Boston High School: Nick Radcliffe

DePippo hurls Apponequet to first sectional title

June, 15, 2011
QUINCY, Mass. -- Top-seeded Middleborough entered Tuesday’s Division 3-South championship game against No. 6 Apponequet having scored a “grand” total of eight runs in its previous three tournament games.

That total remained at eight after Lakers lefty Dan DePippo tossed a masterpiece, blanking the Sachems, 1-0, on three hits for the first baseball sectional title in school history.

How effective was DePippo?

Check this out:
  • He allowed only three hits, each of which was a single.
  • He issued zero walks and struck out seven.
  • He threw 70 of 106 pitches for strikes which computed to 66 percent.
  • One hit was of the infield variety, by Luke Zulak.
  • He faced only three batters over the minimum, with one Sachem reaching on an error.

Other than that …

“His control was a big factor,” Apponequet coach Bob Lomp said. “He’s very economical. When you’re a strikeout pitcher, you’re going to throw a lot of pitches. To be economical and get a lot of strikes like he did today … well, that was a gutsy performance especially on three days’ rest.”

Middleboro lefty Nick Radcliffe also delivered a commendable performance. In fact, he was working on a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings before Josh Cabucio singled in the fifth.

“Nick pitched a great ballgame,” coach Bill Lawrence said. “They just put a couple of hits together and we didn’t.

“If you don’t score runs, you’re not going to win any games.”

Apponequet (16-4) finally hung a run on the Adams Field board in the sixth. But only after Middleborough (20-4) flashed some serious leather.

Shortstop Zulak ranged far to his right, speared a shot by Matt Schell and threw to first for the out.

Then, Nick Cogliano hit a sinking liner to center only to have Chris Benson make a spectacular, diving catch.

But Chris Travers and DiPippo followed with singles and Nate Michael launched a 1-and-2 pitch to center for an RBI double.

“Nate’s been clutch for us all year in that five-spot,” Lomp said. “Nate didn’t look pretty on those two swings and misses. But that’s classic Nate. He’ll swing at everything and then he hammers one.

“The ball wasn’t traveling today so even when it was in the air I thought their center fielder was going to have a chance. But it was deep enough to get the run in. With a pitching performance like that from both sides, one run is going to do it.”

Given DePippo’s performance, Lomp was right on target.

“He’s a big kid and he’s very strong,” Lomp said. “He runs a lot between starts. We had him on pitch counts so tight early in April and May to get him to this point. We would take him out mid-inning sometimes in a game where he was ahead just because we wanted to build him up for the tournament run.

“That was the goal all year … to have Danny healthy for the tournament. He really came up big in the last two innings.”

How big?

This big: DePippo struck out five Sachems overs those last two frames, which enabled him to up his season record to 8-1 and his two-year career mark to 16-2.

Despite all the Sachems accomplished this season, the loss was particularly hard for Lawrence to swallow.

“We had a good season,” he said. “I’m not going to dwell on anything negative. The worst thing about this is this is probably one of my favorite teams and I don’t want to let go of them. They’re just good kids.

“[Apponequet] outplayed us today. That was the bottom line. It was a well-played game on both sides. This time of year you expect good teams to play well.”

Middleborough baseball clinches Patriot Fisher

May, 26, 2011

SCITUATE, Mass. -- Scituate's Casey Burns turned in his best pitching performance of the season, according to his head coach Kevin Greer. It’s just too bad he had to deal with Middleborough’s Nick Radcliffe.

Radcliffe proved to be a thorn in the side of Burns and Scituate (15-5) as he went 3-for-4 with three extra base hits, including a game separating two-run homer in the top of the fifth to help the Sachems (17-3) take home a 4-1 win and the Patriot League Fisher Division title.

“It’s a big win,” Radcliffe said. “We lost to them last time out so we had to have it.”

Radcliffe struck out looking in the first inning as Burns made him look bad with a 3-2 breaking ball for a called strike three. But in the final three at-bats, Radcliffe made sure he wasn’t fooled again.

In the top of the fourth, Radcliffe reached out and poked a double over the right fielder’s head to grab his first hit of the game. In the next inning, Radcliffe hit the ball in the same location but got all of it and cleared the wall for a big two-run shot that gave the Sachems a commanding 4-0 lead.

“I got jammed on the first one, but the wind helped me out a lot,” Radcliffe said. “The second one was just right in the sweet spot.

“He was coming at me with some offspeed stuff,” he continued. “Late in the count I love the fastball, but he back-doored me with the curve and I struck out. I just jumped on it on the other ones.”

The muscle at the plate by Radcliffe proved to be plenty for Sachems’ ace Sean Newcomb. The towering lefty allowed two hits and struck out 13 in a complete-game effort. The only run he allowed was on a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh, and he worked around four walks to pitch the Sachems to the league title.

“He struggled in the first couple of innings because he was up (with his fastball),” Sachems’ head coach Bill Lawrence said. “As the game went on he warmed up basically. His spots were on.”

Newcomb punched out two batters in all of his innings except for the seventh, and he only allowed four men to reach second base. He seemed to get a little more life on his fastball after the helping homer from his teammate Radcliffe, as he retired six straight hitters, four by the strikeout, after the Sachems grabbed the four-run advantage.

“I got the adrenaline going, because I realized how close we were," Radcliffe said. "I just went out there and got it done.”

Burns pitched well in the loss as he struck out six and was charged with three earned runs in 6.2 innings. He had to leave the game in the top of the seventh after taking a liner off the back.

“That was his best game of the year,” said Greer. “He pitched well. He left one up and this is a park built for (Radcliffe).”