Boston High School: Nick Ahearn

D1 Baseball: Xaverian 9, Walpole 3

June, 6, 2012
Nick AhearnBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comOnce he calmed down, Xaverian's Nick Ahearn was efficient on the mound, throwing 109 pitches in eight innings and scattering five hits.
WALPOLE, Mass. -- The Xaverian Hawks entered the MIAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed in Division 1 South at 12-8, but understandably mushrooming with confidence, having entered the tournament with 10 losses each of the last two seasons only to advance to a state final one year and district final the next.

And so, in a sport once famously conjectured as "90 percent half-mental", perhaps Yogi Berra's wisdom is the best explanation for why Hawks starter Nick Ahearn took a quick side bullpen session following the top of the first inning, after retiring the first three batters in a row. Perhaps he, like his teammates, was so fired up that he was overthrowing it across the plate.

Whatever the case, the senior righthander worked out whatever kinks he had. He surrendered three runs in the fifth, but by then his batsmen had already spotted him a nine-run lead, and he retired the last 10 batters he faced as the Hawks went on to win 9-3 over No. 2 seed Walpole, before a lively capacity crowd behind Walpole's Johnson Middle School.

Xaverian -- which sat at 5-7 on May 6 -- improves to 13-8, and travels to Silver Lake tomorrow afternoon for a D1 South Quarterfinal. Walpole ended its season at 18-3.

"[After the side session] I kinda found my fastball," Ahearn said. "It helped my off-speed a lot too. And then the score, it's always nice pitching with a cushion like that. You can go right at the hitters."

Ahearn is not one to rack up an impressive number of strikeouts, or blow by the meat of an order with high-velocity heat. But he's been one of several reliable arms for the Hawks over the last month of ball. Today, he threw 109 pitches in eight innings, scattering five hits and striking out two while allowing three earned runs.

"I was just trying to find my release on the fastball," he said. "I was kinda coming around on it, spiking it down to the left side of the batter's box, kinda scraping the ball. The heartbeat's going a little bit, you know?"

Elsewhere -- i.e., in the batter's box -- that overconfidence was welcomed. The Hawks were aggressive without being overly aggressive, taking cuts at first-pitch strikes but never losing control of the at bat.

Up 1-0 to start the inning, Tyler Campo plated the first run of the fourth by drawing a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded. Chris Hoyt made it 4-0 on the next at bat when he blasted a 1-2 looping curve into centerfield. Ahearn added to the mix with a line drive to right for a 5-0 advantage.

Three at bats later, Fairfield-bound outfielder Tim Duggan ripped a two-run single. He was immediately followed by Mike LaVita, who cleared the bases with a stand-up double for a 9-0 lead.

"To get all those runs, and to get that win is a huge momentum swing," said Hoyt. "We've come in that last two seasons as a low seed and taken out a top seed. It's just great any time you can get that."

Playing to protect -- and serve: Most impressive about the Hawks' six-hit, eight-run fourth inning is that all of the runs came with two outs.

"We talk about the same thing all the time -- two outs, you just want to put the ball in play," head coach Gerry Lambert said. "You don't want to take a third strike to end the inning. You want to put the ball in play to make a play."

Referring to a hit during the inning that took a wild bounce in front of Walpole shortstop Johnny Adams -- likely a routine putout for the Boston College commit in less soggier conditions -- Lambert continued, "That's a tough play [anyways], but he's one of the few guys that can make that play. It was wicked, it almost ricocheted over his head, but we catch a break there.

"Mike LaVita might have been the only guy in that string who didn't have a two-strike hit. And two-out, two-strike hits are huge. They make the difference in so many baseball games, [and] they certainly made the difference today."

Here they come -- again: Stop if you've heard this before: the Hawks are ready to make another deep run in Division 1 South and beyond, with a fresh stable of arms to go to -- and, for the first time all year, completely healthy, with Austin DeCarr looking like he may finally be over the shoulder issues that have sidelined the flamethrowing junior for most of the spring.

OK, now raise your hand if you thought you'd be waking up on June 6 and there would be just one Catholic Conference school left in the MIAA baseball tournament -- and that one team was the Hawks, not BC High or St. John's Prep.

The tournament took a turn for the astutely wild on Tuesday afternoon, with a chunk of the state's heavy hitters in Division 1 taking hits across the state. First, BC High succumbed to a terrific outing by Framingham ace Johnnie Lacy and fell 3-2 to the Flyers. Next up was St. John's Prep, which faltered 7-4 to Newton North.

North and Framingham entered the tournament a combined 21-17 and the middle of the pack in the wood-bat, nine-inning Bay State Conference. Outside of I-495, D1 contenders Milford (10-4, to St. Peter-Marian) and Springfield Cathedral (6-2, to Springfield Central) were upset by teams with a combined 18 regular-season losses.

What does it all mean for Xaverian? It means the runway is a little bit cleaner, but by no means any safer. Still, it's hard to look past recent history. The Hawks are certainly confident.

"It seems like we always do this," Hoyt said. "We always scuffle to get into the tournament, and we're 10-10, or 11-9, or 12-8, and then we just kind of save all our energy for the tournament. We play great defense, throw strikes and hit well."

Bay State Games: Day 2 Recap

July, 6, 2011
Courtesy Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

Bentley University – Waltham, MA

Northeast 8, Metro 5

Northeast opened the first inning with four quick runs and hung onto their early lead, going on to defeat Metro by an 8-5 margin.

Metro scored once in the first inning, followed by scoreless second and third innings for both squads. Northeast answered in the fourth inning, with a double by sophomore second baseman Riley Warnock (North Reading, North Reading HS), who stole third base as well. Junior catcher Brendon Canavan (Carlisle, Concord Carlisle) and junior shortstop Jenssy Troncoso (Salem, Salem HS) both crossed the plate, increasing the lead to 6-1.

Metro kept working to battle back in the fourth inning with another sole unearned run scored by junior second baseman Adam Lucey (Malden, Malden HS).

The squads traded two runs each in the fifth inning. Northeast earned its runs on a series of three singles by junior Hector Perez (Lawrence, Lawrence HS), junior first baseman Sean Glabicky (Peabody, Malden Catholic), and junior catcher Brendon Canavan (Carlisle, Concord Carlisle). Metro answered with a single by sophomore catcher Jake Porrazzo (Medford, Malden Catholic) and an unearned run by junior catcher Connor Murray (Lexington, Lexington HS).

Metro held Northeast scoreless through the sixth. Metro’s junior first baseman Robert Wesoloski (Arlington, Arlington Catholic) singled up the middle during the bottom of the sixth, going on to earn Metro’s fourth run of the game. However, it wasn’t enough to overtake Northeast’s commanding lead.

Northeast pitcher, sophomore Scott Tully (Reading, Reading HS), picked up the win, allowing four runs in as many innings, and striking out four batters. He was buoyed by closer junior Ben Panunzio (Middleton, Masconomet Reg. HS), who allowed one run and struck out one in the final two innings.

Southeast 7, Central 6

Junior second baseman Chuckie Connors (Hingham, Boston College HS) went 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored and helped ignite a comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning that lifted Southeast over Central, 7-6.

Southeast scored four runs in the first two innings to take control of the game, 4-0. In the first, batting in the leadoff spot, Connors walked and then came around to score on a double by junior first baseman Phil Sciretta (Duxbury, Nobles and Greenough). With two outs, sophomore leftfielder Cameron Hanley (Walpole, Walpole HS) singled up the middle to drive in Sciretta and junior designated hitter Will Cousins (Medfield, Medfield HS) followed with a base hit to score Hanley. Southeast tacked on an unearned run in the second.

Central took a big bite out of the deficit in the fourth with three runs. After a pair of walks, junior designated hitter Andrew Montiverdi (Worcester, Worcester Tech HS) singled to right center to push home junior catcher Daniel Whigham (Barre, Quabbin Reg HS). With two outs, junior right fielder Thomas Paine (Upton, Nipmuc Reg HS) singled to right to drive in Montiverdi and junior third baseman Sam Ashline (Clinton, Nashoba Reg HS).

Southeast added a buffer with a run in the fifth to make it 5-3. Junior designated hitter Sean Greene (Hingham, Hingham HS) tripled to left center to drive in junior leftfielder Jake Petruzzelli (Abington, South Shore Voc Tech HS).

Despite trailing the entire game, Central battled back to snatch the lead, 6-5, in the sixth inning. After a double by junior designated hitter Matt Leahey (Rutland, Wachusett Reg HS) put runners on second and third, sophomore first baseman Zackary Tower (Auburn, Auburn HS) doubled to right center to knock in both runners. A costly error with two outs allowed Tower to come around to put Central on top.

Southeast recaptured the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. Junior centerfielder Nick Ahearn (Norfolk, Xaverian Bros HS) earned a walk to start the inning and came home on a triple by Connors to tie the game. However, Connors got cut down at home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Adams later in the frame. After advancing on the play, Adams scored the winning run on a single to right by Sciretta, who was 2-for-4.

Junior pitcher Connor Farrell (Hopkinton, Hopkinton HS) earned the save after he was able to escape the seventh inning unscathed despite surrendering a leadoff walk.

West 10, Coastal 3

Junior centerfielder John Kinne (Great Barrington, Monument Mountain) went 2-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored to pace the West’s offense on the way to a decisive 10-3 victory.

Coastal’s sophomore centerfielder Dan Doughtery (Pembroke, Boston College HS) tallied the first run off a ground out from sophomore first baseman Zachary Perry (Rochester, Tabor Academy). Junior shortstop Jake Salpietro (Berkley, Somerset HS) scored an unearned run after, which would prove to be Coastal’s last run until the seventh inning.

West took command of the game in the second inning when its offense was ignited by a two-run triple from Kinne. West scored four runs on four hits in the frame.

West maintained control of the game’s momentum into the third and fourth innings, scoring another six runs. Junior centerfielder John Kinne (Great Barrington, Monument Mountain) contributed to the team’s offense once again, with a three-run double to left field. Junior rightfielder Anthony Nomakeo (Westfield, Westfield HS) contributed as well, driving home Kinne.

West stretched their lead by another two runs in the fourth inning after junior first baseman Brenden Geary (South Hadley, Tabor) and junior shortstop Frank Crinella (East Longmeadow, Cathedral HS) both scored on Coastal errors.

Coastal’s offensive was quelled by a stellar performance by West junior pitcher Steve Moyers (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS). He pitched the first five innings, facing 18 batters and allowing only two runs. His reliever, junior Joelfi Arias (Springfield, Central HS), finished off Coastal, allowing only one run in two innings of work.

Southeast 12, Metro 8

Southeast had five batters with multiple-hit efforts led by Walpole High School sophomores Johnny Adams (Walpole, Walpole HS), who went 4-for-5 with four runs scored, and leftfielder Cameron Hanley (Walpole, Walpole HS), who was 2-for-4 with a walk, three RBI and two runs, in a 12-8 victory over Metro.

Junior first baseman Sean Greene (Hingham, Hingham HS), junior catcher Will Cousins (Medfield, Medfield HS) and sophomore designated hitter Mark Poli (Medfield, Nobles and Greenough) each reached base three times with two hits and a walk for Southeast.

Southeast jumped out to an 11-0 advantage before Metro was able to claw back and make it interesting with two runs in the fifth and six in the bottom of the seventh.

Sophomore Andrew Dawson (Medway, Medway HS) earned the win on the hill for Southeast, going three shutout innings while allowing just one hit and fanning three.

Bay State Games: Day 1 Baseball Recap

July, 5, 2011
The Bay State Games are finally here, and we've got today's baseball scores.

Courtesy Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

Bentley University - Waltham, MA

Southeast 10, Northeast 1
Southeast scored nine runs in the third inning and never looked back to knock off Northeast, 10-1, in the 2011 Bay State Summer Games baseball tournament opener. Nine consecutive Southeast batters reached and scored in the third, highlighted by junior first baseman Phil Sciretta's (Duxbury, Noble and Greenough School) bases-loaded double to right-center field that brought home all three runners. Sophomore left fielder Cameron Hanley (Walpole, Walpole HS) and junior pitcher Nick Ahearn (Norfolk, Xaverian Bros HS) also doubled in the frame to knock in a pair of RBI. It was Ahearn's second double of the inning as he finished as the only batter to record multiple hits in the contest. The squads traded runs in the sixth inning as Northeast avoided the shutout. For Southeast, junior right fielder Jake Petruzzelli (Abington, South Shore Voc Tech) knocked in junior pitcher Ben Amate (Hanover, Hanover HS) with a single. Northeast followed up in the bottom of the frame, as junior designated hitter Sean Glabicky (Peabody, Malden Catholic) crossed the plate on a double by junior first baseman Peter Franchi (Lynnfield, Lynnfield HS). Ahearn also earned the win on the mound as he started and went the first two innings. He faced the minimum number of batters over his perfect two frames while fanning one. Junior Zack Hellested (Braintree, Braintree HS) handled the next two innings and allowed two runners to reach on a hit and walk. Junior pitcher Kurtis White (Nahant, St. Mary's) was strong in five innings of relief for Northeast, allowing two earned runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts.

Central 6, Coastal 1
Central stole six bases and got hits from eight different batters on the way to a 6-1 victory over Coastal. After two scoreless frames, Central struck for three runs in the third. With one out, junior right fielder James Smith (Worcester, St. John's HS) singled to left field and stole second. Sophomore second baseman Zachary Twitchell (Shrewsbury, Saint Mark's) then reached on an error that pushed Smith home. After a single by junior left fielder Timothy Beaudette (Uxbridge, Uxbridge HS), junior centerfielder Chris Casey (Milford, Milford HS) doubled to left field to knock in both runners which gave Central a 3-0 advantage. Central added a quick run in the fourth when junior designated hitter Tyler Geffert (Hopedale, Mt. St. Charles Academy) led off with a triple to left center and then came across on a ground out by the next batter, junior catcher Andrew Montiverdi (Worcester, Worcester Tech HS). In the fifth inning, Central tacked on a pair of runs to extend the lead, 6-0.Junior left fielder Scott Hubener (Mendon, Nipmuc Reg. HS) singled to center field, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Junior centerfielder Matt Lavin (Worcester, Burncoat HS) singled to left field to drive in Hubener. Lavin then stole second and scored on a double to right by junior third baseman Sam Ashline (Clinton, Nashoba Reg. HS). Coastal salvaged a run in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore centerfielder Dan Dougherty (Pembroke, Boston College HS) tripled to left center and then scored on an error off the bat of junior right fielder Keaghan Austin (Lakeville, Coyle and Cassidy HS). On the mound, juniors Steven Flynn (Worcester, St. Peter - Marian) and Ronny Sampson (Jefferson, West Boylston HS) each pitched a pair of scoreless innings for Central, allowing just one hit apiece while Sampson struck out three. Junior Eric Proulx (Brookfield, Tantasqua Reg. HS) tossed the final three innings and gave up one run while striking out five.

Metro 9, West 6
Metro battled back from two early deficits with the help of a five-run fourth inning to shock the two-time defending champion, West, in a 9-6 victory that was called after the fifth inning due to the two-hour time limit West jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first. Junior centerfielder Adam Gutierrez (Central HS, Springfield) walked and junior second baseman Chad Adams (Ware, Williston) singled through the right side to put two on for junior left fielder Steve Moyers (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS) who blasted a three-run homer to left field. Junior first baseman Kyle Platner (Greenfield, Pioneer Valley Reg HS) doubled to left field, junior third baseman Gregory Heineman (Wilbraham, Minnechaug HS) walked to put two runners on again with no outs. Junior designated hitter Nicholas Greenleaf (Pittsfield, Monument Mountain HS) then reached on an error that also allowed Platner to score. However, the bases were left loaded which proved costly down the road. Metro cut into the lead in the top of the next inning with three runs to make it 4-3. Junior left fielder Bartley Regan (Boston, Boston College HS) singled through the right side and then sophomore designated hitter Jake Porrazzo (Medford, Malden Catholic HS) doubled to center field. Junior short stop Connor Murray (Lexington, Lexington HS) singled up the middle to drive in Regan. Porrazzo then scored on a passed ball. With Connor Murray on second, junior first baseman Daniel Fitzgerald (Arlington, Arlington HS) walked and junior second baseman Eric Dumas (Chestnut Hill, Brookline HS) singled to load the bases. Nick Murray's sacrifice fly to left scored his brother, junior catcher Connor Murray (Lexington, Lexington HS), with the third run. West extended the lead to three runs, 6-3, in the third inning. Junior catcher Todd Kosel (Wilbraham, Minnechaug HS) singled to right field, stole second and came around to score on a double by junior shortstop Frank Crinella (East Longmeadow, Cathedral HS). With two outs, Crinella scooted home on an error committed off the bat of Adams. Metro struck back for five runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good, 8-6. With one out, Nick Murray walked and then junior centerfielder Matt Pugh (Watertown, BB&N) reached on an error. Junior third baseman Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Boston College HS) doubled to right center to drive in Nick Murray. Regan then singled through the left side to plate Silvestro and Pugh. After reaching on a fielder's choice, Porrazzo came around from first on a triple by Connor Murray. Junior right fielder Ken Runge (Saugus, Malden Catholic) singled in Connor Murray to score the fifth run of the frame. Porrazzo walked with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to push home Nick Murray and make the score 9-6. The pitching was less than stellar for both teams with Metro's junior James Mulry (West Roxbury, Boston Latin) being the only hurler to escape without allowing a run. He went two innings and allowed three batters to reach while striking out three.

Northeast 11, Coastal 5
Northeast smashed 15 hits led by junior third baseman Ben Panunzio (Middleton, Masconomet Reg. HS) who went 3-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored on the way to an 11-5 win over Coastal in the final game of the tournament's opening day. Northeast plated three runs in the opening frame to jump out to an early 3-0 advantage. Junior outfielders Derek Reed (Lowell, Lowell HS) and Robert Losanno (Peabody, Peabody Vet Mem HS) each singled to center field to start the inning. Junior right fielder Peter Franchi (Lynnfield, Lynnfield HS) drove in both with a double to left center and then scored on a ground out by junior first baseman Sean Glabicky (Peabody, Malden Catholic). The lead swelled to 9-0 as Northeast plated six runners in its half of the fourth inning. The frame started poorly for Coastal as junior centerfielder Genaro Ciulla (Peabody, Peabody HS) reached on an error. Junior designated hitter Kurtis White (Nahant, St. Mary's HS) and Panunzio each followed up singles. Panunzio's base hit pushed home Cuilla. After a walk to junior catcher Teghan Malionek (Salem, Salem HS) loaded the bases, Reed knocked in a pair of runs with a single. Junior shortstop Richard Fecteau (Newbury, Triton HS) followed with a sacrifice fly that was deep enough to score Malionek from third and allowed Reed to tag up and move to third. The advancement would come up big as he scored after Franchi walked and Northeast pulled off a pretty double steal. Junior first baseman Thomas Palleschi's (Haverhill, Phillips Academy) single plated Franchi to cap the scoring. Coastal broke the Northeast shutout with a run in the fourth inning. After two quick outs, junior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Dighton/Rehoboth), third baseman Evan Mondor (Rehoboth, Dighton-Rehoboth) and right fielder Keaghan Austin (Lakeville, Coyle and Cassidy HS) singled in succession. Rocha scored on Austin's base hit to right center to put Coastal on the board. Northeast added two runs in the fifth inning to open the lead to 11-1 before Coastal came back to post four runs over the final two frames to make the score a more respectable 11-5. Junior Robert DiFranco (Melrose, St. John's Prep) earned the victory on the hill for Northeast as he went the first five innings and allowed just one run on four hits while striking out two. Coastal's sophomore hurler Danny Holzman (Martsons Mills, Barnstable HS) tossed 3.1 innings in relief and scattered seven hits while allowing just one earned run.

Disciplined Franklin takes D1 South by surprise

June, 15, 2011

BRAINTREE, Mass. -- The scouting report on talented Xaverian sophomore Austin DeCarr, clocked as fast as 91 miles per hour this spring, demands detail. So with the 6-foot-2 fireball of a reliever coming on in the seventh to preserve a lead in this Division 1 South final at Braintree High, and confusing the Franklin bats with his curve, head coach Dave Niro told his Panthers to sit and challenge the singular pitch that has begun the prose from scouts.

With a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, Sam Skidmore heeded the advice. With one out and no runners on in the bottom of the ninth, he sat until the sixth pitch, where he got his desired look -- a high, 3-2 two-seam fastball clocked at 87 miles per hour -- and cranked one of those shots that looked destined for the trees behind the left-centerfield fence as soon as it left the bat.

The Franklin dugout immediately emptied into a frenzy, Skidmore was mobbed and then pig-piled as he crossed home plate, and this most unheralded -- not to mention surprising -- run lives another day. The Panthers (16-8) left with a 6-5 win over the Hawks (15-10) to take the Division 1 South title and advance to Wednesday night's state semifinal against North champion Lincoln-Sudbury.

"These guys never give up," Niro said, as chants of "Skid the Kid!" echoed in the background. "When we first put this team together, we were saying, you know, 'I don't even think we're going to win 10 games this year'. But these guys never quit. They started out 2-3, but man, we won some games and put some things together."

Few, if any, could have seen this coming. The Panthers came into the tournament a No. 9 seed at 12-8, but having lost four of six (including a 5-2 decision to tomorrow night's opponent). And at that, they were considered maybe the fourth or fifth best team in their own league, behind fellow D1 South contenders North Attleborough and Mansfield, and D2 state title favorite Oliver Ames -- all three of which, by the way, making first-round exits this postseason.

Even less, perhaps, can pinpoint the "when" on this sudden jolt. But the consensus is clear on the "what" -- plate discipline.

The same team that plated 15 runs in the first three innings of June 8th's semifinal win over BC High was the same team that struggled to connect for three or four hits just a month earlier. This afternoon, the Panthers got nine hits off the Xaverian staff, and drew an additional six walks.

"Every day at practice, we work on situational hitting," Niro said. "That's what we did, we did a lot of hitting with these guys, and they never quit. They want to practice every day, they don't want to stop, just come in every day and hit, get a great run."

Said Franklin hitting coach Steve Lerner, "They're doing the things we've been trying to tell them lately. They've been keeping their shoulder in, they're going the opposite way if it's outside. They're just on a roll. It's awesome. It's fun."

Against the Hawks' defense, the Panthers were aggressive on the base paths, making the most of their appereances, highlighted by Reed Turgeon. The junior went 3 for 3 -- all for singles, and each time following up by stealing second base. The rally was also aided by Jon Skaza's two-run single in the fifth, followed by a walk dawn by Tim Garvey in the seventh that scored Tyler Buck to make it 5-5.

But at the crux of it all today was Skidmore, the No. 5 hitter, who was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts (both looking) before pelting out the 370-foot shot that won't be forgotten around Oak Street for quite some time.

"The second I hit it, I knew it was gone. It's a great feeling," Skidmore said of his shot. "It was unbelievable. Best feeling I've ever had."

This spring season of baseball has been the year of the unusual, and perhaps there was no better statement on the hill for Franklin than junior Bobby Chaiton. The 5-foot-10 righty worked the Xaverian bats with his sharp curve and unorthodox, Okajima-like delivery, a three-quarter arm slot that sometimes left him looking straight down at the ground when released.

In seven innings of work, he allowed five hits and four runs over seven innings, while his Xaverian counterpart Nick Ahearn allowed four runs and seven hits before giving way to DeCarr in the seventh. Senior Kevin Garry came on to relieve Chaiton in the eighth, just his fourth appearance of the season, and didn't allow a runner past second base.

"Against Walpole (in the quarterfinals), he did a heck of a job," Niro said of Garry. "We brought him in today, and he did another outstanding job for us. He's a great kid, and I'm so happy for him."

Xaverian head coach Gerry Lambert commended the Panther bats for the way they battled.

"Sometimes they put a swing on one. I mean, they're a good team, too," he said. "And they're on a roll right now, they've won a lot of games in a row. They had a couple of big hits with two outs early in the game, that kept this game close, and then the swat there at the end."


What's a championship celebration without a water dunk? We managed to catch Niro in the middle of the act, as his team ambushed him with a ceremonial water jug.

Here he is, pre-dunk:

And, post-dunk: