LOWELL, Mass. — Peter Dawe delivered himself quite an early birthday present.
The Burlington junior hurler allowed two runs (both earned) and fanned four in seven innings, and he delivered the game-winning hit as the Red Devils earned a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Beverly in the Div. 2 North finals at LeLacheur Park.
Dawe survived some early struggles, but once he delivered with the go-ahead run in the fifth, interim head coach Chris Nance had a better feeling about the outcome of the game.
“As soon as we got the lead there was no question that we were going to get this,” said Nance, whose team awaits the winner of Plymouth North and Dighton-Rehoboth. “Barring something unforseen happening, (Dawe) isn’t going to let them back in the game. It was huge. That’s why he’s the MVP of the Middlesex League Small. He’s an unassuming player and a very quiet kid. … He wins games.”
Dawe gave up two runs in the first look at the Panthers lineup in the first inning, but after a small adjustment he was able to work his way through early troubles.
“I settled in,” said Dawe. “I just had to focus on not tugging my glove hand.”
The Panthers loaded the bases in the top of the third inning with one down off the Red Devils’ righthander and could have severly changed the tune of the course of the game with one swing of the bat. But Dawe, who will turn 17 on Sunday got a big swinging strikeout and got Sam Shore to ground into a force at second base to get out of the inning.
Dawe needed 60 pitches to get through the first three innings, but only needed 33 to muscle his way through the rest of the game.
“He focuses a lot more when he’s in a problem,” said Nance. “Sometimes he creates his own problems and maybe he’s spotting him two runs so he can be a hero when he comes back and wins it. Pete will tend to focus, and he tends to get himself in to problems, but he also gets out of the problems right away. Well not right away, sometimes I have to sweat them out.”
Dawe at the Dish: Alex Toomey quieted the Red Devils bats, but lost the strike zone a little bit in the top of the fifth inning. With a runner on first and second, Toomey threw four straight balls to Harrison Smoske and threw three more to Chris Sharpe. Toomey battled to a 3-2 count against Sharpe, but the right-handed hitting third basemen lined a single through the left side to tie the game at 2.
Dawe quickly got the Red Devils the lead as he placed one opposite field in front of the right fielder to score Smoske for the 3-2 lead.
“I knew I just had to do a job and get it over to the right side,” said Dawe. “I saw an inside fastball, so I just kind of gave a little inside-out swing and poked it to right. I was trying to do whatever I could with the pitch.”