Dan Patenaude always believed that this year’s Mashpee High School baseball team was going to be a state tournament club. The Falcons’ longtime coach does not believe in rebuilding, but knew that the current crop of Falcons would be going through a transition as they reloaded after a four-year dominant stretch by the previous two classes of seniors.
With three straight wins on Saturday, May 11 Monday, May 13, and yesterday, May 16, the Falcons improved to to three games above .500 and are now just a single win away from wrapping up a spot in the MIAA state tournament once again.
MHS went on the road for an early game against Carver High School yesterday and came home with a solid 5-3 victory behind a solid pitching performance by junior Zach Rogers. Perfect the first time through the Carver order, Rogers worked around one difficult frame—the fourth—to pick up the win. Carver used a single, a sacrifice, a double and a Mashpee error to plate two runs in that frame. They also got one in the seventh.
MHS led 1-0 after a single by Colton Colleran, a stolen base and an RBI single from Willie Baker in the third. After CHS took the lead Mashpee got it back in the fifth with a pair. Matt Ziehl and Peter Gonzalez came around to score on a two-run single by Colleran that put MHS on top. The Falcons added single runs in sixth and seventh. Ziehl drove in the run in the sixth with a ground ball and Jagger Bryant did the same in the seventh.
Their 3-1 win against a gritty Norwell team pushed the Falcons to within two games of the magic number to qualify with six left to play on Monday.
Sophomore Jagger Bryant had an excellent afternoon on the hill for the Falcons. The right-handed starter scattered three hits in his team’s win, striking out four and walking just two. Norwell had just one hit over the first five innings as Bryant went the distance in a strong 104-pitch effort.
The Falcons did all of their scoring over the first two innings.
Third baseman Willie Baker started the rally with a one-out walk that produced the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. After a strikeout the Falcons were helped out immensely by Norwell starting pitcher Nick Hohmann, who had control issues. Baker stole second and advanced to third and then home on a couple of wild pitches. Mashpee loaded the bases on a walk to Jared Barr, a hit by pitch to Sean Clifford and then another walk to Zach Rogers, but ultimately left them loaded.
In the second the Falcons continued to get some aid from the Norwell mound as Nick Storey was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After a strikeout, Colton Colleran singled and then with two down Kyle Puchol singled to load the bases. The inning should have ended when Barr swung and missed at strike three, but the ball got away from the catcher and Barr hustled to first and Storey to home to make it a 2-0 game. Another wild pitch produced another run for Mashpee as Colleran came in after Hohmann unleashed another into the dirt.
Mashpee’s offense wasn’t able to do much after that. The Falcons did load the bases in the sixth, but could not get another insurance run in.
Bryant began to show signs of slowing down in the sixth when he gave up a double, a walk and then a one-out single that loaded the bases. He escaped the jam with a shallow fly ball to left and a grounder to end the frame. In the seventh he walked the leadoff hitter. A throwing error then put two in scoring position. Norwell cashed in a run on a ground out, but the sophomore ended the game by getting a pair of fly balls.
“That was the best game he’s pitched so far this season,” Patenaude said of Bryant. “He got out of a few jams and he did a nice job.”
Over the weekend the Falcons picked up a 7-2 win against Sturgis West behind a solid outing from Matt Ziehl. The righty had a rough first inning, but settled down after getting out of a tough jam to allow seven hits with two walks, two hit batters and two strikeouts.