BRIDGEWATER, Mass -– The Bridgewater-Raynham baseball team can breathe a sigh of relief.
It won't have to face Hingham High School again this season.
The No. 8 Trojans fell to the Harbormen 6-2 in a sloppy game that saw a litany of errors, passed balls and wild pitches. It was the second time the Division 2 South power beat B-R (15-5) this year. On April 27, the Trojans lost 14-11 in a makeup game.
“We've had a pretty good year, we really have, but it was really a little bit disappointing to finish the season like that,” said Trojans coach John Kearney. “Hingham is a good team. We've been fighting for seeding, and I was kind of hoping that the kids would come out and be a little more focused. I just thought we were a little off-kilter, and we're not that bad of a team. We looked like a very weak, poor team out there.”
Hingham (13-5) was led by senior righty Billy Boynton, who pitched a complete game for the Harbormen. Boynton reached into his four-pitch arsenal -- fastball, curve, slider, change up -– to induce a series of pop outs while striking out five Trojan batters.
Despite getting touched up in the fourth and sixth innings, Hingham coach Frank Niles had confidence leaving his starter in.
“He's a senior, and he's getting better as the years go on,” he said. “I've had him for two years, and he throws strikes and mixes things up. He responds to the pitching coach, and he can throw what he needs when he needs to.”
Hingham jumped on B-R righty Jack Connolly early in the second inning and rode three throwing errors, a walk and a balk to three runs. Connolly, who has emerged as the Trojans' ace this season, had trouble placing his fastball and frequently found himself down in the count. The sophomore allowed two more runs in the fourth -- following a fielding error and a dropped third strike -- and was replaced by senior Cody Medeiros in the fifth inning.
“(Connolly) was missing a little bit on his fastball today. He didn't quite have the fastball that he normally has. He's been our ace, and he's pitched all our big games this year. He's only a sophomore, and he's going to have his ups and downs,” Kearney said. “He was scuffling a little bit out there, and you need your defense to pick you up when you're scuffling. The defense didn't bail him out.”
Medairos gave up a run in the sixth inning when Hingham's Brett Tivnan raced home on a wild pitch.
Kearney hopes his usually hard-hitting team, which scattered hits and put up runs in the fourth and sixth innings, can rebound and get ready for the state playoffs.
“If we have another game like that, we're not going to last very long in the tournament. It's going to be one and done,” he said. “You can have all the pitching in the world –- and I think we do have very good pitching –- but you're not going to go anywhere with that defensive performance.”
Timely Closer: Medeiros made his first appearance of the 2013 campaign after missing the majority of the season with a shoulder injury. The senior is a flame-throwing righty with a methodical delivery and will likely be B-R's closer heading into the playoffs.
“We haven't had him all year. He just got cleared medically. He had a shoulder issue that he's been rehabbing the entire season....It's nice to have him back. I thought that was a big bright spot from today,” Kearney said. “He'll be that closer-type guy. The way he throws, he's built ideally for that.”
Medeiros was consistently hitting in the high 80s and low 90s on the radar gun and combined his heater with a tight curve that kept Hingham batters guessing. In two innings of work, he struck out four Harbormen.
Test Prep: Hingham doesn't face too many teams with Bridgewater-Raynham's talent and depth throughout the year. Niles believes playing teams of that caliber helps come playoff time.
“They present much more of a challenge with their hitting lineup then anybody we've faced. They're physical throughout the lineup, so you have to execute,” he said. “You have to throw quality strikes, not just strikes.”
He added that the Trojans' pitching is particularly tough to figure out. While the Harbormen were able to put up runs on a number of B-R errors, they also struck out 13 times.
“It's good for us to be in these kind of games and see this kind of pitching. I have no idea how much we struck out today … it must have been double figures,” he said. “If this doesn't prepare us, then we can't be prepared.”
Niles was was glad that Boynton could post a complete game –- it was almost a necessity. The Harbormen play Weymouth on Friday, and over the weekend will participate in the Reading Memorial Day Tournament. Dipping into the bullpen would have made the the final days of the season tough on the Hingham staff.
“We're not in a position to throw a lot of logs in the fire, so to speak,” Niles said.