TAUNTON, Mass. -– If all of Barnstable coach Joe DeMartino’s predictions prove to be as accurate as the one he made Saturday morning, perhaps he should consider playing the state lottery.
“At batting practice this morning before we drove up here, everybody was stroking the ball,” DeMartino said after Barnstable belted Taunton, 14-2, in an Old Colony League game. “I had a feeling that we were going to come out of our shoes, so to speak, and kind of let the bats loose and that’s exactly what happened.
“We had a great batting practice. There wasn’t any joking around. Everybody was serious. They had a great BP and I said to my assistant coach right after batting practice ‘I think these guys are going to really swing the bats today.’ “
Swing the bats, indeed.
Barnstable (14-4, 5-1), who clinched the league title, sprayed 15 hits around Taunton’s field and broke the Tigers’ 11-game winning streak.
Leading the way were designated hitter Sam Holloway and third baseman Mark Brodd.
Holloway was 4-for-4 (which included one double and a two-run homer) with two runs scored and four RBI.
Brodd was 4-for-6, including a double, with three runs.
Luke Besse chipped in with a single, double and an RBI while Dylan Morris added a two-run single.
“Sam’s been our DH and has had a little bit of a down year,” DeMartino said. “But he looked good at batting practice this morning.”
Key Hits: The Red Raiders led 6-1 entering the fifth when Holloway smacked his two-run homer.
Then, after Taunton (14-4, 2-2) failed to score in its half of the fifth, Barnstable erupted for a quartet of runs in the seventh which was highlighted by Morris’s two-run single.
As impressive as the Red Raiders were at the plate, the same was true of their pitchers –- especially Keegan Dellacona.
Dellacona relieved eventual winner Pete Liimatainen (who served up solo home run to Joey Walsh in the third plus two singles to the Taunton catcher) in the sixth with one run in and a Tiger on third and two outs.
He retired Matt MacLean on a fielder’s choice and went on the earn the save by tossing 3 1/3 innings of one-hit scoreless relief replete with zero walks and two strikeouts.
“Keegan’s been a starter for us and he’s pitched great all year,” DeMartino said. “He threw 99 pitches on Wednesday so I knew he had a little more left in the tank. That’s what I was looking for him to do, come in and shut it down and kind of win the game for us.
“He’s a kid that can throw a lot of pitches a lot of the time so I knew exactly what I could get from him and I was confident with him.”
Who Needs Rest? The fact Dellacona worked on only two days’ rest made his performance even more impressive.
“I took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Dartmouth, one of our league rivals, and ended up blowing it (i.e. the no-hitter because Barnstable prevailed, 3-1),” Dellacona said. “Everybody knows that I kind of have a rubber arm. I have since Little League. I was playing catch with my dad (Jim Dellacona) since I could play catch.
“I got used to taking care of my arm and it’s been very good to me. I’m grateful for that and, hopefully, I don’t run into any problems.”
Celebration Time: In retrospect, the Red Raiders had few problems capturing a rare Old Colony League championship.
“This is my fourth year coaching and this is our first championship since then,” DeMartino said. “I don’t think we’ve won it in six or seven years.
“This was a big one for me personally but it was a really big one for our team. We’ve had a couple of good years but got bounced from the tournament in the second game a couple of times. So, it was a good job. These guys played well and they deserved it.”