DORCHESTER, Mass. -- Much like the rain, which manifested itself as cold-soup humidity over waterlogged B.C. High baseball fields, the Wachusett Regional baseball team hung around but never broke through.
The Mountaineers (14-6) kept No. 2 B.C. High on its heels, but a combination of defensive miscues and stranded runners allowed the Eagles (12-5) to walk away with a 3-1 win. B.C. High leaned on the right arm of senior Tommy McDonald, who struck out nine Wachusett batters in a complete-game performance.
McDonald improved to 7-0 with the win.
“He's a horse. He struggled at times, but when it's time to close the deal, he closes the deal,” said B.C. High head coach Norm Walsh. “He stepped in there during the last inning and just struck all three out. That's just what he does.”
Wachusett had several defensive gaffes during the first three innings, and the Eagles were able to capitalize. During the bottom of the third inning, B.C. High's Sean Webster reached base on a bunt single and moved to third on a Ryan Tufts double to center field. Tommy Landry belted a shot to center, scoring Webster, but was caught in a pickle between first and second. As the Mountaineer infield concentrated on tagging Landry, Tufts rounded third and scored, putting the Eagles up 3-0.
B.C. High scored its first run in similar fashion. With Webster on third and Tufts on first, Tufts attempted to steal second but got stuck in no-mans land on a clever pickoff move by Wachusett pitcher C.J. Doskocil. The Wachusett infield, closing on Tufts, turned its attention to Webster, who was storming home. The throw home was late, and both runners were safe.
“We got off a long bus ride, and in the first three innings we let them have a few. We just gave too good of a team too many opportunities, and they executed,” said Wachusett head coach Matt Gull.
Wachusett was able to get on base early and often, but B.C. High's McDonald worked himself out of a number of jams. The Mountaineers also forced the big righty to throw a lot of pitches –- including a 12-pitch battle with Connor Gill in the fourth inning, which ended with a pop out to right field.
“They gave Tommy a real hard time up there and made him throw a lot of pitches. I thought they were really competitive,” Walsh said. “They made him work really, really hard. They're definitely a good team, and there's a reason they're the No. 2 team in Central Mass.”
Doskocil, Wachusetts' senior lefty, had a strong outing for the Mountaineers. He had five strikeouts in a complete-game performance and used an array of off-speed pitches to induce a number of ground balls from a usually hard-hitting Eagles team.
Doskocil also had an RBI in the fourth inning when he brought home Owen Gibbons.
“C.J. just had a great game for us out there. He didn't have great support behind him, but he really threw a tough game for us, and he really threw hard against a great lineup,” Gull said. “I applauded him out there when we met as a group. He went out and kept us in the game and made pitches when he needed to. I know the guys behind him didn't try to make errors, but it didn't really seem to affect him when they did. He kept throwing his game.”
Temperature Drop: When the Wachusett baseball team got on the bus and started to head east, it was 92 degrees out, according to Gull. By the time the Mountaineers showed up to B.C. High, it was 52 degrees, windy and wet.
While he acknowledged that the quick climate change was unexpected, Gull said it didn't affect his team too much.
“They're kids, they're fine. It's all of us on the sidelines that have to deal with it,” he said.
Walsh indicated that the temperature didn't have a big role in the way his team played, but the gusting ocean winds may have taken some power out of his lineup.
“It changed the way we played a little bit. The wind was blowing in, and we hit some balls really hard that didn't go anywhere. That's life. That's the way the game is. However, we hit more line drives than fly balls, so that was good,” he said.
Playoff Practice: While Wachusett came away from Tuesday's game with a loss, Gull saw it as an opportunity to get ready for the playoffs.
The Mountaineers are one of the better teams in Central Massachusetts and will likely have to face a team like B.C. High down the road.
“We've lost a little bit, but that's not always a bad thing this time of year. We just need to get it out of our system and get focused a little bit for the playoffs,” Gull said. “At some point, we're going to have to play that caliber of team. We have a few teams in Central Mass that –- I don't want to say are B.C.'s caliber –- but you've got some teams that you've got to be ready for."