Boston High School: Ken Tocci

D1 South Baseball: BC High 4, Silver Lake 0

June, 4, 2013

KINGSTON, Mass. -- In the Div. 1 South Sectional quarterfinals, the No. 4 seed Silver Lake baseball team had BC High starting pitcher Trent Berg seemingly on the ropes in the early going on Tuesday afternoon, before the Eagles came away with a 4-0 win.

After back-to-back walks to open the third ran SL’s base-runner count to five in just two plus frames, the Lakers looked primed to break through for the first runs of the game when a double steal set them up with second and third with no outs and their No. 3 hitter Tony Videtto strolling to the plate.

A pitch-out on an attempted suicide squeeze cut down Matt Kauchon at the plate, and a pair of grounders to third sprung the No. 6 seed Eagles (17-5) without any damage against Berg despite his control issues.

“He’s a tight-rope walker in all honesty,” said BC coach Norm Walsh. “He’s frustrated me for two years in that respect. This year, he’s done a better job of regaining his composure and making good pitches when those tough situations came up.”

After getting out of that jam, BC surged off its gained momentum and got to Lakers’ starter Tucker Bouchard for the first time in the top half of the next inning.

After facing just one over the minimum in the first three innings, and needing just 29 pitches to do so, Bouchard ran into some command issues of his own. A hit batter, base hit, and back-to-back walks were made worse when single runs scored on a passed ball and an errant throw, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead they’d never surrender.

“That was definitely a momentum thing,” said SL coach Ken Tocci. “We don’t get the squeeze down and then we follow it up with that inning. The squeeze worked for us against Mansfield the other day, but today, I guess it kind of blew up in our face. We’re a small ball team though, and we live by the sword and die by the sword.”

From there, Berg settled in retiring 10 of the next 11 hitters -- and erasing the one base runner with a double play. Berg walked two more with two out in the seventh, ending his day with seven strikeouts while surrendering four hits and four walks.

Matt Nielson came on in relief and shut the door against the Patriot League Keenan Division champs, sending BC High to a semifinals bout Wednesday against Dartmouth at 7 p.m. at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

BC High added its third run in the top of the sixth when Sean Webster tripled home Mike Roberts. The Eagles tacked on their final run in the seventh when Jake Marotta’s sacrifice fly scored Luke Catarius.

Senior Special: Tocci will say goodbye to arguably the best class in the history of Silver Lake baseball -- a class that led SL to its first league title in 51 seasons a year ago before repeating those honors this season. Headlining the crop were star catcher Sam Ballerini as well as Bouchard and staff ace Mike Lundin.

“Those three are legacy players,” said Tocci. “They’ve sent this program in a certain direction that five, six seven years ago that we hoped we’d be heading. They’re the ones that got us here.”

Home-schooled brothers making big impact for Silver Lake

May, 13, 2013
KINGSTON, Mass. -- In the hours leading up to practices or games, Tucker Bouchard’s Silver Lake baseball teammates spend their days studying math, English and science in Kingston surrounded by peers they’ve grown up with.

Bouchard -- an 18-year-old senior for the Lakers -- can look around his college algebra, criminal justice or nutrition lab classes at Quincy College and recognize he’s younger, by a noticeable amount, than everyone in the room.

Except for his 16-year-old brother Tanner.

This is nothing new for the Bouchard brothers, who have been piling up college credits for a while now. Tucker is set to enroll in college in the fall with 31 credits under his belt. Tanner, a sophomore for SL, is on track to amass 50 before he officially goes to college.

In fact, the duo -- who have emerged as elite athletes at the 1,200 student school -- have never taken a single class at Silver Lake.

That’s also true of older siblings Nicole (30), Thomas (27), Tyler (23) and Toby (20), as each of them was home-schooled. Only Natalie, their 10-year-old sister, hasn’t be home-schooled, and she’s currently enrolled at Good Shepherd Christian Academy in Duxbury.

As kids, being home-schooled meant learning in their kitchen with their mom, Susan, serving as the teacher. By middle school, they took co-op classes with other home-schooled kids, being taught in someone’s house by a certified teacher, someone who was often retired from full-time duties.

"Every year, I'd say to the kids, 'If you want to go to school, you can go. Your dad and I went to Silver Lake and we turned out fine'," said Susan Bouchard. "They always enjoyed and wanted to be like their siblings."

And to continue their education through high school, they’ve tackled dual-enrollment at Quincy.

The routine has become as normal for the Bouchards as traditional schooling is for their teammates.

"We’ve done it our whole lives, so we’re just kind of used to is now," said Tucker. "It’d be weird if we didn’t do it. It’s really not that tough, it’s just different."

Having home-schooled players on his roster is something SL baseball coach Ken Tocci is growing accustomed to. He’s had at least one in each of his seven seasons as head coach of the Lakers, coaching Tyler and Toby before the present pair.

Each of the Bouchards that have played for Tocci has been a big part of the program -- contributing as both players and leaders, despite not being around their teammates during the school day.

"It goes to the show the character of the kids and the family, and I mean that wholeheartedly," said Tocci. "Each one of them has been a phenomenal human being. It takes a special kind of kid to be able to handle something like that where he’s not in school but he’s still part of the team."

Tucker and Tanner have certainly done it about as well as anyone could hope.

"They’re such good kids, they just fit in," Tocci said. "They’re one of the guys. Everyone loves them, and that has nothing to do with them being some of the best athletes in the school, they’re just legitimately awesome people."

Added junior Matt Cauchon, who has known both since he was in elementary school: "If you brought in a random kid, he wouldn’t be able to tell they’re home-schooled. I wouldn’t even say they fit in with us, I’d say we fit in with them. Everybody looks up to them on this team."

As far as their athletic ability is concerned, both have played a huge part in the recent success of Silver Lake’s basketball team, as well as contributing on the diamond.

Earlier this winter, Tucker led Silver Lake in points for the second straight year and became just the eighth player in school history to reach 1,000 points. He leaves SL second all-time among boys with 1,171 points, behind only Chris Conroy’s 1,288.

"I’m just so proud of him," Tanner said. "That 1,000 point night, I was probably more proud than he was. I was so happy, jumping up and down. That was probably one of the best days of my life."

And Tanner got to experience that, as well as the Lakers reaching the South Sectional tourney, alongside Tucker. Tanner fed SL’s success too, averaging 13 points per game to go with Tucker’s 20.7, and the dynamic duo wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

"It’s so cool to see both names in the paper -- like ‘Bouchard and Bouchard’ did this or that," said Tucker. "It’s really special, most kids don’t get to experience anything like that."

Fast forward to baseball season, and they’re experiencing it again, and this time with even more team success.

After winning its first league crown in 51 years last season by splitting the Patriot League title with Hingham, No. 11 Silver Lake is on the cusp of repeating as league champs, and it’s largely in part to the Bouchard brothers.

"If you read the box scores, it’s easy to see they’re a reason we’re winning games," said Tocci. "Against Plymouth North, Tanner was the reason we won that game. He was 2-for-3 with a couple RBI. He scored the tying run and knocked in the winning one. And Tucker has just been Tucker all year."

Tucker, who recorded five saves during that run a year ago, has been formed a potent 1-2 punch with staff ace Mike Lundin this season. He’s 5-0 on the mound, sporting a miniscule 0.89 ERA. He’s racked up 43 strikeouts in 39.1 innings while surrendering just six walks. Hits have been hard to come by for his opponents, and he’s thrown a no-hitter and one-hitter against Whitman-Hanson this season.

At the plate Tucker is hitting .317 and has an on-base percentage of .558. He’s swiped 12 bases and scored 12 runs while hitting second, third and fourth this season.

Serving as both a starter and reliever, and hitting in multiple spots in the order only begins to tell the tale of Tucker Bouchard’s versatility as he’s Silver Lake’s version of a Swiss Army knife in the field.

"Tucker is one of the most versatile players I’ve ever had," Tocci said. "He can play the outfield and he played second base for me last year. My philosophy is that I always like to be strong at shortstop and first base, so I moved him to first this year."

And when SL’s starting shortstop was sidelined with a back injury?

"Tucker, being who he is, has just moved over to shortstop like its nothing. He hasn’t missed a beat there."

Tanner’s presence in the field and lineup has been more stationary, but no less effective.

"Tanner is a phenomenal outfielder,” Tocci said. “He has as much raw strength as anybody on the team. When he squares up a ball it goes. He’s aggressive, strong, confident -- everything you want in a sophomore. He probably would’ve made the team last year as a freshman but we had 11 seniors."

With just two games left, Silver Lake can clinch at least a share of the league title with a win over Pembroke on Tuesday. They can win it outright with a win over Hingham on Thursday.

And if the Lakers win their second league title in 52 years, no one should be surprised if they’re led by someone who has never even been present during attendance roll call at Silver Lake.

Recap: Silver Lake 4, No. 13 Plymouth North 1 (8 inn.)

April, 16, 2013
PLYMOUTH, Mass. -– The Silver Lake baseball team may been held hitless until the sixth inning against Plymouth North, but it was Lakers’ starting pitcher Mike Lundin who left Siever Field as the best pitcher on Tuesday.

Lundin threw a 101-pitch complete game in the Lakers' 4-1 eight-inning win in the opening round of the Brad Martin Tournament on Tuesday, setting them up with a match-up against Bridgewater-Raynham in the finals on Thursday at 2, back at Siever Field in Plymouth. Plymouth North will face New Bedford in the consolation game.

The senior hurler surrendered just two hits and one unearned run while striking out nine –- including five in the final two innings as Silver Lake improved to 5-0 on the season.

"Mike’s a stud. Mike’s a horse," said Silver Lake coach Ken Tocci. "This was just a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel. We were lucky enough to get out on top, because he made big pitches when he had to."

He was efficient in out-dueling Eagles (3-1) starter Ken Drew, throwing 68 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

"He kept us off-balance all game," said Plymouth North interim coach Pat Lamb. "Kids were ducking out of the way on called third strikes. His curve ball was working and he throws hard. Some days you just tip your hat, and today is one of those days. He pitched a little bit better than our guy."

Drew threw the first seven innings for North, holding Silver Lake hitless until a Sam Ballerini fell in down the right field line for a two-out double in the top of the sixth inning.

After Cory Boudreau walked, stole second and took third on a throwing error in the first inning, he came in to score an unearned run on a fielder’s choice from the bat of David Murphy.

Drew quieted a pair of potential SL rallies in the third and fourth innings, as they put runners on second and third in both, despite not having any hits.

It took until the top of the seventh for the Lakers to finally get to him. Freshman Anthony Videtto led off with a walk and quickly stole second base, despite a pitch-out by Plymouth North.

With one out, the speedy second baseman swiped third, forcing Plymouth North to pull its infield in to try and prevent the game-tying run from scoring.

Sophomore Tanner Bouchard –- who was Silver Lake’s first base runner after drawing a walk to conclude a nine-pitch at-bat in the third – fought off a pair of two-strike pitches before smacking a grounder toward shortstop.

Videtto was off on contact, and slid across the plate with the tying run just a blink of the eye ahead of the tag.

“We’re aggressive,” said Tocci. “Anyone who watches us know we’re aggressive, and you live by the sword, and die by the sword. He could have very easily been thrown out. We noticed that it was sort of a slow infield and balls weren’t getting to position players the way they would if the grass was cut lower. One out, working toward the bottom of the order, we decided to be off on contact.”

Plymouth North made a move to the bullpen in the eighth with Drew already at 116 pitches, and Silver Lake took advantage.

Josh O’Neill led off with a walk, and Matt Kauchon followed with one as well. Ballerini laced a line drive deep toward the right center field gap that was caught near the fence, allowing O’Neill to race to third base.

O’Neill scored the go-ahead run for SL on a wild pitch with Tucker Bouchard at the plate.

Bouchard was award first base after being hit by the next pitch, bringing Videtto back to the plate. He drew his third walk of the game.

Tanner Bouchard extended the lead when he laced a two-out single over the third baseman’s head, scoring both Kauchon and his older brother.

Lundin allowed two base runners in the bottom of the eighth, but ultimately recorded all three outs via strikeout to cap his impressive showing and punch Silver Lake’s ticket to Thursday’s championship game.

"Good pitching will always shut down good hitting," said Tocci. "We found a way to scratch one out and pulled ahead late."