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Super 8: Silver Lake 8, Braintree 3

KINGSTON, Mass. -- Anthony Videtto had a flu bug that led to a high fever earlier in the week, but it was his arm that was hot on Thursday afternoon as he led Silver Lake to an 8-3 victory over visiting Braintree in an opening round game of the Super 8.

“Going into the game I had no idea what I would get out of him. He had the flu earlier in the week. He had a 101-degree temperature on Monday. The legs are a little rubbery,” said Lakers coach Kenny Tocci.

“I tried to get some better sleep and drink a lot of fluids. I’m still recovering, but I’ll be fine,” said Videtto matter-of-factly.

The sophomore struck out nine batters over nine complete innings and his teammates were opportunistic at the plate scoring four runs each in the second and fourth innings.

“Anthony has been great all year long. You saw it today,” said Tocci. “Any time you can beat a solid program like Braintree, it is a good win.”

Junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Tanner Bouchard was the main offensive hero, knocking in three base runners with a bases clearing double on a 3-2 count in the bottom of the second inning.

“Tanner has a flare for the dramatic. He’s been scuffling a little bit lately. Balls haven’t been falling in for him, but he doesn’t get upset,” explained Tocci. “He had a good at bat. He worked his way back in. He got something he could drive and he did.”

He added, “That’s Tanner for you. He usually comes up big in big spots. He’s the kind of kid you want up in that spot."

The Lakers had 12 hits on the game, but made the most of their chances with offensive explosions each time they loaded the bases. William Gallagher’s second inning single brought in the first Silver Lake run of the game before Bouchard’s big blast.

Three consecutive RBI singles by Matthew Cauchon, Videtto and Joshua O’Neill helped boost the Lakers lead to 8-1 after four innings.

Braintree would inch closer over the next two innings on an RBI single by Erik MacDonald and a big homerun over the left field fence by third baseman Connor Columbus, but that was as close as Bill O’Connell’s Wamps would get.

Videtto stymies Wamps: Videtto, who struck out nine while allowing only five hits and walking just two Braintree batters over nine complete innings, was the striking force behind Silver Lake’s victory.

“I feel fine. It feels like just seven,” said Videtto of the extra two innings for the postseason game. “It’s just a little bit longer.”

The young pitcher admitted to feeling slightly more pressure than usual for the big tournament game, but he showed no signs of being rattled.

“There were definitely a little bit of butterflies, but after the first few innings you just focus on the game and throw strikes,” said Videtto.

Explained Tocci, “Anthony has ice running through his veins. Nothing rattles him. Nothing is too much for him. Whether we’re up 8-3 or he’s got runners in scoring position in big spots, he bares down and makes the pitches he has to."

Videtto credited his offense with helping to relieve some of the pressure with some early run support.

“We scored a lot of runs early. I was able to just focus on throwing strikes. I knew if I let up a few runs we’d still be OK,” said Videtto.

Videtto did a terrific job of finding the plate with his off-speed pitches, something that kept Braintree batters off balance and guessing all game.

“My off-speed stuff was working well. I was able to fool them with some first pitch strikes then come back with the fastball. It had them off balance. It got them to strikeout, hit dinky hits in the infield and fly-outs,” explained Videtto.

Lakers opportunistic: Silver Lake only had two innings where it seriously threatened to score, but the Lakers took advantage each time. Tocci’s team belted out four runs each in the second and fourth innings.

“We’re aggressive. I’m not hiding any facts here, but the plate discipline was good. We’ve been preaching that we can’t waste at bats with better pitching in the tournament,” said Tocci.

Bouchard struck out three times, but his three-run double was a key early shot in the arm for the Lakers. They hit with runners in scoring position. Cauchon, Videtto, O’Neill and Gallagher all had two hits apiece in the victory.

“We ran into a good team today. They had some timely hits. They had that big three-run double and a couple hits here and there,” said O’Connell of his opposition.

Silver Lake will look to keep rolling on the winning track in a second round matchup against the winner of Catholic Memorial and Newton North, a game that was suspended in the 14th inning with the score tied 4-4. The game will resume on Friday afternoon.

Braintree’s second life: It wasn’t the start to the tournament that O’Connell was looking for, but his Wamps worked hard all season to earn a berth in the Super 8 – a feat that will allow them a second chance in the postseason.

“We played well enough throughout the year to get this opportunity to get another game,” explained O’Connell.

O’Connell was surprised by the uncharacteristic struggles of his starting pitcher Bobby McNiff, but emphasized that the loss can’t be blamed on the junior hurler.

“We weren’t real sharp on the bump today. It kind of trickled down to everyone else. We’ve been real sharp on the mound all year, but that’s what happens when you face these great teams,” explained O’Connell.

The Wamps will face the loser of Catholic Memorial and Newton North -- which was suspended in the 14th inning tonight, and will resume Friday afternoon -- on Sunday at noon at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

“If they can’t get excited to go over and play at Brockton Rox Stadium, there is something wrong with them. We have a couple days to regroup,” said O’Connell.