Boston High School: Pat Delano

ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Baseball Team

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
2:09
PM ET
STARTING ROTATION

All-StateRHP – Matt Tulley, Sr., Lowell
The Virginia Tech signee lived up to every ounce of his preseason hype, taking ESPN Boston’s 2012 Mr. Baseball Award earlier this week as the state’s top player. He earned his third consecutive Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year honor, going 7-1 with 90 strikeouts in 59 innings and one save, for a 1.46 earned run average. Opponents batted just .159 against Tulley on the season. At the plate, Tulley batted .306 for the Raiders, leading the team in RBI (20) and ranking second in runs scored (19). For his career, Tulley went 20-2 with a 1.57 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 140 innings.

All-StateRHP – Pat Ruotolo, Jr., Peabody
The 5-foot-10 craftsman caught national attention this year after throwing three no-hitters in a span of four starts, and finished the season as the state’s runner-up in strikeouts (130). In 76 innings of work, he went 8-1 with two saves, 31 hits allowed and 12 walks, for an ERA of 0.83, to earn Northeastern Conference MVP honors. He has 232 strikeouts since the start of his sophomore season, and over 300 for his career. Ruotolo is considering interest from a handful of Division 1 schools.

All-StateRHP – Alex Rozak, Sr., Plymouth North
The UMass-bound Rozak catapulted himself into discussion as one of the state’s best pitchers with his postseason play, winning three games as the Blue Eagles made their fourth Division 2 state final appearance in five seasons. He also carried a no-hitter into the final out in the Division 2 Eastern Mass final. For the season, Rozak was 8-3 with 61 strikeouts and 13 walks, with a 1.02 ERA. He won 24 games in his career at North, including a 9-1 campaign in the Eagles’ 2011 state championship season.

All-StateLHP – Steve Moyers, Sr., East Longmeadow
One of a handful of returning All-Staters, the University of Rhode Island signee is making his second appearance in the “Starting Rotation” after compiling a 7-2 record with 106 strikeouts. Over his last two seasons, he has gone 15-3 with 194 strikeouts, and he leaves East Longmeadow as one of the school’s winningest, compiling a 30-3 career record.

All-StateLHP – Ben Bowden, Jr., Lynn English
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw got off to a hot start, throwing a perfect game on April 7, and didn't cool off. On the mound he had six wins, with 82 strikeouts in 51.2 innings for a 2.19 ERA. At the plate, he played a key role in the Bulldogs' stunning upset of Peabody in the Division 1 North tournament; on the season, he batted .394 with 21 RBI, two home runs and nine extra-base hits, and also drew 17 walks.

STARTING NINE

All-StateCF – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The speedster joins exclusive company as one of several players to make All-State in two sports, having made the football squad last fall. This spring, he put up .455/.506/.682 totals at the plate, with 25 RBI, two home runs, 19 runs and 15 stolen bases. On the mound, he went 5-2 with 67 K’s in 50.2 innings, holding opponents to a .106 average as the Vikings captured their first Division 3 South title since 1993. DeAndrade is headed to the University of New Hampshire in the fall for football.

All-State2B – Chris Hoyt, Sr., Xaverian
Nobody elevated their stock in the playoffs more than the Stonehill College-bound Hoyt, who pounded out eight RBI in the MIAA tournament – including four in the Division 1 state final. Batting out of the leadoff spot this spring, Hoyt batted .411/.477/.526 totals, with 19 RBI, two home runs, stole 19 bases and only struck out three times in 107 plate appearances. He also posted a ridiculous OPS of 1.003.

All-StateC – Bobby Melley, Sr., BC High
A returning All-Stater, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Centerville resident was one of the state’s most dangerous power hitters, compiling .370/.557/.685 totals with 13 RBI, three home runs and drawing 22 walks. Behind the plate, only two runners attempted to steal on him, both of which were caught out. Melley will continue his career next year at UConn.

All-State1B – Chris Shaw, Sr., Lexington
A returning All-Stater, Shaw was one of three Bay Staters taken in this year’s MLB Draft, going to the New York Mets in the 26th round. This spring, he batted .480 with seven home runs and 27 RBI, and also went 5-0 on the mound with 95 strikeouts in 45 innings. Shaw will be honoring his commitment to Boston College rather than signing.

All-State3B – Frank Crinella, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
In addition to flawless defense, Crinella was a tough out at the plate, hitting .456 on 26 hits, with 27 RBI and four home runs to go along with it as the Panthers went 18-2 before a surprise upset in the Division 1 West quarterfinals. Crinella will continue his career next year at Merrimack College.

All-StateSS – Matt O’Neil, Sr., East Longmeadow
Coupled with Moyers, the returning All-Stater formed an imposing 1-2 punch on the mound for the Spartans, who suffered a surprise upset in the Division 1 West semifinals. O’Neil batted four home runs to go along with 21 RBI; on the mound, he was 4-3 with 70 strikeouts in 41.1 innings. O’Neil will continue his career next year UConn.

All-State1B – John Jennings, Sr., Newton South
The Dual County League’s Large Division MVP was a force at the plate for the Lions, batting .415 with five home runs and 31 RBI. On the mound, he was 4-1 with 31 K’s in 27.2 innings, for a 1.27 ERA. He will continue his career next year at UMass.

All-StateSS – Regan Aghdam, Sr., Burncoat
One of the state’s premier leadoff hitters, Aghdam was solid at the plate, leading the Inter-High league in batting average (.463). On the mound, he went 6-0 with 43 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. Aghdam will continue his career next year t the University of Rhode Island.

All-StateSS – Brandon Bingel, Jr., St. John’s Prep
The Catholic Conference’s co-MVP was a driving force for the Eagles, hitting .418 with 25 RBI and five home runs. On the mound, he was 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched. Bingel is currently committed to Bryant University.

BULLPEN

All-StateLHP – Scott Tully, Jr., Reading
Tully had a breakout junior season, going 8-2 with four saves with a 0.99 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 63.1 innings, tied for third-most K’s in the state. Tully also allowed just 27 hits this spring. He is currently committed to Notre Dame.
All-StateRHP – Pat Delano, Sr., Braintree
Nearly two years after Tommy John surgery, the 6-foot-7 fireballer found his way back to the top, going in the 35th round to the Boston Red Sox in the MLB Draft, and earning MVP honors in the Bay State Conference’s Carey Division. He posted a 1.21 ERA with four wins and 50 strikeouts in 57 innings, and added four home runs at the plate. He was also named a Region 1 All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Delano is currently committed to Vanderbilt, but has until the August 15 deadline to decide whether he’ll sign or not.

RHP – Charlie Butler, Sr., Nashoba
A returning All-Stater, Butler was once again dominant on the mound for the Chieftains, striking out 90 in 54 innings for a 0.91 ERA and 6-2 record. At the plate, he batted .365 with 14 RBI and two home runs. Butler will continue his career next year at the University of Maine.

All-StateRHP – Mike Walkowicz, Sr., Amherst
Another one of the state’s strikeout kings, Walkowicz went 5-4 on the mound as he rang up 112 batters in 65 innings of work for an average of nearly two K’s per inning. He will continue his career next year at Endicott College.
All-StateLHP – Tyler Buck, Sr., Franklin
One of the state’s most elusive lefties, Buck went 7-1 on the mound with 80 strikeouts and a 1.42 ERA for the Panthers, who were the No. 1 overall seed in Division 1 South. He also went .378 at the plate with 18 RBI and two home runs. Buck will play next year at St. Anselm College.

All-StateLHP – Mac Curran, Jr., Coyle-Cassidy
The hard-throwing 6-foot-4, 240-pound Lakeville resident was an intimidator for the Warriors, going 6-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 49 innings. He also batted .351 at the plate, and is 14-3 so far as a starter for Coyle. Curran is currently fielding a slew of Division 1 interest.

All-StateRHP – Brandon Shileikis, Jr., Dighton-Rehoboth
The workhorse logged 68 innings and struck out 74 while walking just 12, going 9-1 with three saves, an ERA of 1.75 and a WHIP of 0.96. At the plate, Shileikis had .427/.456/.524 totals with 28 RBI and 27 runs. Shileikis is currently fielding various Division 1 interest.

All-StateRHP – Keegan Dellacona, Sr., Barnstable
The 6-foot-3 Dellacona formed a dynamic 1-2 punch on the mound along with UConn-bound Willie Nastasi, as the Red Raiders won the Old Colony League outright. For the season, Dellacona struck out 67 in 49.1 innings, for a 4-0 record and 0.89 ERA. He also threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes, registered a 0.67 WHIP, and held opponents to just a .136 batting average. Dellacona is undecided on college plans.

All-StateLHP – Ryan McDonald, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
Another of the state’s most deceiving lefties, McDonald went 5-2 with 71 strikeouts in 46 innings, for a 1.98 ERA. He also led the Dual County League in batting average (.468) and plated 16 runs, including two homers. McDonald had previously signed with Bryant University, but is currently uncommitted.

All-StateRHP – Lee Albertson, Sr., Westfield
Albertson was the ace of a Bombers staff that won its third Division 1 West title in five years this spring. He went 6-2 on the mount with two saves, and struck out 58 batters in 54 innings. Albertson will be heading to Holyoke Community College next season.

UTILITY

All-State3B – Joelfi Arias, Sr., Springfield Central
The Eagles scored one of the biggest upsets of the MIAA tournament by knocking off Springfield Cathedral, and Arias played a big role. He had five home runs on the season to go with 24 RBI, and on the mount he had 65 strikeouts in 62 innings, logging a 5-2 record. Arias is headed to Juco power Indian Hills Community College, in Ottumwa, Iowa.

All-StateOF – Adam Benvie, Sr., Dighton-Rehoboth
One of several mashers on a lineup that batted nearly .400 as a team, Benvie posted .386/.538/.771 totals with 37 RBI and five home runs, scoring 27 runs and drawing 22 walks. Benvie will continue his career next year at UMass.
All-StateC – Joe Walsh, Sr., Taunton
The Old Colony League MVP led the Tigers on a surprise run to the Division 1 South final, where they lost to eventual state champ Xaverian. He batted .447 with 31 RBI, 23 runs scored and three home runs, for an on-base percentage of .562. He leaves Taunton a career .379 hitter with a .486 on-base percentage and 50 RBI. Walsh will play next year at Eckard College in St. Petersburg, Fla.

All-StateSS – Evan Mondor, Sr., Dighton-Rehoboth
One of several big bats that led the Falcons to the No. 1 seed in Division 2 South, Mondor posted .478/.617/.791 totals with 10 doubles, three home runs, and 20 RBI. Mondor also scored 35 runs and only struck out three times all year. He will continue his career next year at Bentley University.

All-StateSS – Brendan Skidmore, Sr., Franklin
Skidmore took home Hockomock MVP honors this season after batting .467 with five home runs and 21 RBI for the Panthers, who won the league outright as well as the No. 1 seed in Division 1 South. Skidmore will do a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy next season.

OF – Jarrod Casey, Sr., Milford
A returning All-Stater and the reigning Mid-Wach A MVP, Casey put in another dominant season for the Scarlet Hawks, batting .490 with 22 RBI. On the mound, he was 6-2 with 73 strikeouts in 47 innings, for a 0.91 ERA. Over the last two years, Casey has gone 14-3 on the mound.

All-StateSS – Sean O’Neill, Sr., Norwood
The senior played a significant impact on the Mustangs’ run to the Division 1 South quarterfinals, taking MVP of the Bay State Conference’s Herget Division in the process after batting .416 with 16 RBI and a home run in the wood-bat league. O’Neill will play next year at Merrimack College.

All-StateSS – Dan Cellucci, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Another returning All-Stater, Cellucci was consistent once again for the Warriors, batting .435 with 18 RBI and two home runs as the Warriors came up short in the Division 1 state title defense. Cellucci will continue his career next year at Bryant University.

All-State1B – Adam Mayhew, Sr., Westfield
His numbers probably don’t reflect his importance to the team (12 RBI; 3-0, 15 IP), but his defensive presence was without question as the Bombers won their third Division 1 West title in five years. Mayhew will continue his career next year at Westfield State University.

Photos of Adam Mayhew, Mike Walkowicz, Lee Albertson, Matt O'Neil and Joelfi Arias are courtesy of the Springfield Republican. Photos of Pat Ruotolo, Ben Bowden and Mac Curran are courtesy of the Area Code Games.

Delano 'speechless' on Sox selection

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
11:12
PM ET
Pat Delano recalled his first experience at Fenway Park as a six-year-old, sitting along the third base line as his beloved Red Sox took on the Yankees. And like everyone else around these parts, it became a way of life for the Braintree resident, now an 18-year-old righthanded pitcher for Braintree High.

But now, like only a few dozen other hometown kids have gotten the chance to, the burly 6-foot-7 fireballer has the option to experience that way of life first-hand. Delano was just coming home from his job doing landscaping and construction when he got the phone call from the Sox letting him know he'd been taken with their 35th round pick in the third and final day of the Major League Baseball Draft.

"I was speechless," Delano said. "I didn't know what was going on, but it's such a good feeling. I can't even really put it into words. You watch the Red Sox so much, and you go to so many games at Fenway, and to hear you get picked...I don't know how to explain it. It's surreal."

He is now the 12th high school player from Massachusetts since 1999 to get drafted by the Red Sox, joining John Gorman (Catholic Memorial, 2011), Dan Kemp (2009, Tantasqua), Mike Yastrzemski (2009, St. John's Prep), Jason Smith (2003, Bourne), Chris Farley (2001, Mahar), Antonio Gonzalez (2001, Framingham), Manny Delcarmen (2000, West Roxbury), and the famed 1999 foursome of Rick Asadoorian (Northbridge), Brad Baker (Pioneer), Jordan Remy (Weston) and current Sox reliever Rich Hill (Milton).

Delano was clocked in the low-90's on his fastball as a sophomore with the Wamps, before an arm injury in the Division 1 South playoffs sidetracked his career. He underwent Tommy John surgery from world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews that offseason.

Now, nearly two years out from the injury, Delano appears to have his velocity back. He routinely topped out in the 87-89 range in his last start last week, a D1 South first-round loss to Taunton. Braintree head coach Bill O'Connell said two weeks ago Delano topped out at 91.

After an OK start to the season, Delano hit his groove during the second half, capped with being named the MVP of the Bay State Conference's Carey Division. For 2012, he struck out 50 batters in 57 innings, with four wins and a 1.21 ERA, and also belted four home runs from the plate. Delano gave credit to his pitching coach, Jim Mann of the Marshfield-based Atlantic Baseball Club, for his turnaround.

"It's funny, me and my coach [Bill O'Connell] were talking about it the other day, my first two starts I wasn't really where I wanted to be," Delano said. "But after that third start against Mansfield, everything started to come together for me, fell into place with me.

"I think [my fastball] is back to where it was as a sophomore. It's definitely my best pitch. My changeup has been pretty solid, but my curve came back at the end of the season. I was spiking it into the ground the first five or six starts."

Delano now has until the August 15 deadline to decide whether he will honor his commitment to Vanderbilt or sign with the Red Sox. The new draft rules this year are a little confusing, but basically there is a penalty if a team pays a player drafted from Rounds 11-40 more than $100,000. Any amount over $100,000 will come out of the Red Sox pool to sign their picks in Rounds 1-10 (their pool for those 10 rounds is $6,884,800). But it does mean that kids drafted in the later rounds can get bonuses of more than $100,000, as long as the Red Sox have slot money left after they sign their picks in the first 10 rounds.

Asked what his decision will be, Delano said, "I'm not completely sure, I've just got to look things over and see what the best decision is." He added that he doesn't expect a decision to come right at the end, but sometime over the summer.

Wiseman likely to honor Vandy commitment

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
1:54
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Last Thursday, in the Red Sox’ annual pre-draft press conference with the Boston media, general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the local talent, and declared “We bet there’s a big leaguer this year out of New England, even if we don’t know for sure who it is.”

The MLB amateur draft kicks off tonight with the first round, followed by 39 more rounds over tomorrow and Wednesday, and there’s probably one overwhelming guess as to who that individual might be. But the reality is it’s anyone’s guess –- and, with the new rules enacted by the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, perhaps more so.

Most notable among the new rules is a tax penalty on teams that exceed the designated slot salary recommendation for the sum of their first 10 picks. Also, players taken after the 10th round cannot sign for more than $100,000 (including bonuses).

“I think the changes in the draft from an industry standpoint are generally intended to create more meritocracy, where the first player taken is the best player, and on down from there,” Cherington said. “And in that, you know, spread the talent out more. I think that’s part of the intent. The reality is, no matter what you do to create meritocracy in scouting, there’s always going to be, you know, one player taken, and then 20 picks later a player taken that’s better, no matter what the rules are.”

That makes for an interesting situation for Buckingham, Browne & Nichols outfield Rhett Wiseman, the most high-profile of the bunch, with projections as high as the late first round. The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and a Vanderbilt signee, has explosive speed both on foot and at the plate, and drew as many as 75 scouts to a game last March during the Knights’ spring training trip.

The Red Sox, Angels, and a slew of National League teams have shown significant interest in the Mansfield resident. But this morning, Wiseman confirmed to ESPNBoston.com that it is highly likely he will honor his commitment to Vanderbilt unless he is taken in the first 40 picks.

“I’m so excited about Vanderbilt, and I’m very fortunate with all the pro attention this spring," Wiseman said. "But what we’re looking for as a family I don’t think is there right now out of high school. Hopefully in three years the attention is still there and I can start my professional career after going to Vanderbilt.”

Asked about a potential asking price, Wiseman said that wasn’t the case.

“We took in a lot of questions about a possible asking price,” Wiseman said. “But for a Vanderbilt education, it’s tough to put a price on it, and a price on the college experience.”

Wiseman is close friends with Tyler Beede, the Lawrence Academy righthander and 2011 ESPN Boston Mr. Baseball who turned down $2.5 million from the Blue Jays at the signing deadline last August. And he was with Beede the night he got drafted last June, watching from the living room with nearly 100 others as the Jays made him their 21st overall selection.

But tonight, the Wiseman clan is keeping it low-key. Rhett will likely head to one of the Hockomock region's favorite pizza joints, Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton, and hole up for a bite with another close friend and draft hopeful -– Lawrence Academy lefty and Wake Forest commit Max Tishman.

“We had 26 pro teams in the house over the winter, hundreds of guys come in during the season, and if I had to do it all again I wouldn’t do it any other way, that’s for sure,” said Rhett’s father, Mike Wiseman. “It is an incredible decision for a 17-year-old kid to make when you think about it. He did a great job handling it the whole way, and I’ve been proud of him from start to finish.

“He had some great games this year when a lot of people were in there to watch him. It was great to see everyone, I enjoyed it. I loved talking to all the scouts, talking real baseball with baseball guys.”

Some other thoughts as we head into tonight’s first round:

The skinny on Rhett
Wiseman put together a solid season in the ISL to win Gatorade Player of the Year, batting .444 with eight home runs, 24 RBI and 26 runs scored. But just what part of the outfield he ultimately lands on is not universally agreed upon in the scouting fraternity.

Two American League scouts offered different takes on how he projects.

“I don’t know if he has the arm for right,” says one scout. “I think ideally he’ll end up in centerfield, because of his speed and it takes some pressure off the bat a little bit. He’ll need to improve on his defense. He’s not a finished product yet.”

Says another, “Everyone was interested in seeing what he’d come out and do in the spring, making changes to his swing in the offseason, and I’d say he’s pretty similar to the player he was last summer, but more advanced and with more years under his belt. His bat speed and running speed, there’s two really useful tools right now, it’s just a question of whether or not he can put it together against elite pitching.”

Gens on the rise?
Virginia Tech-bound righthander Matt Tulley garners the most attention for Lowell High, and is a potential late-rounder, but the most interesting prospect to rise on the local radar this spring might be one of his teammates.

Chad Gens, a senior bound for College of San Mateo (Calif.) who roams the left side of the infield and pitches relief, doesn’t have the impressive numbers of other more high-profile position players (.356, 20 runs, 14 RBI, 3 HR, 10 stolen bases; 1-1, 2 saves, 3.00 ERA, 20 K, 9 IP). But his physical tools are impressive, demonstrating power from the plate, and his athletic 6-foot-2 frame is almost prototypical.

Late last month, for instance, Gens came in for relief in the Red Raiders’ game with Andover at Lelaucher Park, and was clocked at 90 miles per hour on his fastball –- and 62 on his curve.

“He’s probably one of the most intriguing kids to pop up around here,” says an American League scout. “His overall athletic ability makes him intriguing as a position player, he’s got the raw tools and he’s physical offensively.

“Going to a junior college he’s viewed as more signable than a kid going to Vanderbilt, and I think that’s the intriguing part. Gens is really raw and could learn a lot from the lower levels if you spend time developing him. So the question is, do you draft a kid like that this year with immaturity and raw tools, and hope you have a diamond in the rough, or do you wait?”

Lowell head coach Danny Graham says he’s been told by scouts that day three is a possibility for Gens, just as it is for Tulley.

“Here’s a kid who’s never been in the right situation, but he eats, sleeps and drinks baseball, the whole nine yards,” Graham said. “I was told by someone in the scouting bureau that talks to a bunch of people, Chad is going to get drafted somewhere around the 30th round. Whether or not any of that happens, I don’t know.”

Others on the cusp
At the beginning of the spring, we targeted five players who could hear their name called. Looking at that number again, there seems to be only one sure thing -– Wiseman, but where is anyone’s guess. But there are a number of other players who could see themselves in the mix.

In addition to the aforementioned Tishman and Tulley, keep an eye out for Lexington’s Chris Shaw and St. Sebastian’s John Nicklas, who are both heading to Boston College.

Also keep an eye out for another one of Wiseman’s future Vanderbilt teammates, Braintree rigthhander Pat Delano. Two years out from undergoing Tommy John surgery from world-renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, Delano’s velocity –- once clocked in the low-90’s as a sophomore –- appears to be coming back. Standing 6-foot-7 and showing quality leg strength, the Bay State Conference MVP could develop into a draft-ready prospect in three years’ time, if not this year.

D1 Baseball: Taunton 4, Braintree 0

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
11:28
PM ET
Connor JohnsonBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comTaunton lefty Connor Johnson pitched a shutout, but was quick to credit his defense, calling it "unbelievable, best defense in the state."
TAUNTON, Mass. -– It’s a maneuver the Taunton Tigers have run all year long. And whenever senior second baseman Zach Grady gets on the basepaths, he gets the green light.

In the third inning of a scoreless game with Braintree and its Vanderbilt-bound flamethrower Pat Delano on the hill, Grady ran it without flaw. With no outs and Grady on first off of a single, leadoff hitter Travis Ritchie laid down a bunt that plopped into the infield, and just barely beat the throw to first. All the while, Grady –- considered the team’s fastest baserunner -– was booking it to third, and as he slid in safely head-first to third, Ritchie took another bag.

In the next at bat, catcher Joe Walsh ripped a 3-1 fastball back up the middle, clearing the bases for a 2-0 lead. And while Braintree’s 6-foot-7 ace was good for most of the afternoon, that sequence of events shifted momentum in favor of the Tigers (16-5), who went on to win 4-0 over the Wamps (12-7) in an MIAA Division 1 South first-round matchup at Taunton High.

“We’ve been running it all year,” Grady said. “If I get on, Travis lays down a bunt, I just keep running and put my head down going to third. I see coach waving, and I just keep running.”

The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh with some more small-ball tactics. First, outfielder Matt Nunes dunked a ball into right field, and quickly stole two bags to put himself 90 feet from the plate. All the while, third baseman Brad Alconada battled back from an 0-2 deficit to work a full count on Delano, and on the eighth pitch he slapped one at the Wamps’ first baseman, who bobbled it off his chest and nearly fumbled it before making the unassisted play at first. The play scored Nunes, however, for a 3-0 advantage.

Grady cracked a first-pitch single off Delano in the next at bat, after which Braintree skipper Bill O’Connell went to the mound for a meeting. After the next batter, Ritchie, singled again, Delano was done for the day.

The new pitcher, Mike Crowley, didn’t get off to a great start. His first pitch was a wild one, allowing Grady to score from third for the 4-0 advantage.

Delano, in his last start in a quality but injury-riddled career with the Wamps, finished with seven hits allowed, five strikeouts, no walks and two earned runs on 98 pitches.

Defense shines: All afternoon long, the Tigers came up with web gem after web gem playing behind junior lefty Connor Johnson.

There was Nunes’ diving catch on the run in right in the first inning. There was Walsh gunning out a Braintree runner trying to take second. There was Ritchie’s rob of Delano’s potential two-run shot, on the warning track in centerfield. There were the countless backhanded snags by senior Chris Roumbakis at shortstop.

The most important snag came in the top of the ninth, however. With no outs, the bases loaded, and the tying run at the plate, Matt Bickford lined one right to Grady, who promptly caught it and tapped second base for the unassisted double play. Steven Lee grounded out on the next at bat to end the game.

“That’s been our strength all year, and we preach to pitchers: throw strikes, let your defense handle it,” Taunton head coach Jeff Sylvia said. “We’re gonna get hit, teams are going to get hits off of us, but most of the time we’re gonna hopefully make a good defensive play, get out of an inning, make the routine play. That’s what we preach.”

Asked about the defense, Johnson was quick to compliment the players behind him -– “Unbelievable, best defense in the state,” he declared.

Said Braintree head coach Bill O’Connell of the Taunton defense, “We did a lot of work on them, and everyone we spoke with explained about their defense as just outstanding. They made two huge diving catches that might have been extra base hits if they fell. They didn’t, and that’s how you win. You win with pitching and defense.”

Johnson holds his own: This afternoon’s duel on the mound was between hurlers from almost the polar opposite ends of the spectrum. On one end was Delano, a big overpowering hurler who has his high-80’s velocity back almost two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery from the world-renowned Dr. James Andrews.

At the other end was Johnson, a lefty who gave up almost 10 inches to Delano whose specialty is deceptive off-speed stuff. The players behind Johnson raved about his ability to battle, and certainly his stuff was on today. In eight innings, Johnson gave up five hits, walked one and fanned three, alternately jamming and reaching his batters with a sharp, snapping curve.

“It’s come a long way, even this season,” Johnson said of his curve.

Switching things up in BP: Blame this season’s Old Colony League champs for igniting a fire under the Tigers this past week.

Barnstable torched Taunton for 14 runs last weekend to win the league championship outright, and that spurred Tigers coach Jeff Sylvia to try a different approach to batting practice. With the spectre of Delano getting the nod for Braintree, Sylvia decided not to throw off the mound in batting practice the last few days, instead firing at batters from 20 to 25 feet away.

“I was trying to get it on the kids, just so they get their foot down and their hands through,” Sylvia explained. “With guys who throw hard, you don’t have to generate power with your swing. It’s just more speed, the pitcher generates the power. And it worked, I thought we had good swings today.”

Laying the wood: The Old Colony League elected to make the move this season to join several other power conferences as leagues that play nine-inning, wood bat-only games. That experience has clearly conditioned the Tigers for a game like today – with wood-bat hits at a premium at the high school level, you tend to try and make the most out of your time on the basepath, if not at least play smarter.

“Absolutely, it’s a different game with the wood bats,” Sylvia said. “But we still kept the same mentality. We tried to squeeze, move guys over, sacrifice guys, and the bunt-and-run, that was all incorporated with the wood bat, so we tried to continue that.”

ESPNHS preseason All-State baseball team

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
11:45
AM ET
ESPNHS kicks off its baseball season coverage by unveiling its preseason All-State Teams for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. A number of stars litter its Massachusetts squad, including BB&N's Rhett Wiseman, Lowell's Matt Tulley, Lexington's Chris Shaw and Braintree's Pat Delano.

You can find the entire list, which includes "Other Top Players" by clicking here. Below is ESPNHS' All-State Team for Massachusetts:



POSITION PLAYERS

Anthony Capuano, St. John's Prep, OF, Senior
Led SJP in hits, runs and stolen bases last year.

Jarrod Casey, Milford, OF/LHP, Senior
Batted .530 and posted an 8-1 record on the mound.

Dan Cellucci, Lincoln-Sudbury, SS, Senior
Posted a .536 BA and scored 44 runs for Division 1 state champs.

Chris McCarthy, Everett, C, Senior
Hit .585 and drove in 28 runs as a junior.

Bob Melley, BC High, C, Senior
Productive backstop has signed with UConn.

Matt O'Neil, East Longmeadow, SS/RHP, Senior
Batted .447 with 15 stolen bases last year, committed to UConn.

Christopher Shaw, Lexington, 1B/RHP, Senior
Boston College recruit hit eight home runs last year.

Ryan Summers, Westfield, C, Junior
Hit six home runs and drove in 27 last year; headed to Louisville.

Matt Tulley, Lowell, SS/RHP, Senior
Has signed to play at Virginia Tech.

Rhett Wiseman, BB&N, OF, Senior
Vanderbilt recruit hit .447 with 11 HRs and 29 SBs last year.


PITCHERS

Austin DeCarr, Xaverian, RHP/SS, Junior
Strong-armed athlete also took snaps as a quarterback in the fall.

Patrick Delano, Braintree, RHP, Senior
Big power pitcher is headed to Vanderbilt.

Tyler Dowd, Springfield Central, RHP/OF, Senior
Should be among state leaders in K's this spring.

Mike Krupczak, Springfield Cathedral, RHP, Senior
Went 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA last year.

Ryan McDonald, Acton-Boxboro, LHP, Junior
Posted a 0.90 ERA last year, striking out 71 batters over 55 innings.

Steve Moyers, East Longmeadow, LHP/OF, senior
Went 8-1 last year while posting a 0.44 ERA; career record of 23-2.

John Nicklas, St. Sebastian's, RHP, Senior
Has signed to play at Boston College.

Pat Ruotolo, Peabody, RHP, Junior
Struck out 102 batters last year, including three games of 15-plus K's.

Max Tishman, Lawrence Academy, LHP, Senior
Polished left-hander has signed with Wake Forest.

Troy Whitty, Dexter, RHP, Senior
Transferred from Oliver Ames, where he posted a 0.90 ERA last year.


Locals selected to Yankees Area Code roster

July, 21, 2011
7/21/11
3:49
PM ET
The rosters for next month's Area Code Baseball Games have been finalized, and there are a handful of locals who will be participating with the New York Yankees squad.

Now in its 25th year of operation, the wood-bat tournament annually pits high school players from different geographical areas against one another, each team corresponding to a particular Major League Baseball team. Eight Major League teams will compete in this year's field, which will be held from August 5 to 10 at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif.

Since its inception in 1987, nine Area Code Games alumni have gone on to become No. 1 overall draft picks, including this year's top pick, Gerritt Cole out of UCLA. In last month's draft, 34 of the top 100 picks had Area Code Games experience. Locally, that included Lawrence Academy's Tyler Beede, who went 21st overall to the Blue Jays.

The Northeast squad, which falls under the Yankees, features seven Bay Staters:



Pat Delano, RHP, Braintree
Riley MacEachern, RHP, Austin Prep
Buck McCarthy, C, Everett
Chris Shaw, 1B, Lexington
Max Tishman, LHP, Lawrence Academy
Matt Tulley, RHP, Lowell
Rhett Wiseman, OF, BB&N


The full roster can be found here.

More information, including the seven other Major League rosters and a schedule of events, can be found here. All four of the games on August 9 will be broadcast on ESPN3.

First baseball poll and preseason All-State

April, 4, 2011
4/04/11
7:55
PM ET
We've released our first state-wide MIAA Top 25 baseball poll this afternoon, which can be found here; and our panel of staff writers, correspondents and area coaches have tapped Catholic Memorial as No. 1 to top the preseason.

Many felt this could be the year the Knights, who have lost in extra innings in the last two Division 1 South finals, get over the hump. And certainly, head coach Hal Carey has the horses in his starting rotation to pull it off, between Division 1 commits Matt Goreham (Northeastern), John Gorman (BC) and John Mildner (UMass).

Overall, the Catholic Conference took four of the top five spots in the poll, with Lincoln-Subury taking the No. 2 spot followed by Malden Catholic, reigning Division 1 North champ St. John's Prep and Division 1 state runner-up Xaverian. Rounding out the top 10 are Lowell (6), Lexington (7), Peabody (8), Wachusett (9) and North Andover (10).

Our panel has also put together a preseason All-State to whet your appetite, listed below:



RHP – Adam Ravenelle, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
LHP – Will Marcal, Sr., Lexington
RHP – Pat Connaughton, Sr., St. John’s Prep
RHP – Matt Goreham, Sr., Catholic Memorial
RHP – Pat Delano, Jr., Braintree

C – Matt Walsh, Sr., Plymouth North
1B – Lorenzo Papa, Sr., Arlington Catholic
2B – Zach Apotheker, Sr., Brockton
SS – Aaron Fossas, Sr., Holy Name
3B – John Gorman, Sr., Catholic Memorial
DH – Zach Littman, Sr., Abington
OF – Carl Anderson, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
OF – Connor McDavitt, Sr., Wachusett
OF – James Ricoy, Sr., Lowell




As always, let us know how we're doing in the comments section below, or by emailing editors Brendan Hall at bhall@espnboston.com and Scott Barboza at sbarboza@espnboston.com.

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