Boston High School: Connor Sullivan

D1 South Baseball: B-R 4, BC High 3

June, 10, 2013

BROCKTON, Mass. -— As Bridgewater-Raynham trotted onto the field for the top of ninth inning clinging to its 4-3 lead over Boston College High in Sunday’s Division 1 South final, it seemed like the already heart-pounding affair couldn’t inflict any more chaos on the players, coaches and fans in attendance.

But, sure enough, it did.

The Eagles put runners on first and second with one down in the ninth with No. 3 hitter Ryan Tufts stepping to the dish. And after Tufts worked the count full against Trojans closer Cody Medairos, BC High decided to send both runners on the pitch as Tufts blasted a shot towards the right-centerfield gap, causing both runners to try and motor on home to take the lead.

Fortunately for B-R, centerfielder Tyler Carey was there to save the game and the season.

Carey hauled in the fly ball on the run, then turned and fired to second to double-up the Eagles baserunner frantically trying to retrace back to the bag, providing the final moment of jubilation in a game full of them, as B.R. stormed onto the field with its 4-3 victory finally safe in its possession.

The Trojans will play D1 North champion Billerica Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the D1 Eastern Mass. Final at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

Carey said he saw the runners take off when the ball came off Tufts’ bat, so he knew he would have a chance to double the runners up if he could get to the ball. But even he knew that wasn’t a sure thing.

“I made catches like that before so I knew it was possible, but I don’t know,” Carey said when asked if he thought he’d get to the ball. “I just tracked it down.”

B-R coach John Kearney said Carey’s grab was “one of the best catches you’ll ever see.”

“Everybody in the park probably thought that was going to be trouble. No question,” Kearney said. “But I looked up and I saw Carey got a great jump and I’m thinking, ‘He’s got a shot.’ I’ve seen him do that all year. He has tremendous speed and he’s made those kind of catches all year.”

“If that falls in, we’re gonna get two or three (runs) there,” B.C. High coach Norm Walsh said. “That puts a whole different spin on things.”

If the catch weren’t enough, it was Carey who gave the Trojans the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With David Miller on second, Carey worked the count full against Eagles pitcher Dan Cobban and ultimately lined a single through the infield and into left field, bringing Miller roaring around to score the go-ahead run.

Carey, who said he has been playing baseball since he was five-years-old, had trouble putting the game into words.

“I’m dreaming right now,” he said. “This isn’t real. This is crazy.”

B.C. High tied it up at three in the top of the eighth. After B.R. starter Mike Bruemmel walked Tommy Landry with one down, Kearney went to Medairos in the bullpen. But Medairos walked Andrew Jaehnig and then gave up an RBI single to Billy Mitchell to knot the score.

The Eagles nearly took the lead two batters later. With Landry on third and Jaehnig on second and two down, Tom Russo grounded a ball to second. But the ball ate up Connor Sullivan and ricocheted to his left, prompting the second baseman to slide to the dirt, spin and throw out the sliding Russo by half a step.

Bruemmel was tremendous on the mound, logging 7-1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks while fanning eight.

B-R jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first after a sacrifice fly by Joe Freiday, followed by an RBI triple by Miller and a passed ball to bring him in.

The score stayed that way until the sixth when Mitchell ripped an RBI double off Bruemmel to finally get the Eagles on the board. One batter later, Mitchell came around to score after a throwing error by the Trojans, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

D3 boys final: Westfield 4, Swampscott 1

March, 18, 2013
BOSTON – Swampscott was making its first-ever appearance in the state title game, but nerves did not seem to be an issue for the Big Blue as they fired shot after shot on the Westfield net in the opening period.

It could have been nerves that got the better of Swampscott on its first trip to the TD Garden, but instead, it was Bombers senior goalie Nick Liberto that ruined the afternoon for the North sectional champs.

“We couldn’t have done it without him,” said Westfield senior forward Adam Collier about his goaltender. “I’ve personally watched him since freshman year and he stands on his head every game. I couldn’t ask for a better goalie.”

Liberto made 22 saves and Collier scored a pair of goals as the Western sectional champions made the most of the long drive to Boston and earned the program’s third Division 3 state title with a 4-1 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Veteran head coach C.B. Matthews, Jr., who has been at the helm for all three of the team’s state championships, was also full of praise for Westfield’s senior netminder.

He remarked, “He brought us here and he kept us in the game tonight. He made some enormous saves. We were running around a little bit and he kept us in the game.”

Liberto deflected praise to his teammates and commented that his primary focus is giving his team the chance to get the game’s first goal.

“I was just trying to stay focused and I always want to give my team the first goal,” explained Liberto. “I feel like that’s huge. So, I’m good from the start.”

Swampscott freshman goalie Tristan Bradley was also excellent in the first period, but the Big Blue was caught out on two odd-man rushes by Westfield. With 4:16 left in the period, Connor Sullivan finished a two-on-one from Chris Sullivan to make it 1-0. Inside the final minute, Collier scored his first to double the Bombers’ lead.

“We gave up a couple of two on one’s, which resulted in goals but I thought for the most part we had some great opportunities, but we weren’t able to put the puck in the net,” said Big Blue head coach Gino Faia.

Collier added his second and the team’s third midway through the second period. Sean Spohr, who also assisted on Collier’s first goal, and Brandon Miemiec got the assists. Matthews called the forward his team’s “unsung hero.”

“My line has been doing great,” noted Collier about his goalscoring success in the tournament. “We just try to get to the net, move the puck well, and get the puck on net. Luckily, it’s paid off.”

Westfield nearly let a third period lead slip in the semifinal against Wachusett, so there was still pressure on the Bombers despite the three-goal advantage. That pressure increased when Robert Serino scored a wraparound goal with 8:55 remaining to make it 3-1.

Swampscott pushed forward and continued to fire shots toward Liberto, but the Westfield defensemen held firm and blocked a number of efforts in the closing minutes. Corey Carmody nearly made it a one-goal game late in the third, but his shot slid through Liberto’s five-hole and all the way through the crease.

Anthony Cagliostro tacked on an empty net goal to ice the game for the Bombers in the game’s final minute.

“Normally third periods have been our best periods all season long and we told them that we’ve got to get the one,” said Faia. “We did score and got some energy, but we kind of ran out of time there.”

Collier admitted that the Medway game was on the players’ minds as the third period began on Sunday.

“We gave up four goals in the third period [against Wachusett on Thursday] and going into the third period here we knew that we couldn’t let down and the title was ours,” he commented.

Westfield celebrated the program’s third title and Matthews noted that, no matter how many championships the program wins, it never gets old.

“It’s a good feeling,” he reflected. “They’re all special. These young men will never forget them.”

Barnstable claims key OCL win over No. 20 B-R

January, 23, 2011

HYANNIS, Mass. -- Barnstable's Scott Nickerson can be his team's worst critic, but even the fifth-year head coach had to admit there was not much to complain about.

Senior captain Zach Wells scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Red Raiders upended No. 20 Bridgewater-Raynham, 4-1, in a battle of Old Colony League unbeatens.

Wells potted the game-winner 6:03 into the third period, 25 seconds into the second power play opportunity of the period. The man-advantage set off three unanswered goals in the final stanza with the senior captain adding an empty-netter with 1:05 remaining to give him 10 tallies on the season and pairs of goals in each of the last three contests.

Brian Fabry for ESPN BostonBarnstable's Max Willman (10) slides the tying goal past Bridgewater-Raynham goaltender Peter Drowne in the Red Raiders' 3-2 win Saturday in Hyannis.

"Bridgewater's the only team really [in the league] that this is the biggest game for us all year until the state tournament", said Wells. "They've always been a good team, we usually don't beat them so it's a great win for us."

The victory over the Trojans (5-3-1; 1-1) is the first for the Red Raiders in the last three seasons and puts Barnstable (6-1-3; 2-0) directly in the driver's seat for the Old Colony League title.

"The first period they out shot us, but after the first period we were a better team out there", said Nickerson. "You know I'm negative a lot but that's a big show for us, I'm happy and we had a lot of guys really play well for us."

Bridgewater-Raynham carried the play for most of the first period holding a 9-5 shot advantage as freshman Connor Sullivan gave the Trojans the 1-0 lead only 1:28 into the first period. Corbette McLucas' blast from the point bounced to senior Matt White, who tried to punch home the rebound, but Sullivan finished the frenzy with the easy wrister just to the right of the crease.

Max Willman led a 14-shot effort in the second period with his seventh goal of the season on a highlight-reel toe-drag across the crease for the period's lone goal as the teams skated to a 1-1 tie after the first two stanzas.

Nickerson lit up in his office talking about the equalizer scored at 7:23 of the second period.

"Beautiful, just beautiful but there is a kid, although he's small, he's got a head on him, and he can make that play and we don't have many guys who can make that play," said Nickerson. "If he was even 5-10, he'd be all world, but he's only about 5-5, 125 pounds."

Added Wells: "He has some really good hands and what was a huge goal for us and we really needed something to get back in."

After Wells' game-winner, Will Toffey scored at 8:01, less then two minutes after the senior captain's tally, for the insurance goal and Wells followed with the empty-netter. Wells' power-play strike was all goaltender Sean Cleary needed as the freshman netminder was solid the rest of the way with 21 saves for the Red Raiders.

"The guys that are supposed to score scored tonight, Willman and Wells, Toffey and exactly what happened is what we've been looking for," said Nickerson. "Figure a 3-1, 3-2 game, figure Wells is going to get one, our defense is going to get one, and then someone else."

The power-play goal was only the second of the entire season for Barnstable as they out shot the Trojans 29-22 overall. But the small improvements can add up in the end for Nickerson's Red Raiders.

"We're getting better and better, more aggressive, handling the puck a little bit better," said Nickerson. "This game helps us confidence-wise as they are starting to believe they are pretty good - not getting cocky over it - but our guys are really starting to believe."

BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-3-1; 1-1) - 1 - 0 - 0 - - 1
BARNSTABLE (6-1-3; 2-0) - 0 - 1 - 3 - - 4

FIRST - BR - Connor Sullivan (Matt White, Corbett McLucas), 1:28.
SECOND - BA - Max Willman (Ricky Panton, L.J. Fellows), 7:23.
THIRD - BA - Zach Wells (Willman ), 6:03; BA - Will Toffey (Kyle Fontaine), 8:01; BA - Wells, 13:57 (en)

SAVES: BR - Peter Drowne (25); BA - Sean Cleary (21).