Boston High School: Reed Turgeon

Recap: No. 23 Franklin 8, No. 25 OA 7 (9 inn.)

April, 18, 2012
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Entering the bottom half of the ninth inning with the game tied, 7-7, Franklin's Cam Flateau calmly squared up and took the third pitch from Oliver Ames reliever David MacKinnon square off his right shoulder.

“The first pitch was right at my head, and I was a little afraid of that one," Flateau said. "But I just knew that he wasn’t going to get a strike to me because I was on his plate, so I did the best I could, and got hit."

Franklin head coach Dave Niro swapped Flateau for Brad Padula, who managed to reach second base one batter later following a suicide squeeze by Joe Palazini.

Padula then finished his trip around the base path when Marc Mele, the third batter of the inning, connected on Mackinnon’s third pitch. That drove home the game-winning run for Franklin (3-1), completing a thrilling 8-7 comeback over the Tigers.

“The first pitch was kind of close, a little low, and I thought it might have been a strike," Mele said. "The second one, I tried to see it better, and the third one I just cocked back, and got ready.".

Said Niro, “We never quit. Baseball’s a great game, and that’s why we play it like this.”

OA (4-1) earned a 2-0 lead to start the game in the top half of the first inning when Matt Harding cleared the bases with an RBI triple, which sent Mike McMillan and Mackinnon to the dish.

Franklin’s starting pitcher Bobby Chaiton recovered by retiring five of the next six batters he faced, before the Panthers' offense recorded three runs on five hits in the bottom half of the second inning.

“Bobby did a great job for us. He’s been struggling a little bit at the beginning of the year, but he did a great job [after he settled down],” said Niro.

Hits from Chaiton, Palazini and Reed Turgeon provided the Panthers with a 3-2 lead. But OA erased that in the top of the sixth, first with a single from Brad Fleming then an RBI triple from Harding.

The Tigers added to their lead one inning later when Jim Sullivan, McMillan and Mackinnon touched all four bases to give OA a 7-3 advantage entering the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Bryan Abbott began Franklin’s final frame when he connected on a 2-2 pitch from OA’s starter, David Holmes, which jump-started a Panthers four-run rally that sent the game to extra innings.

“I missed a pitch earlier during my at bat that I thought I should have hammered in the gap, so I found myself down, 2-2 and I just got a pitch in the zone that I got around on it, and hit it to right field, a nice little single,” said Abbott.

Entering the top of the eighth, Mele retired three consecutive OA batters, before Franklin loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning. The Panther bats attempted to bring home the winning run on third, but Mackinnon managed force Tyler Buck and Chaiton to ground out, and then Turgeon to pop out to center field.

“I was trying to stay calm and throw strikes,” Mele said of his final two innings on the bump. “I didn’t want to let the first batter on because I never leave stranding good.”

Mele repeated his eighth inning performance in the ninth by retiring three more OA batters before he recorded the game-winning RBI that earned Franklin their third victory of the season.

“Marc [Mele] just did a heck of a job for a sophomore,” exclaimed Niro. “You can’t ask for anything better [because] he held them scoreless, and got the winning it.”

“It was a really good high school game that was played out on the field, and we just couldn’t put them away,” OA head coach Leo Duggan said. “I thought we did a nice job in the eighth when they had the bases loaded and nobody out. We didn’t come up with any hits in the ninth, and they [managed] to get it through, so give them credit.”

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: