Boston High School: Quinn Cooney

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: 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.