WORCESTER, Mass. -- One inning meant all the difference for a seasoned Burncoat boys' baseball team on Friday afternoon.
After battling with Worcester Tech for five innings, the senior-laden Patriots (4-0) burst out for eight runs in the sixth to help put away their crosstown host, 13-4.
“Their pitcher did an awesome job of (pitching) different speeds,” said Burncoat coach Brian Sargent. “We went through the order (that inning). We made them make plays or not make plays.”
Returning 11 seniors from a team that had reached the Division I central semi-finals last year, the Patriot upperclassmen stormed through the sixth inning with ten knocks. Planting a pair of long drives a few yards out of reach for their opponents and capitalizing on six total errors, Burncoat began the run with nine straight hits.
A frozen rope left-field single by Ryan O'Connor started the scoring for the Patriots, while a dropped pop fly hit from Regan Aghdam and a low slicing drive by Sean McGrail put the Inter-High League sluggers up 10-0.
“Seeing first pitch strikes,” said Sargent. “They were kind of waiting for the curveball and different stuff. Just get up in the box and swing.”
Worcester Tech (0-3) responded in their next at bat by putting the first seven batters on base, but were unable to topple such a large deficit. Short outfield singles by senior Jake Dacri, junior Brenden Matthews, and sophomore Brandon Hanlon loaded the bases early for the Eagles.
A thrown away pitch and a left outfield dribbler by junior Anthony Rovezzi helped clear the plates for a 10-3 deficit. A double RBI by senior John Lakaitis in two at bats proved the Inter-High clubs final run.
“Not catching a few fly ball, a couple mental mistakes here and there, and us not getting the key hits when we needed them,” said first-year Worcester Tech coach Patrick McKeon. “I told them to 'Stay aggressive and go up to get your swings. We just could not get the runs across in the last inning.”
O'Connor (RBI, one run), Aghdam (two runs), and senior Joe McCarthy (RBI) all had three hits for Burncoat. Fellow upperclassmen Charles Barbon, who lead the Patriots with a .532 average last year, was perfect at the plate with four singles and two runs.
“We were trying to go the other way so we did not get in front of the ball,” said Aghdam. “Let the ball travel.”
A botched throwout at first, an on-the-wall triple by senior Quinn Moynihan and a powerful single by Aghbam added three runs of insurance in the Patriots' final at bat.
Burncoat had edged ahead 2-0 earlier off a low-driving double from senior Ryan O'Connor in the fourth to bring home Aghdam and a ground-out to first with two runners on by senior Quinn Moynihand in the fifth.
“I got three straight curves and a fastball,” said Aghdam. “I was trying to not do too much and let the ball travel. We had to wake up sometime.”
Senior starting pitcher Sean McGrail went six innings with five strikeouts for the win for Burncoat, while giving up four runs, sevens walks and 11 hits. Eagles senior Andrew Montiverdi battled six innings for five strikeouts, while dropping 15 hits, 12 runs, and three walks.
“Mentally (McGrail) knows he has to get outs,” said Sargent. “He walked a lot today, but he knew just to hold off and give our offense a chance.”