Boston High School: Mike Rosa

Recap: Chelmsford 14, No. 6 Billerica 6

April, 29, 2013
BILLERICA, Mass. -- Baseball is not a game that allows much time for reflection -- good or bad.

On Friday, Chelmsford was on the wrong side of a gut-wrenching, extra-inning loss to BC High. Such defeats usually have coaches wondering aloud about the overall mental state of their team’s psyche after such a calamitous loss. Lions coach Mike O’Keefe was no exception.

O’Keefe’s Lions returned to action Monday with a task equally as difficult as the one they encountered a short 72 hours prior. Against unbeaten Billerica, Chelmsford knew they had to get to get the bats off their shoulders to have any chance. The Lions also understood what a victory over their border rivals would do for their spiraling confidence.

Chelmsford rode that premise all the way to a 14-6 victory at Hall of Fame Field, after scoring nine runs in the third and adding five more in the fourth.

“One of the things we preach all the time here is you learn from the past but you can’t live in the past," O’Keefe said. “You learn from it, you let it go and you move on. We did that today. Our kids came out and swung the bats very well today. I know these kids have confidence in themselves but it has been lacking a little bit of late. Hopefully a game like this will improve our confidence a little more."

Falling behind 1-0 early, Chelmsford (6-3) took things over for good in the third by sending 13 batters to the plate. Billerica starter Robert Gambale was effective in his first two innings on the mound, but got punched around in the third as he allowed nine runs on nine hits and the Lions grabbed a 9-1 lead.

An RBI single off the bat of Mike DeDonato (3-for-4, three RBI) followed up by a run-producing triple from Russell Olive gave Chelmsford a 2-1 lead. The Lions bats, which finished with 16 hits overall, continued to pelt Gambale in the inning. Matt Rabbito doubled in Olive. Moments later Rabbito came around on Mike Rosa’s line single. The assault continued after Chelmsford loaded the bases. A fly out produced another run and DeDonato returned to the batters box and promptly blasted a two-run triple off the fence in right field.

“We knew coming in this was going to be a big test for us," said DeDonato, a junior. “That’s a great team we played and we knew we needed to come out swinging or else they would’ve put us away. Today we swung the bats well."

Reliever Chris Murphy took over for Gambale with two outs in the third, and was able to stop the bleeding for the time being. But entering the fourth, the junior righty wasn’t as fortunate. Murphy open things by issuing back-to-back walks and serving up a soft single to load the bases with nobody out. That set things up for sophomore Ben Sauter (three RBI), who drove in a pair with a hard single to right to make it 11-1.

Before the inning was over, the Lions plated three more courtesy of a Jack Campsmith single, a pass ball and an RBI single by Tommy Bishop, extending the lead to 13 runs.

The Indians (8-1) mustered a mini-comeback against Chelmsford right-hander Quinn Cooney in the fifth on the strength of a two-run double from Alec Mattar and an RBI single by Max Frawley. Billerica added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings but the deficit was much-to deep to crawl out from.

“It was great to see them battle back,” Indians coach Joe Higgins said. “Even though the score was so lopsided they never quit. This was just a stinker for us today. Hopefully it’s a wake up call. I hope these kids now realize they need to bear down and know they need to play every game hard right from the beginning.”

Recap: No. 1 BC High 4, No. 20 Chelmsford 2 (9 inn.)

April, 26, 2013
CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Norm Walsh thoroughly understands the importance of depth. The longtime BC High head coach is cognizant of the fact that you can never have enough of it when the situation calls for it.

On Friday, Walsh summoned two players from his deep bench who, in turn, performed remarkably in helping lift the Eagles to a thrilling 4-2 extra-inning victory over Chelmsford at Ayotte Field.

With his starter Zach Dunphy having already thrown 75 pitches in just 2 2/3 innings, and the season still in its early-stages, Walsh needed save his senior’s arm for the stretch run. Senior reliever Dan Cobban was brought in with his club trailing 2-1. For the remainder of the afternoon, Cobban was nothing short of brilliant in his 6-1/3 innings, allowing no hits and striking out five. The righty did his part, keeping BC High within striking distance until the offense flurried late.

“I just went out there throwing strikes and I knew my team could come back and get this,” said Cobban. “As long as I kept them in the game I knew we could win it. We really needed this after our loss to St. John’s Prep (6-5 on Wednesday). We had to get a bounce-back win and what better way to get it.”

After the Lions plated a pair of runs against Dunphy, Cobban came in and stifled Chelmsford the rest of the way with a mix of fastballs, curves and change ups.

“Cobban was just unbelievable,” Walsh said. “He completely shut them down by hitting his spots and keeping the ball down for the most part. He was simply outstanding.”

In spite of Cobban’s heroics on the mound, the Eagles were clinging to life support, down by a run with two out and no one on in the seventh inning. But good teams always seem to find way to come through and BC High (6-1) did just that.

Chelmsford pitcher Andrew Knightly, getting his first start of the year on the hill, was equally impressive. The senior limited the Eagles to a solo run on just two hits through his first six innings of work.

But in the seventh things changed dramatically. BC High senior Tommy Landry led off the frame by singling to left. Walsh had Nick Valicenti pinch-run for Landry. Valicenti advanced to second on a ground out and, following a botched pickoff attempt, took off for third. Lions centerfielder Tommy Bishop made a perfect throw to third baseman Conor Barry, who appeared to apply the tag on Valicenti just before the junior reached base. However, umpires called Valicenti safe.

Still in control, Knightly induced Sean Webster to pop out on the infield for the second out. Hoping for a miracle, Walsh opted to send out junior Andrew Jaehnig from the bench to pinch hit. The strategy worked to perfection as Jaehnig drove a Knightly outside fastball to right for a single to score Valicenti and even things at 2-2.

Knightly recorded the next out to avoid any further damage. But after Chelmsford failed to score in the bottom of the frame, Knightly, showing signs of fatigue, came out for the eighth and promptly issued a walk to No. 9 batter Nick Petchell. Lions head coach Mike O’Keefe made the decision to bring relief pitcher Joe St. Hilaire in.

“Andrew pitched a fabulous game for us today,” said O’Keefe, his team dropping to 5-3. “He’s a true pitcher who uses all of his pitches and changes speeds. He’s not an overly intimidating presence on the mound but once you get up to the plate you realize how quick he is. He never beats himself. Every time he pitches he gives you a battle. After today he deserves to get some more starts for us. I’m very proud of the performance he gave us.”

After Petchell was thrown out at second on a steal attempt, Hilaire surrendered a double to Dan Dougherty. But the senior managed to escape further trouble by and got out of the inning unscathed.

In the top of the ninth, however, he wasn’t as fortunate. Hilaire set down the Eagles’ first two batters with ease before Jaehnig singled to keep the inning alive. Luke Catarius followed with a long double to left plating Jaehnig and give the Eagles a 3-2 advantage. Billy Mitchell, pinch-running for Catarius, would later came around to score on Dougherty’s ground single to right.

“After our loss to St. John’s Prep on Wednesday it took us a while to get our act in gear," said Walsh. “Their pitcher did a very nice job keeping us off-balanced. It was getting somewhat frustrating but we were able to hang in there. Besides Cobban, Jaehnig was also unbelievable today. His hit ties it for us and later on he scores the winning run."

In the bottom of the inning, Cobban allowed a lead off walk before punching out the next three Lions batters to earn the victory.

Ryan Tufts put BC High ahead 1-0 in the first after stroking a Knightly fastball over the left field wall. But Chelmsford knotted things in the bottom of the inning courtesy of an opposite field RBI single from Mike Rosa. The Lions would take the lead in the third. Mike DeDonato tripled and scored moments later after Eagles left fielder Mike Roberts failed to corral Russell Olive’s hard liner.

“Give BC High credit,” O’Keefe said. “They’re a very good team and very well-coached. We hung with them to the end but it just didn’t work our way today. BC High will be in contention throughout the year but I truly believe we proved that we can play with them.”

Recap: A-B 4, No. 12 Chelmsford 2

May, 25, 2012
LOWELL, Mass. -– The Acton-Boxborough Colonials rode the left arm and bat of senior Ryan McDonald on Thursday night as they defeated Chelmsford 4-2 in the Mickey Sullivan Baseball Classic at the Lowell Spinners' Lalacheur Park.

McDonald tossed 6.1 innings of one run baseball before giving way to reliever Ethan Dukes, who battled a spirited seventh inning Chelmsford (13-7) comeback for the save.

“Ryan (McDonald) is a bulldog for us,” said A-B head coach Patrick Grucela. “His pitch count was a little high but he just works hard, throws in the mid 80’s and he also trusts his catcher and the game we are trying to call.”

McDonald struck out eight and walked five while surrendering only four hits and two runs on the evening.

“It killed me not to finish it as that is what I strive to do,” said McDonald. “I feel proud that we finished it off as a team and it boosts our confidence.”

Chelmsford’s Mike Rosa had the games only extra base hit in the fourth inning as the junior outfielder laced a double over the head of leaping center fielder Thulani Denaro. Rosa would later score the Lions’ first run of the game on an RBI single by junior third baseman Conor Barry.

Chelmsford lefthander Russell Olive relieved sophomore classmate Quinn Cooney in the third inning and went the rest of the way for the Lions on the mound.

More from McDonald: McDonald not excelled on the mound but he also provided three solid singles and helped his own cause in the third inning when he drove in Billy Jackman with a rip to left center for the game’s first run.

“I was looking for my pitch to hit and Coach (Grucela) always provides us with a good scouting report on all the pitchers we face,” said McDonald. “I just took that into the game today and it worked out.”

McDonald’s 3-for-4 performance at the plate led the A-B hitting attack that also featured two hits each from John Mielke and Andrew Sweet. The Colonials had 10 hits in the game.

Squeeze Play: A-B executed a perfect suicide squeeze in the fifth inning as Mielke laid the bunt down and Joe Euele timed it perfectly and scored. The run gave the Colonials a 4-1 lead at the time.

“We should have actually squeezed in the second,” noted Grucela. “The same situation came up again in the fifth and I learned from my mistake. That was a big play. We got the bunt down, we did not break too early and it was great execution on the kid’s part.”

Late Inning Rally: Chelmsford second baseman David DeDonato scored on a Dukes wild pitch after reaching on a single to lead off the seventh inning.

The Lions got the potential game tying run on second base but Dukes would battle out of a bases loaded situation and get Barry to fly out to center to end the game.

“I was proud of the way we came out but I was more proud of the way we finished,” said Grucela. “We have been preaching all season to be mentally tough when those moments come up and I think we did a great job of that today.”

D1 Tournament Bound: Both teams will be headed back to the MIAA Division 1 state tournament next week. A-B concluded their regular season with today’s win and finish with a 14-6 overall record.

“That is why we play those teams like Lowell twice, BC High, and Chelmsford,” Grucela said. “Those teams really prepare you for the tournament which we were fortunate enough to make this year.”

Chelmsford concludes their season this weekend as they travel to Wilmington to take part in the Dick Scanlon tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Participating teams include Salem, Wayland and host Wilmington. Chelmsford faces off against Salem at 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the Championship and Consolation games taking place on Sunday.