Boston High School: Ryan McDonald

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.

Recap: A-B 4, No. 12 Chelmsford 2

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
1:30
AM ET
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.

Roundtable: Darcey vs. Stamatov, Best Lefties

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
11:41
AM ET
We're back with another installment of "Roundtable", our weekly takes on the hot topics of the spring season. This week, we discuss who is the best boys' lacrosse goalie in the state; which lefthanded pitchers will make the most noise; the state's best slap hitter; and who had the best individual performance of the season's first two weeks.

Joining us this week are correspondent Bruce Lerch, New England Prep Stars founder and editor Ryan Kilian, MassLive.com producer Ben Larsen, and Brockton Enterprise staff writer John Botelho. Without further ado:

1. BETTER GOALIE –- WELLESLEY’S CONNOR DARCEY OR FOXBOROUGH’S GREG STAMATOV?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Scott Barboza: That's a tough one. In many regards, they're similar players in that they're both not afraid to step up into the play when its warranted. They're not going to just clear and retreat when the opportunity presents itself. Stamatov had one clearing pass to the midfield during the third quarter against Barnstable that was a thing of beauty. And, of course, we all know that Darcey is capable of scoring when he carries the ball past midfield. This all makes no mention of their ability to stop the ball either. Either way you dice it, they're among the very best in a deep field of MIAA goaltenders along with Duxbury's Henry Buonagurio, Concord-Carlisle's Doug Gouchoe and Billerica's D.J. Smith.

Ryan Kilian, New England Prep Stars: Connor Darcey is the best goalie I have seen in New England Public High School lacrosse over the past two years. Darcey is the real deal. He possesses confidence, quickness, and exceptional hand-eye coordination.

The goalie position in Massachusetts in the Class of 2012 is as strong as it has been in many years. Doug Gouchoe of Concord-Carlisle (Air Force), Greg Stamatov of Foxborogh (Villanova), Jared Fong of Weston (Gettysburg), and Miles McCarthy of Catholic Memorial (Williams) are all exceptional athletes with bright futures at the next level and all have a unique set of skills that they bring to the table.

Darcey is also a born leader and that is an essential trait that all great goalies, like the above mentioned, share.

Bruce Lerch, correspondent: Both players have excelled for their respective teams and made a big splash over the summer participating in the Warrior 40 at Harvard Stadium. Both have also drawn the attention of Division colleges, as Darcey is committed to play for Penn State while Stamatov will take his talents to Villanova. Darcey was a key factor in Wellesey's 16-0 regular season a year ago, while Stamatov helped propel Foxborough to its best season ever by reaching the Division 2 semifinals. Darcey was rated eighth in ESPN High School's national goalie rankings back in February, but even if you have the second pick in this draft, you won't come away disappointed as Stamatov was not too far behind at No. 14.

2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE SO FAR?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall: I think any time you throw a perfect game at any level, you should be highly commended as such. So here’s my kudos to Lynn English’s Ben Bowden, who had a clean sheet for the Bulldogs in their 5-0 win over Marblehead. Bowden struck out 14 in the full seven innings, and got some assistance from the infield behind him late to seal the deal. He is an imposing player to watch at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, equipped with a high-80’s fastball, so it’s hardly the last time we’ll hear from him.

That said, I’m always impressed when a pitcher goes into the triple-digits in pitch count this early in the season – and even moreso when it’s as efficient as Milford’s Jarrod Casey was on April 3. In the Scarlet Hawks’ season-opening 3-1 win over Westborough, the reigning Mid-Wach A MVP and returning ESPNBoston All-Stater threw 125 pitches and struck out 15 batters; he also belted an inside-the-park, two-run homer to give them all the insurance they needed.

John Botelho, Brockton Enterprise: The Bridgewater-Raynham softball team has shown plenty of early fireworks this season. Senior Audrey Dolloff twirled a four-hitter and struck on eight on opening, all while going 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and four RBI for the Trojans. Freshman Emily Kurkul has homered in all three games so far. Most recently, Dolloff tossed a no-hitter against Durfee, and her performance might not have even been the best one on the field that day for B-R. Sophomore Madison Shaw went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double and seven RBI as the Trojans cruised.

Ryan Kilian: The best individual performance that I have seen on the lacrosse field so far was Westford Academy attack Jay Drapeau scoring six goals and dishing out one assist in a 12-11 opening day win over Billerica. The sophomore scored the game winner in the fourth quarter and was exceptional dodging from X all afternoon. Drapeau also did this against a very formidable defense led by Tommy McLaughlin (UMass) and one of the state’s best goalies in DJ Smith (UMass).

Ben Larsen, MassLive.com: It would be hard to top this one. Noah Parker, a terrific talent hidden at St. Mary’s of Westfield was perfect in a six-inning game against Pioneer Valley Christian. He threw only 57 pitches, striking out 14. At the plate, he narrowly missed hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI.

Bruce Lerch: On the lacrosse fields, several players have produced nine-goal games in the early going. Kobie Sullivan had seven, nine and eight goals in Fairhaven's first three games. On the girls side, Wayland's Amy Cunningham, Amy also struck for nine against Bedford. But my top effort goes to Masconomet's Jake Gillespie, who potted nine in the Chieftans' second game of the year against a BC High defense that includes a pair of Division 1 recruits.

3. A LEFTHANDED STARTER CAN BE INVALUABLE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. WHICH LEFTIES WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE MOST?

Brendan Hall: The Class of 2012 is littered with Division 1-bound lefties, between Oliver Ames' Ryan O'Shea (Central Michigan), East Longmeadow's Steve Moyers (Rhode Island), Pentucket's Alex Ministeri (Coastal Carolina), Auburn's Connor Fuller (Fordham), Xaverian's Tim Duggan (Fairfield) and Acton-Boxborough's Ryan McDonald (Bryant). One we might be adding to that list in a year's time is Wellesley senior Tim Superko.

Superko is already off to a great start in 2012, with wins in his first two starts in dominant fashion -- 23 strikeouts in 12 innings, an ERA of 0.75, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly four, and a strike percentage of 67. I'm obviously working with a stat system pretty sophisticated for the high school level, but I can assure you Superko could care less. He's a competitor, unafraid to challenge hitters in the middle of the order, but also very coachable. Raiders coach Rob Kane raves about Superko's curveball, and he sets it up well with his heat. From the plate, he's not that bad either; so far he's hitting .500/.562/.786 with five RBI, two triples, seven runs and three stolen bases.

Superko is heading to Philips Andover for a post-graduate year next season. I expect him to have a Division 1 scholarship offer in his lap by this summer's end.

I'd also keep an eye on the aforementioned Ben Bowden from Lynn English. He's got an ideal power pitcher's frame, and if the reports about him topping out at 89 miles per hour in his perfect game are true, then he has a chance to rise quickly on the radar. But to be a reliable starter at this level, you need a quality changeup, and Bowden's is pretty nice.

Boston Latin sophomore Pat Naughton is certainly another one to look out for over the next two years. He fanned 17 Wayland batters in an outing last year as a freshman, and is already off to a good start this year with 14 K's in the Wolfpack's season-opening win over Latin Academy. Also keep an eye on Reading junior Scott Tully, who committed to Notre Dame last February, as well as Malden Catholic junior Joe Velozo.

John Botelho: One of the best lefties in the state hasn't even thrown a pitch yet. Oliver Ames' Ryan O'Shea, a 6-foot-3 southpaw already signed on to play at Central Michigan next year, will take to the mound for the first time next week. Hall of Fame coach Leo Duggan aired on the side of caution as O'Shea was battling shoulder soreness. He has a chance to come back and be the best pitcher on an O-A team that has still gone 3-0 without him in the lineup.

Brockton's Joe Sever has a live arm and features impressive off-speed stuff. The ace of the Boxers' staff this year, he has a chance to catch a lot of eyes with the schedules Bill Maloney's squad plays.

Bridgewater-Raynham features a pair of hard-throwing lefties who should cause problems for hitters throughout the regular season. Senior captains Pat Chalmers and Shane Holmes have more varsity experience than many of the guys they'll square off against this year - Chalmers was pitching on varsity at B-R as a sophomore and Holmes spent his freshman and sophomore years on the varsity squad at East Bridgewater before transferring to B-R as a junior. Chalmers took a no decision in his first start, but struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings. Holmes picked up the first win for the Trojans, a complete-game two-hit 12-strikeout performance against Milton.

Ben Larsen: Undoubtedly, Steve Moyers is the guy to follow. He has been unbelievable in his first three years as the ace of the East Longmeadow rotation and he’s hoping to reach the 30-win plateau for his career, which is no small feat in the short Massachusetts season. That said, Michael Walkowicz of Amherst has been the Cy Young in the early going. In two starts, he has a 17-strikeout, one-hitter and 12 Ks in a loss to Northampton.

Bruce Lerch: I find myself greatly intrigued by the seemingly rubber of Franklin southpaw Tyler Buck. As a junior, Buck tossed multiple gems during the Panthers run to the Div. 1 state championship game, including a 166-pitch effort to upset BC High in last year's D1 South semifinals. After starring for Franklin's Legion team over the summer, I'm interested to see how far the Panthers ace can take them once again.

4. WHAT WILL BE THE MOST COMPETITIVE LEAGUE IN GIRLS' LACROSSE THIS YEAR?

Brendan Hall: I'm going with the Dual County League. Four members of the 10-team league currently sit in our MIAA Top 25 poll, including No. 1 Lincoln-Sudbury. And we're not even including Acton-Boxborough, which began the season as our preseason No. 10 before dropping to 0-5. Talk about a misnomer -- the Colonials' five losses are to No. 1 L-S, No. 5 Needham, No. 6 Notre Dame (Hingham), No. 17 King Philip, and No. 23 Walpole. Also throw in unranked Wayland, which has one of the state's best goalies in Quinnipiac-bound senior Rachel Massicotte.

Let's now throw in the DCL's other three currently-ranked teams -- Concord-Carlisle, Weston and Westford -- and we're talking six teams that can be troublesome. I expect L-S to rise above it all, but the rest of the way down may or may not be a crap shoot.

Bruce Lerch: While most league's across the state in girls lacrosse are fairly top-heavy, I would say that top to bottom, the Middlesex League's large division may have the largest number of competitive teams as all five made the playoffs in 2011. Winchester is annually among the state's top programs and is among the favorites to challenge for the Div. 2 crown once again. Reading went 15-5 before running into state finalist Lincoln-Sudbury. Lexington is a perennial tourney team who, aside from last season, routinely rolls up 15-plus wins a year. Belmont also won 15 games in 2011, and Woburn qualified for the postseason as well. As of the time I am writing this, the five teams hold a combined record of 8-0-1 through the first two weeks of the season.

Ben Larsen: The Valley Wheel in Western Mass. is off to a strong start with no team worse than 2-0, including Agawam on top with four wins already. Perennial power Longmeadow and last year’s upstart Minnechaug are bound to contend with powerful Agawam in this loaded league but don’t count out East Longmeadow and South Hadley from at least making some noise.

5. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SLAP HITTERS. WHO ARE THE ONES TO PAY ATTENTION TO?

Scott Barboza: I'm looking no further than Mansfield's Bri Chiusano. The Coastal Carolina signee is the most dynamic lead-off hitter in the state and, as she showed earlier this week against King Philip, she also has some pop in the bat while taking a full swing. You have to take pause and applaud anybody who can launch a home run off of Meghan Rico after all.

Bruce Lerch: Bri Chiusano of Mansfield, who showed Tuesday that she can do a bit more than slap by cranking a three-run homer off of King Philip ace and reigning Miss Softball Meghan Rico. A four-year player for the Hornets manning centerfield and batting at the top of the lineup, Chiusano makes life miserable for opposing pitchers with her quick hands and tremendous speed and has an uncanny ability to survey how the defense is playing her and place the ball accordingly. The senior was named to ESPN Boston's preseason All-State team and will play for Coastal Carolina next year.

Ben Larsen: Typically a speedy singles hitter who uses his speed to get on and wreak havoc on the basepaths, Westfield’s Billy Smith got into the power game Monday, blasting a three-run homer in the Bombers’ rout of Belchertown. Smith, who also served as the Westfield football team’s quarterback this past season, has started out slow but is undoubtedly a player to watch moving forward.

6. WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING UPSET OF THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE SEASON?

Brendan Hall: My brethren on the Cape will call me Captain Hindsight with this one, but maybe Dennis-Yarmouth baseball is better than we've given them credit for after knocking off Plymouth North 8-2 on Wednesday. I think it was universally agreed that North, routinely one of the best hitting teams in Division 2, would be the favorite again in the South region even after losing key bats like Matt Walsh. But maybe D-Y should get more notice, with talented players like Matt Montalto, Matt Peterson and Miles Tuohy-Bedford. The Dolphins (2-1) got off to a hot start last season, including coach Paul Funk's 100th win, before coming back to Earth. Can they keep the hot start going this year?

Scott Barboza: If I told you I'd called Reading boys' lacrosse's overtime win over Westford Academy, I'd be lying. The Grey Ghosts entered this season with a lot of attention, particularly with the addition of Alex Eaton, in an already loaded Dual County League and the No. 6 ranking in our preseason Top 25 poll. Meanwhile, Reading was tough to read coming in because the Rockets lost some key cogs from last year's squad. What the Rockets did is prove that they should again challenge for the Middlesex League title.

Bruce Lerch: In boys lacrosse, certainly the most eye-opening result of the early season came when Melrose upset Lexington, 11-6. This is just the fourth year of the Red Raiders program, and in their first three years Melrose went a combined 9-44. Meanwhile, Lexington is an annual state championship and Middlesex League contender and reached the postseason in each of the three years since Melrose started its team. It was certainly a program defining victory for the Red Raiders.

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.


Bay State Games: Day 3 Recap

July, 8, 2011
7/08/11
12:46
AM ET
Courtesy of Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

BASEBALL
Bentley University – Waltham, MA

Metro 15, Central 7

In an offensive showcase, Metro earned a decisive 15-7 victory against Central in the opening game on Thursday.

Metro scored six runs on six hits in the top of the first inning to help propel the squad to an early lead, however, Central retaliated in the bottom of the inning, plating five to pull within one.

Metro pulled ahead, 7-5, in the second, as sophomore leftfielder Malcolm Nachmanoff (Boston, Boston Latin) drilled a RBI single, which scored junior right fielder Bartley Regan (Boston, Boston College HS), who had singled up the middle.

In the bottom of the third, sophomore first baseman Zackary Tower (Auburn, Auburn HS) nailed a RBI single and sophomore leftfielder Jake Ryan (Northbridge, Northbridge HS) drew a walk for a RBI to help Central knot the game at 7-7.

Metro put the game out of reach with seven runs in the fourth inning and added one more in the fifth to earn the 15-7 victory.

Nachmanoff and junior second baseman Austin Teal (Malden, Malden HS) led the offensive effort for Metro, going 2-for-2 with one RBI apiece. Sophomore shortstop Michael Woll (Milbury, Holy Name Central Catholic HS) was 1-for-1 at the dish with two RBI for Central.

Junior pitcher James Mulry (West Roxbury, Boston Latin) registered the win for Metro, hurling 21/3 scoreless innings, while tallying four strikeouts and allowing just one hit.

Northeast 8, West 0

A complete game shutout from junior pitcher Ryan McDonald (Boxboro, Acton-Boxboro Reg. HS) propelled Northeast to an 8-0 victory against West in game two on Thursday. McDonald tallied seven strikeouts and allowed just one hit in the solid outing.

Northeast jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first, thanks to RBI from junior designated hitter Peter Franchi (Lynnfield, Lynnfield HS) and junior right fielder Sean Glabicky (Peabody, Malden Catholic HS).

The only hit of the game for West came in the fourth, when junior centerfielder John Kinne (Great Barrington, Monument Mountain HS) sent a leadoff single to left field.

The Northeast squad never looked backed, adding six insurance runs on seven hits in the sixth to secure the victory.

Southeast 5, Coastal 5

In the third game on Thursday afternoon, Southeast and Coastal played a hard fought, back-and-forth contest that ended in a 5-5 draw.

Southeast broke the game open in the second inning, when junior first baseman Sean Greene (Hingham, Hingham HS), junior third baseman Mark Pomella (Marshfield, Marshfield HS), and junior centerfielder Jake O’Rouke (Medway, Medway HS) recorded consecutive singles to put their squad up, 1-0. Pomella scored on a wild pitch, giving Southeast an early 2-0 lead.

Southeast added a third run in the third, but Coastal would not go quietly. Sophomore centerfielder Dan Dougherty (Pembroke, Boston College HS), who singled to right field, set up a rundown, which allowed sophomore leftfielder Spencer McCaffrey (South Dennis, Dennis-Yarmouth HS) to score in the bottom of the third. In the squad’s next at bat, Coastal registered three runs on four hits to take a 4-3 lead through four innings of play.

Southeast tied the game at four in the fifth on a RBI triple from junior designated hitter Phil Sciretta (Duxbury, Nobles & Greenough HS), but Coastal pulled ahead in the following inning, as junior leftfielder Aaron Chouinard (Swansea, Joseph Case HS) tallied a sacrifice fly to score junior catcher Brian Hocking (Duxbury, Boston College HS).

Southeast plated the tying run in the top of the seventh, when Sciretta lifted a RBI sacrifice fly to right field. The squad then shutdown Coastal in the bottom of the inning to end the game deadlocked at five a side.

West 3, Central 1

West used a seventh-inning rally to defeat Central, 3-1, in a defensive showdown on Thursday afternoon.

The squads were deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning, when junior centerfielder Steve Moyers (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS), drew a walk to get on and scored on a throwing error by the Central pitcher to break the game open for West.

Central retaliated in the fifth, as junior first baseman Adam Goldstein (Worcester, Doherty Mem HS) knocked in junior leftfielder Matt Lavin (Worcester, Burncoat HS) with a single to center, knotting the game at 1-1.

West earned the go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh, as junior first baseman Brenden Geary (South Hadley, Tabor HS) and Moyers registered RBIs to put the squad on top. The West then retired the Central side in the home half of the inning to take the 3-1 victory.

The squads were led by outstanding showings from their pitchers, who each turned in complete game performances. West’s junior Rory Ziomek (Amherst, Phillips Andover) allowed just two hits and one run, while striking out six in seven innings of work. Junior Tyler Wager (Uxbridge, Uxbridge HS) struck out seven for Central.

ICE HOCKEY
New England Sports Center – Marlboro, MA

Boys Scholastic

Northeast 5, West 1

Junior forward Joe Czarnota (Reading, Reading HS) tallied two goals and an assist to lead Northeast over West, 5-1. Pat Flanagan (Westford, Westford Academy), Brett Buckley (Wakefield, Wakefield HS) and Blaise Heally (Melrose, Tilton School) also potted scores for the winners. Sophomore David Senecal (North Adams, Drury HS) lit the lantern for West’s only goal.

Southeast 9, Central 7

Southeast’s Dean Chandler (Hanover, Hanover HS) and Jason Riley (Dedham, Dedham HS) each scored a pair of goals to help their team fend off Central, 9-7. Junior Paul Curran (Milton, Milton HS) chipped in with a goal and three assists. For Central, Tyler Kirby (Hudson, Hudson HS) and Brett Lawson (Milford, St. Mark’s School) potted two goals apiece with Kirby also dishing out an assist.

Metro 4, Coastal 1

Junior forward Conal Lynch (Charlestown, Boston Latin) had a hat trick and Kevin Cotrone (West Roxbury, Boston Latin) tallied four points with a goal and three assists to lift Metro over Coastal, 4-1. Defenseman Max Sherman (Rochester, Old Rochester Reg HS) potted the lone goal for Coastal. In net, Peter Cronin (Norwell, Boston College HS) and Ryan Ciavette (Medford, Matignon) combined to 43 saves for the winners. Sean Cleary (Centerville, Barnstable HS) came on in relief for Coastal to make 18 saves while allowing a single goal.

Northeast 5, Southeast 2

Northeast jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first half and held on to defeat Southeast, 5-2. Forward Kevin Doherty (Wakefield, Wakefield HS) potted Northeast’s second and third goals. Also chipping in on the Northeast attack was Blaise Heally (Melrose, Tilton School) who registered a goal and an assist. Southeast came out storming in the second half and began its comeback with two quick strikes by David Consigle (Medway, Catholic Memorial) and Brian Higgins (Milton, Milton HS) in the fourth and ninth minute, respectively. Southeast goaltender Stephen Jenner (Abington, Archbishop Williams) made 19 saves including two spectacular diving saves.

Girls Scholastic

Southeast/Coastal 4, Central/West 4

Southeast/Coastal scored twice in the final three minutes to salvage a 4-4 tie with Central/West. Southeast/Coastal got two goals apiece from freshmen Emily Kelly (Norwood, Norwood HS) and Brooke Matherson (Walpole, Walpole HS) including a score from each in the critical final minutes. Kelly also added an assist. Central/West had a balanced offensive attack that was lead by Shannon Reynolds (Belmont, Belmont HS) who had an assist on Colleen Lynch’s (Worcester, South High Community School) strike in the first period, and scored in the third period to push the score to 4-2.

SOCCER
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Boys Scholastic

Northeast 0, Southeast 0
Great two way game by both teams.

Metro 8, Central 1
Dumbuya (ME) (unassisted) at 2min
Nichole (CE) from Lajoie at 12min
Chajon (ME) from Desouza at 15min
Chajon (ME) from Lo at 17min
B. Pires (ME) from Rolim at 24min
Dumbuya (ME) from Chajon at 45min
B. Pires (ME) from Teixeira at 55min
Murrill (ME) from Irazo at 66min
Murrill (ME) from Irazo at 68min

West 2, Coastal 1
Oupka (WE) unassisted at 33min
Thompson (CO) from Phillips at 55min
Merdcer (WE) from Friedman at 62min

Girls Scholastic

Northeast 2, Metro 0
Havelinan (NE) on assist from McDonough at 20min
McDonough(NE) from DesRosiers at 27min

Central 2, Southeast 0
Miele (CE) from Costa at 6min
Kane(CE) from Adams at 18min

West 3, Metro 0
Delasco0 (WE) from Caney at 22min
Caney (WE) from Bates at 27min
Bovat(WE) at 60min unassisted

Northeast 3, Southeast 0
McDonough(NE) from Cunnerty 10min
May(NE) from Newhall 30min
Digiacomo (NE) from McDonough 44 min

SOFTBALL
Regis College – Weston, MA

Coastal 4, West 3
Northeast 8, Central 1
Southeast 7, Metro 4
Metro 7, Central 0

Northeast v Southeast
Results not available

Our MIAA Baseball All-State Team

June, 29, 2011
6/29/11
9:19
AM ET
THE STARTING ROTATION

All-StateAdam Ravenelle, Sr. RHP, Lincoln-Sudbury
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound fireballer was an integral part of the Warriors' run to the Division 1 state championship this season, going 8-0 with 93 strikeouts in 56 innings -- including a career-high 18 in a win over Arlington. He also batted .481 with 44 RBIs. Earlier this month, the Vanderbilt-bound Ravenelle was drafted in the 44th round by the New York Yankees.

All-StatePat Connaughton, Sr. RHP, St. John’s Prep
The 6-foot-4 Connaughton, who was also a starter on ESPNBoston's inaugural All-State basketball squad, strung together some dominant performances this season, including a no-hitter against his hometown Arlington High. On the mound, he went 2-2 with one save, with 86 strikeouts in 50 innings for an ERA of 1.83. At the plate, he also hit .400 with four home runs, a .547 on-base percentage and .750 slugging percentage. Earlier this month, Connaughton was drafted in the 38th round by the San Diego Padres

All-StateJohn Gorman, Sr. RHP, Catholic Memorial
The Boston College-bound Gorman was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year last month, and was also named the Catholic Conference MVP, after a stellar senior season with the Knights. As the No. 1 ace, Gorman went 6-2 with 80 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.24. At the plate, he also hit .354 with 11 RBI, 14 runs scored an a home run. Earlier this month, the Norwood resident was drafted in the 50th round by the Boston Red Sox.

All-StateSteve Moyers, Jr. LHP, East Longmeadow
One of the state's most elusive lefties, Moyers turned in another strong campaign on the mound as the Spartans advanced to the Division 1 West Final. He went 8-1 this season, with 88 strikeouts in 64 innings with an ERA of 0.44. For his career, Moyers is 23-2 and has averaged better than a strikeout per inning. He is receiving various interest from Division 1 schools in the Atlantic-10, Patriot League and Big East conferences.

All-StateGarrison Banas, Sr. LHP, Hopkins Academy
Stats-wise, there isn't another pitcher in the state who can lay claim to the numbers Banas put up this season. He went 9-2 this season for the Golden Hawks, with 173 strikeouts in 87.2 innings for an ERA of 0.48, before bowing out in the Division 3 West final. For his career, Banas was 26-6 with five no-hitters and a perfect game, and is in the state's ever-exclusive 400-strikeout club with 415 career K's. He will pursue a post-graduate season next year at Salisbury School, in Connecticut.

STARTING NINE

Matt Walsh, Sr. C, Plymouth North
The Franklin Pierce-bound Walsh was one of the more intimidating hitters in the region this season, as he led the Eagles to their second Division 2 state title in four years by hitting over .530 with 36 RBIs. But the most outstanding stat on Walsh has to be the respect he commands behind the plate. Counting the playoffs, only five runners attempted to steal on Walsh, and four were thrown out.

Chris McCarthy, Jr. C, Everett
Equipped with a live arm, the junior backstop was as efficient at the plate as he was at throwing out runners, batting over .585 with 28 RBIs and an on-base percentage close to .700. McCarthy is receiving varied degrees of interest from Division 1 schools in the Big East, Atlantic Coast and Atlantic 10 conferences.

Mike Barry, Sr. C/OF, Lincoln-Sudbury
The 6-foot-2 Barry was one of the most prolific hitters on arguably the state's most dangerous lineup, as the Warriors captured their third state title in seven seasons. For the season, he hit .437 with 38 RBIs and seven home runs,

Matt O'Neil, Jr. SS, East Longmeadow
As one of the premier position players in Western Mass, O'Neil turned in a solid junior season for the Spartans, batting .447 with six home runs and stealing 15 bases. He was also efficient on the mound, going 6-1 and striking out 69 batters in 43 innings. O'Neil is verbally committed to UConn.

Chris Shaw, Jr. 1B, Lexington
As the Middlesex League co-MVP alongside teammate Will Marcal, Shaw put on a clinic at the plate, with the numbers to show. He batted over .490 with eight home runs, and plated 41 runs. Shaw is verbally committed to Boston College.

Ryan Summers, Jr. C, Westfield
The junior got off to an explosive start to the season for the Bombers, with 21 RBIs and six home runs through the first three weeks of the season. He finished the year with 27 RBIs and six home runs.

Jarrod Casey, Jr. OF/LHP, Milford
The latest in a line of Caseys to succeed on the diamond at Milford, the 5-foot-11 junior was one of the premier hitters in Central Mass, hitting .530 while also going 8-1 on the mound. Casey was also the Mid-Wach A Most Valuable Player.

Lorenzo Papa, Sr. 1B, Arlington Catholic
The Stoneham resident led the state in home runs last season with 10, and followed up with another solid campaign in 2011, finishing with eight homers for the Cougars. Papa will continue his career at the University of Rhode Island next year.

Sean Amaru, Sr. 1B, Westwood
Also a star on the gridiron, Amaru was a standout in the Tri-Valley League in 2011, turning in a monster season. He batted .515 with 34 RBIs, and also led the state in home runs with 10.

BULLPEN
Will Archibald, Sr. RHP, Milton
Freddy Andujar, Sr. LHP, Holyoke
Dan Dymecki, Sr. RHP, Wellesley
Evan Mackintosh, Sr. LHP, Northbridge
Will Marcal, Sr. LHP, Lexington
Ryan McDonald, Jr. LHP, Acton-Boxborough
Victor Mendez, Sr. RHP, Lawrence
Donny Murray, Sr. RHP, BC High
Matt Tulley, Jr. RHP, Lowell
Brandon Walsh, Jr. RHP, North Andover

UTILITY
Charlie Butler, Jr. IF/RHP, Nashoba
Dan Cellucci, Jr. SS, Lincoln-Sudbury
Aaron Fossas, Sr. SS, Holy Name
Matt Goreham, Sr. 1B, Catholic Memorial
Keith Kelley, Sr. SS, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Dan Light, Sr. 1B, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Bob Melley, Jr. C, BC High
Rory O'Connor, Jr. OF, Lowell
Tyler Sterner, Sr. SS, Doherty
Ramses Vittini, Sr. OF, Peabody
Alex Witkus, Sr. OF, North Attleborough
Paul Yanakopulos, Sr. SS, Malden Catholic

A-B moves on in frustrating affair for Lawrence

June, 11, 2011
6/11/11
1:05
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. -- Victor Mendez was on in relief for Lawrence High School Friday trying to halt the Acton-Boxborough offense that had taken a two-run lead over the Lancers in the top of the ninth.

With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, Devin Santilli hit a chopper to third which seemed to be the second out of the inning. However, both Mendez and Edwin Brito charged the ball, leaving no one to cover third, making all the runners safe.

It was that kind of a frustrating ending to the Division 1 North baseball tournament for Lawrence. After trading the lead in the eighth inning, A-B earned a 6-3 victory behind a four-run ninth inning.

The Colonials move on to the Division 1 North final Saturday against Lincoln-Sudbury.

Junior Vasquez was almost untouchable on the mound for Lawrence until the later innings. The senior had nine strikeouts in eight innings and rarely found himself in jams until the ninth. Even in the third, when A-B had runners on second and third with two outs, he induced a fly ball, getting his team out of the inning.

While the A-B bats were quiet, it was the defense that changed the momentum of the game. After A-B pitcher Ryan McDonald surrendered two walks to start the sixth inning, he found himself faced with runners on second and third after a botched pickoff attempt at second sent the ball into center, allowing the runners to advance. He was able to bear down and get David Quezada to fly out to first for the first out of the inning.

Then, his infield bailed him out on a Hector Perez grounder to second. A-B coach Patrick Grucela had pulled the infield in, which allowed Billy Jackman to field the ball cleanly and fire it to his catcher Brian Bowler in time to tag out Edwin Brito, making it the second out of the inning. The next batter, Anthony Rodriguez, flied to right, keeping it a two-run game.

“That was huge for us but there was nothing special,” said Grucela. “It was just a baseball play with bringing the infield in and [Jackman] made a heck of a play out of it.”

McDonald felt the momentum gained from that defensive stand helped carry over into the later innings and was part of the reason for his team’s comeback.

“In the next inning we got them to go 1-2-3 and we struck out all three batters and from then on we just had the momentum,” he said.

McDonald pitched 6 2/3innings, recording six strikeouts while surrendering three walks and five hits. It was the kind of outing Grucela was looking for from him after he threw 140 in the team’s 3-0 victory over Lowell earlier in the Division 1 playoffs. He was relieved by Chris Sirois in the seventh inning, who gave up only one run over his 2 1/3 innings of work.

Vasquez got help early when Juan Ventura lead off the game with a triple to left-centerfield. A sacrifice fly by Brito plated the first run of the game for Lawrence, and A-B was immediately fighting from behind.

They tallied another run in the third when Ventura singled home Darwin Brito, who had previously advanced two bases on a failed pickoff move by McDonald sent the ball into right field.

“I gave up those first two runs kind of based on my pitch selection,” said McDonald. “I was throwing mostly fastballs and that team is a great hitting team and I wasn’t aware that they could hit the fastball as well as they could. So around the fourth inning I started using my curveball and off-speed pitches more and that definitely kept them off-balance more and definitely lead to more success for our team.”

The Colonials will look to carry the momentum from Friday into Saturday when it gets back on the field, and this time plays for a championship.

“I definitely think this game carries over [to Saturday],” said McDonald. “Everyone on the team feels confident and right now we’re just going out and playing baseball. We’re taking it one step and having fun.”

No. 8 A-B moves on behind McDonald

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
9:49
PM ET
ACTON, Mass. -- There was no way Ryan McDonald was coming out of the game.

The junior left-handed pitcher for Acton-Boxborough was determined to finish what he started last night. McDonald did just that, stifling Lowell on just five hits while striking out 10, as the Colonials prevailed 3-0 in the first round of the Division 1 North playoffs.

No. 8 A-B (16-5) moves on to the quarterfinal round when it will face either Lexington, Malden or Westford Academy on Sunday at 4 p.m. at a site to be determined. The ninth-seeded Red Raiders close out their season at 14-7.

McDonald kept the Lowell bats off-balanced throughout with his mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches. In fact, he didn’t allow a Red Raiders to reach third until the seventh frame.

“As a pitcher you’re thinking you want to go as long as you can and give it everything you’ve got,” said McDonald. “I felt great and the adrenaline was flowing. In the beginning I was able to established my off-speed stuff and then as the game progressed I picked it up more with my fastball. I realized over the last couple of innings they weren’t able to catch up to my fastball.”

McDonald was accurate in that statement as he wrapped up this contest by striking out four of the last five batters he faced.

In what was expected to be a low-scoring affair, the Colonials were able to strike first against Red Raider starter R.J. Noel. A single by Jared Tamulynas was followed by a line double to left by McDonald scoring Tamulynas and putting A-B on top 1-0.

The Colonials would add a solo run in the following frame thanks to Chris Murphy’s RBI single which drove in Dana Flood, who had led off the inning with a single.

While Lowell’s puzzlement against McDonald continued, a two-run lead was looking better with each passing inning. In the sixth however the Red Raiders threatened after putting a pair of runners on base. But McDonald was able to get out of the jam without issue.

In the bottom of the inning A-B added some insurance. Brian Bowler and Tamulynas opened with back-to-back walks. A McDonald sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Noel was then pulled in favor of Matt Tulley. Much to the surprise of Red Raiders, Matt Sweet laid down a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze on Tulley’s first delivery allowing Bowler to cross the plate.

“We’re not the type of team that’s going to put up 9 or 10 runs in a game,” said A-B coach Pat Grucela. “We knew we needed to manufacture runs in order to be successful and I was happy with the way we executed tonight. Ryan was a horse for us out there tonight. He got stronger as the game went on.”

In the seventh, Lowell had it best chance to get on the board. With two out and two runners on James Ricoy lofted a pop up in foul territory on the right side of the infield. Gusty wind conditions pushed ball back into fair territory and out of the reach of first baseman Devin Santilli. The ball dropped but Santilli displayed his alertness by throwing out Padriac Donovan out at the plate after a rundown ensued. After that, the Red Raiders were done.

“A lot of it was [McDonald] and some of it was us not being able to execute when we had the opportunities,” Lowell coach Dan Graham said. “On that squeeze play, I was kind of expecting it but just wasn’t expecting it on Matt’s first pitch.”

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