WESTWOOD, Mass. -- While Brendan Ryan might prefer skating around an ice rink to running on a baseball field, there was no one who had a bigger hand in ensuring the No. 6 New ton North baseball team remained unbeaten when they bested host and No. 11 Xaverian, 8-4, on Thursday morning.
“The kicker is, he’s a hockey player,” said North coach Joe Siciliano. “He’s tough and hard-nosed, and he wants to be out there. When they went up 4-2, a lot of kids would be looking over at the sidelines expecting to be out. This kid, if I walked out there, he’d have thrown the ball at me. He just did a great job today.”
Ryan (3-0) tossed his third complete game in as many starts, striking out five and scattering eight hits while surrendering three earn runs against a team that has historically had his number.
“Every game is significant, but this one is just a little sweeter,” Ryan said. “I pitched against them the last couple of years and they’ve teed off against me. This year, I didn’t get down on myself when they started hitting the ball early.”
Ryan was as good at the plate as he was on the mound for the Tigers (6-0).
He went 1-for-2 in the win, blasting a solo homer to left to lead off the second inning to get Newton North’s offense going. In the sixth inning, he walked and scored a run, pull the Tigers within one run. And in the seventh, he put them ahead for good with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
“Quality teams are made of quality players,” said Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert. “That’s one of coach Sicilliano’s central guys this year. I’m sure he’s thrilled to have him. He’ll be a big problem for his opponents in games he starts the rest year and into the tournament as well.”
After Ryan’s solo shot, Kevin Alexy drew a walk, stole second and eventually scored on a single by Johnny Little, giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage heading to the bottom of the second.
Xaverian (3-4) quickly cut into that lead when Aidan Desrosiers unloaded a solo homer of his own to center field.
Adam Chochrek singled, coming around to score on an Aaron Drummey (2-for-3, walk) base hit. Xaverian starting pitcher Austin DeCarr (2-for-2, walk) gave the Hawks a lead when he delivered a pop-up down the right field line that fell for a double. From there though, Ryan locked in on the mound, allowing just two more hits and one unearned run the rest of the way.
Newton North retook the lead in the sixth inning when Phil Biancuso belted a double that scored Ryan -– who had walked to lead-off the inning. A throwing error sent Biancuso to third before he scored on a passed ball.
Chochrek led off the sixth by reaching on an error. After advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt, he scored on a single into right by Drummey.
Newton North took advantage of some command issues Xaverian relief pitchers experience to put the game away in the seventh. A Ben Porter walk, Alex Joyce single and Michael Courtney walk loaded the bases with no outs, setting up Ryan’s go-ahead sacrifice fly. With two outs in the inning, Biancuso crushed a ball deep to right center, one-hopping the fence. Biancuso hit third with ease and turned for home, scoring when Xaverian’s catcher dropped the ball while applying a tag.
Ryan sent the Hawks down in order in the seventh, striking out the final two hitters of the game.
“When you play a quality opponent and you don’t make pitches and don’t make all the plays you can make, they’re going to beat you,” said Lambert. They’re just going to keep coming. That was Newton today.”