ATTLEBORO, Mass. -– Clinch the out-right Eastern Athletic Conference baseball championship?
Clinch the championship at the field of your archrival?
Clinch the championship with your ace pitcher on the mound?
Or to put it another way, Coyle-Cassidy, the 19th-ranked team in this week’s ESPNBOSTON.com’s poll, accomplished all it set out to accomplish Wednesday when it beat Feehan, 7-3, and swept the season series from the Shamrocks (12-4, 4-3).
“We wanted to win the league out-right today and not take it into the last game, which is Friday at Somerset,” Warriors coach Ken Lalli said of his team that’s 14-2-1 overall and 8-0 in the EAC. “This is a rivalry so this is a perfect setting to play Feehan for the league championship.
“Also, they have a pretty good overall record and we needed to bump them down a little for the overall seedings. This game was big for us and we were well-prepared.”
Without question Warriors senior right-hander Donny May was “well-prepared.”
In the process of going the distance, May allowed four hits (one of the infield variety), three runs (two earned) and two walks replete with 14 strikeouts.
Overall, May threw 74 of 112 pitches for strikes.
Moreover, May got stronger as the game progressed as witnessed by the fact that he struck out six Shamrocks over the last two innings.
“I trained hard this winter to go deep into games and I think it paid off, especially in this game,” May said. “Sometimes, especially on the road, it’s hard to get warmed up in the 30 minutes you have on the field. As the game goes on, I start to feel my arm feeling like it does when I do what it needs to do. I get pumping as the game goes on.
“Being in a high-intensity game makes your body a little bit more amped up and your adrenaline gets going.”
Coyle’s offense “got going” in the second inning when it strafed Sam McQuaid for four runs.
John Monihan and Travis Benson drew leadoff walks, and after Alex Turner fanned, Ryan Peck lashed an RBI single.
Hunter Klough followed with another RBI single and, after the second out, Ryan Kowalski belted a two-run double.
A third-inning error plus Turner’s double and Peck’s second single upped the Warriors lead to 6-0 which, in retrospect, was more than enough support May needed.
“I wanted to pitch the best game I possible could to give my team the motivation and inspiration to go out and get the win today and wrap up the season,” May said. “Feehan’s a great team. But I knew I had to come and compete against them and try my best to get these hitters out.
“I’ve been on my game. The last time we played them (a 3-1 Coyle victory on April 24 during which May tossed a five-hitter), I felt that way today.”
Feehan scored its first run in the second on Drew Briggs’ infield hit and added another run in the third on Brendan Tamul’s sacrifice fly.
Coyle tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Klough reach on an error and scored on Mac Curran’s groundout.
Despite Wednesday’s impressive performance, Lalli still felt there was room for improvement prior to the playoffs.
“I think we’re 90 percent there,” Lalli said. “We still have a lot of things to work on...things that can go wrong...things that we’ve seen go wrong this season that we’re trying to protect ourselves against happening to us.
“Also, we need to learn more ways to score some runs and learn to deal with distractions. That’s a huge thing especially going into the playoffs.”