Boston High School: Doug Maccaferri

P-North takes second state title in four seasons

June, 19, 2011

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.”

Plymouth North downs D-Y, clinches ACL share

May, 12, 2011
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- Alex Rozak came in to close the deal in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, on just two days rest -- and at that, six-plus innings of extended relief -- and immediately ran into trouble. But with two men on, the junior righty caught the Dennis-Yarmouth batter looking on a third strike, opening a joyous emptying of the dugout and a pat on the back from his head coach.

With Rozak's save and a strong 6-2/3 innings from lefty Jake Stearns, the Eagles clinched at least a share of the Atlantic Coast League title once again by holding off upstart host Dennis-Yarmouth, 4-3, at Wilson Field.

North (13-1, 9-1) can clinch the ACL outright at home Monday against Sandwich, while D-Y fell to 8-5 and 5-4 in the league.

"I never should have pitched him [today], but you know, that's for the league title," Eagles head coach Dwayne Follette said of Rozak, who struck out eight batters in 6-2/3 innings of relief in a 14-5 win over Marshfield Monday. "That's a good win."

Pinch-runner Ryan Moskos came on for Dave Murphy in the top of the sixth inning, and scored from first base with two outs to plate the winning run for the Eagles. Doug Maccaferri flied out deep to right field, sending the speedy soccer star from first on a tag-up. Moskos slid head-first into third, but the throw from the rightfielder was overthrown, sending him home standing up.

Matt Walsh tried to give the Eagles an insurance run in the seventh, blasting one to the left field wall for a stand-up double before getting tagged out at home to end the inning. Stearns fanned the first two batters of the final stanza swinging, but walked the next one, prompting Follette to call in Rozak on short rest for the save.

Stearns finished the day striking out eight, allowing five hits and walking two, to pick up the win.

"I knew once we got that run, we get ahead and we've got Alex and our ace," Walsh said. "Big chance for us to get the ACL right there, so I knew my double would help us get it done."

The Eagles plated three runs in the top of the first, the first run coming when Zach Zaniboni raced home after Walsh's grounder wasn't fielded safely. Walsh and Mike Cahill then came home on a John Myette single to make it 3-0.

But the Dolphins responded two innings later to knot it at three. Brendan Sullivan reached on an error by the second baseman, allowing his brother Cody to reach home safely for the 3-3 score.

After the rally, D-Y managed just two hits over the final four innings.

"They're the best team in Division 2, and we've played them two games in a row toe-to-toe," D-Y head coach Paul Funk said. "I think we just made more mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes that we've got to clean up on. But I'll tell you, we gutted it out. The pitcher we had going [Justin Thomson], he gutted it out for us."