKinnon was able to bear down and get the middle of the order on strikeout, a weak grounder to third, and a pop-up to the catcher.

Franklin head coach Dave Niro called that an important turning point in the game.

“We never give up, but the last couple of game we just haven’t gotten the big hit,” he noted. “We had second and third and the two, three, and four hitters coming up and got nothing out of it. We could have been right back in it.”

Despite not getting runs out of the situation, the Panthers were energized by getting on the board and in the top of the sixth went right back to work.

Andrew Dean, who replaced Neal Hart in leftfield in the fourth inning, smashed a leadoff triple to straightaway center that would have been a homerun on just about any field with a fence. Bryan Abbott, who moved from first to the mound, singled Dean home and Roche drew a walk that chased Mackinnon from the game.

“David’s the best player in the Hockomock, I don’t care what anyone says,” said Duggan. “He just got a little tired and they came back. Give Franklin credit. Most teams would have folded, but they came back.”

Brendan Welch came in to pitch and retired the next two hitters, but Santucci doubled over the head of the leftfielder to score both Abott and Roche. Both runs were charged to MacKinnon. Welch struck out pinch hitter Pat O’Reilly, but Franklin were back in the game at 7-5.

That would not last long.

MacKinnon reached on an error to start the bottom of the sixth. Two batters later, Mancini ripped a grounder down the first base line that was ruled to have just gone over the bag and made it 8-5. A wild pitch moved him to third. On a swinging third strike, Franklin’s catcher Shea thought it may have bounced and started up the first base line with the ball. It left home open and Mancini took advantage to score another insurance run.

“Physical mistakes we can handle but mental ones we can’t,” said Niro. “You know, a catcher vacating home plate, a little pop-up that we missed, a double-play ball and no one covers second base, it’s little things like that.”

Duggan was thrilled with the win and gave credit to his opponents for making it a tough game after a tough start.

“That’s still a good team; anytime you beat Franklin it’s great,” he explained. “I think the kids hit the ball pretty well today and we played pretty well. It was great that we got two runs in the bottom of the sixth. We knew we had it after that.”

Recap: No. 4 Franklin 4, No. 5 L-S 3 (9 inn.)

May, 25, 2012

NATICK, Mass. — Tyler Buck called it a hitting pact between he and Brendan Skidmore. Whatever they want to call it, so far that promise to pick each other up as the three and four hitters for Franklin has worked pretty well so far.

The latest example came on Friday night.

Skidmore belted a clutch home run in the bottom of the seventh to extend the game and Buck put the finishing touches on a 4-3 victory over Lincoln-Sudbury (16-4) in the ninth inning with a walkoff double — which scored Skidmore — to take the first game of the Rich Pedroli Memorial Daily News Classic at John Carroll Complex at Mahan Field.

The two bring the power to the beginning of four straight Hockomock League All-Stars for the Panthers, a list that includes Bobby Chaiton and Reed Turgeon, and that oomph in the middle of the lineup was provided yet again.

“I love hitting behind (Skidmore) and I know he’s going to get on base most of the time,” said Buck, who went 1-for-5 with an RBI. “We have that thing where if he gets a hit then I have more confidence up at the plate. It’s just one of those things where we made a hit-pact together, so if he gets a hit then I got to get a hit too.”

The two connected on back-to-back shots in its pounding of Catholic Memorial earlier in the year and the combination combined for the only two extra-base hits on this afternoon.

“(We) have been feeding off of each other’s success,” said Skidmore. “When one is doing good then the other is doing good and he’s always picking me up in the four spot. It’s a great combination for us.”

In the bottom of the ninth, Skidmore reached with a single to left to put the go-ahead run on the board. Buck, who recorded four outs in hit previous four at-bats, jumped all over a 2-1 offering and sent what looked like a routine fly ball to left. The ball kept carrying and carrying and it glanced off the glove of the left fielder. Skidmore motored all the way around from first without a throw to score the game-winning run.

“I thought that was just a routine fly ball, but it just kept carrying and carrying,” said Panthers’ head coach Dave Niro. “It got over his head and we scored, thank God. We were running out of pitchers.

Skidmore was off on contact and didn’t hesitate as he rounded third.

“I just put my head down and go, especially with two outs going on contact,” said Skidmore. “That was huge.”

Skidmore Clutch: The Warriors held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh and were two outs away from putting the finishing touches on a win. Skidmore, as he has done in several instances in his career, came away with one swing to continue things on a perfect night for baseball.

Skidmore worked the count to 3-2, and he smashed an offering over the left-center field wall to tie things at 3.

“I was getting a lot of offspeed pitches today,” said Skidmore. “I worked the count to a full count and I was thinking fastball but ready for a curveball because they were dropping them on me all day. But he threw me a fastball and it just seemed to carry on that one.”

Skidmore was recently named the Hockomock League MVP and his coach has enjoyed the fruits of the recent clutch ness from his power-hitting shortstop.

“What can I say about Skidmore? He did it last year. He did it against CM. He did it again today,” said Niro. “That’s why he is the MVP of the Hockomock League.”

Up and Down Day in the Field: The Warriors have made a living off of other team’s miscues in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. This game saw those mistakes fall on the feet of Kirk Fredericks group.

The Warriors made two errors that led to a run in the first inning for the Panthers. They ran into an out at third base, and Buck picked off David McCullough on first base. The left-fielder was able to get the glove on a tough play going away from him on the game-winner, but usually those are things that defending Div. 1 champions gobble up without a blink.

“They play hard. They work at it, it’s just today we gulped a little bit,” Fredericks said of his team. “Hopefully we can take it as a learning experience and help us for the next time.”

Although the miscues might be the underlying story of the loss for the Warriors, there were a few highlight plays, most notably the one by Jack Harris in right. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth, Bryan Abbott hit a shot down the right field line and Harris was playing him not to pull. The speedy right-fielder hustled after the ball, went into a dive and scooped the ball just before it hit the ground to hold the Panthers to a sacrifice fly on the play.

If the ball got by Harris, the Warriors were looking at a 2-1 game turning into a much larger deficit.

Recap: No. 23 Franklin 8, No. 25 OA 7 (9 inn.)

April, 18, 2012
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Entering the bottom half of the ninth inning with the game tied, 7-7, Franklin's Cam Flateau calmly squared up and took the third pitch from Oliver Ames reliever David MacKinnon square off his right shoulder.

“The first pitch was right at my head, and I was a little afraid of that one," Flateau said. "But I just knew that he wasn’t going to get a strike to me because I was on his plate, so I did the best I could, and got hit."

Franklin head coach Dave Niro swapped Flateau for Brad Padula, who managed to reach second base one batter later following a suicide squeeze by Joe Palazini.

Padula then finished his trip around the base path when Marc Mele, the third batter of the inning, connected on Mackinnon’s third pitch. That drove home the game-winning run for Franklin (3-1), completing a thrilling 8-7 comeback over the Tigers.

“The first pitch was kind of close, a little low, and I thought it might have been a strike," Mele said. "The second one, I tried to see it better, and the third one I just cocked back, and got ready.".

Said Niro, “We never quit. Baseball’s a great game, and that’s why we play it like this.”

OA (4-1) earned a 2-0 lead to start the game in the top half of the first inning when Matt Harding cleared the bases with an RBI triple, which sent Mike McMillan and Mackinnon to the dish.

Franklin’s starting pitcher Bobby Chaiton recovered by retiring five of the next six batters he faced, before the Panthers' offense recorded three runs on five hits in the bottom half of the second inning.

“Bobby did a great job for us. He’s been struggling a little bit at the beginning of the year, but he did a great job [after he settled down],” said Niro.

Hits from Chaiton, Palazini and Reed Turgeon provided the Panthers with a 3-2 lead. But OA erased that in the top of the sixth, first with a single from Brad Fleming then an RBI triple from Harding.

The Tigers added to their lead one inning later when Jim Sullivan, McMillan and Mackinnon touched all four bases to give OA a 7-3 advantage entering the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Bryan Abbott began Franklin’s final frame when he connected on a 2-2 pitch from OA’s starter, David Holmes, which jump-started a Panthers four-run rally that sent the game to extra innings.

“I missed a pitch earlier during my at bat that I thought I should have hammered in the gap, so I found myself down, 2-2 and I just got a pitch in the zone that I got around on it, and hit it to right field, a nice little single,” said Abbott.

Entering the top of the eighth, Mele retired three consecutive OA batters, before Franklin loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning. The Panther bats attempted to bring home the winning run on third, but Mackinnon managed force Tyler Buck and Chaiton to ground out, and then Turgeon to pop out to center field.

“I was trying to stay calm and throw strikes,” Mele said of his final two innings on the bump. “I didn’t want to let the first batter on because I never leave stranding good.”

Mele repeated his eighth inning performance in the ninth by retiring three more OA batters before he recorded the game-winning RBI that earned Franklin their third victory of the season.

“Marc [Mele] just did a heck of a job for a sophomore,” exclaimed Niro. “You can’t ask for anything better [because] he held them scoreless, and got the winning it.”

“It was a really good high school game that was played out on the field, and we just couldn’t put them away,” OA head coach Leo Duggan said. “I thought we did a nice job in the eighth when they had the bases loaded and nobody out. We didn’t come up with any hits in the ninth, and they [managed] to get it through, so give them credit.”