BROCKTON, Mass. -- Junior John Carlson tossed a complete game, striking out eight and added three first inning RBIs to lead Hingham to a 7-4 win over Stoughton in the Division 2 South Sectional Finals.
“He’s a very unique, can-do kind of guy,” said Hingham head coach Frank Niles. “We knew his pitch count was up but he’s Johnny Carlson and he battled it all the way.”
Carlson got off to a hot start, sitting down Stoughton’s top three in order in the top of the first. The Harbormen saw their two first batters retired but senior first baseman Eddie Bowler reached on a walk. Senior Evan Flanagan followed with a single into left and junior Austin Irvin reached on an error to load the bases.
Up stepped Carlson, and on the first pitch of the at-bat, he stroked one into left center field for a bases-clearing double to give Hingham an early 3-0 lead.
“I just got a pitch middle-in and took a swing at it and it happened,” said Carlson.
Stoughton pulled one back in the top of the second when Stoughton pitcher Mike Gallagher crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice ground out. The Black Knights added another in the top of the third on Jovani Pires’ solo homerun to left and were poised to add more damage, loading the bases with just one out. But Carlson got out of the jam, inducing two straight pop ups.
“I just stay as calm as I can,” said Carlson of when the game wasn’t going his way. “The game gets pretty intense and I just focus on the next batter.”
The Harbormen tacked on four runs in the bottom of the fourth with a big help from Stoughton errors. David Hutchins singled and pinch runner Zach Silva advanced to second on an errant pick off attempt. Silva went to third and Cody Clifford reached first on another error before Luke Ferris singled over the head of shortstop Pat Jackman to bring Silva home. Leadoff hitter Stephan White singled home Clifford to make it 5-2.
“We got some extra chances,” said Niles. “Stoughton’s obviously a good team but they gave us a couple extra chances.”
Another error from Stoughton loaded the bases for Hingham and a single from Evan Flanagan scored two more runs to extend Hingham’s lead to 7-2 through four innings.
“Defensively, we haven’t pulled that in a while,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “It’s baseball, you’re going to make your errors and unfortunately we made a few more today than we have in the past and it cost us.”
The Black Knights didn’t go down without a fight though, as Pires picked up two more RBIs, this time a double into right field that scored two runs for Stoughton to bring it to 7-4.
With over 110 pitches, Niles made a visit to Carlson, but the junior southpaw stayed in the game.
“I wasn’t going to let him [take me out],” said Carlson.
Carlson retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to end the game, finishing with a strikeout.
Now Hingham will play Division 2 North Champion Masconomet, who defeated Danvers 5-2 in the final earlier today at Lowell's LeLacheur Park.
“We’re ready to go,” Carlson said. “We’ve got some arms rested up and we’ll be back here on Tuesday trying to make it happen.”