Extra time, as one might expect, only helped the eighth-seeded Clockers in the Division 3 South Sectional semifinal against the Sandwich baseball team on Wednesday, June 12.
Meeting Ashland at Braintree High School, fifth-seeded Sandwich matched them with seven scoreless innings before the Clockers plated two runs in the top of the eighth to hang on for a 2-1 victory—ending the Knights’ season in the process.
“We had a great season, going 19-5 with an ACL championship. That’s nothing to hang our heads about,” Sandwich head coach Brian Tomasini said after the game. “And all the special things this senior group accomplished. They’ve been a part of three ACL titles—two straight—and to cap it off with a 19-5 year and making it as far as we did is great. It obviously wasn’t the result we hoped for, but I’m very proud of these guys.”
Senior right-handed starter Dillon Ryan dazzled on the mound, pitching seven-plus innings and allowing two earned runs on five walks, three hits while striking out 11 Ashland batters. At one point he retired 16 of 18 batters, including 13 straight from the end of the second inning to the start of the seventh.
“He did exactly what he did all year. He battled and grinded a game out against a really good team. He gave us every chance to win and we just didn’t get the hits across for him,” Tomasini said. “He’s been tough all season and just special the last two years for us. He gave us a chance, like he always has, today.”
Unfortunately for Sandwich, Ashland’s right-handed starter Dominic Cavanough was equally as tough. The junior hurler pitched 7.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four.
The first three runners reached base for Ashland, loading the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth inning, ending Ryan’s day in the process. Jacob Lapp entered the high pressure situation, allowing a run to score on a wild pitch and giving up a sacrifice fly before working out of the jam to keep the Knights’ deficit at 2-0.
Tomasini opted for senior Josh Kutcher to pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth to hopefully jump start a comeback effort that the Knights had become accustomed to this season. He did not disappoint, lacing a single to left field on a two-strike pitch.
“Kutch is a special guy. We wanted to give him a chance to get up there and fire us up a little bit. We felt good about putting him in that type of spot against that type of pitcher,” Tomasini said. “He made us look pretty smart, but that’s just the type of kid he is.”
Luke Urribarri took his place on first base but was wiped on a 6-3 double play in the next at-bat. Zach Landry kept the Knights’ hopes alive after lifting a double down the right field line. He came around to score one batter later when Kevin Carrera singled to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
But Ashland recorded the final out via a strikeout to end the game.
“We talked about in our huddle before that inning that we’ve been able to do this all year since game one,” Tomasini said. “We’ve done it multiple times this year and unfortunately it was just a bad time to run out.”
The Knights reached the semifinal round after scoring a 7-4 road win against fourth-seeded East Bridgewater on Monday, June 10. John Tropea got the start, allowing three runs on two hits. He gave way to Tyler Wudyka, who picked up the win after throwing four innings of two-hit baseball, allowing one unearned run and striking out three.
Urribarri went 2-for-4 in the quarter final game, driving in a run and scoring a run while walking three times. Landry, Coleman and Carrera also drove in runs for the Knights, who chased the Vikings’ starter after just an 1.1 innings pitched.
Sandwich ended its season with a record of 19-5 and winning the final Atlantic Coast League title before moving on to the Cape & Islands League next season.