QUINCY, Mass. -- The pressure hasn’t gotten to Braintree. After an opening game loss to Silver Lake in the MIAA Super 8 Baseball Tournament, the Wamps have reeled off three straight victories, including Friday afternoon’s 3-1 triumph over Lincoln-Sudbury in the Loser's (One-Loss) Bracket semifinal.
“I’m ecstatic. I can’t say enough. We’re just a gutsy and resilient group. They have great chemistry. They really enjoy each other’s company. They love coming to practice,” said head coach Bill O’Connell.
Sophomore pitcher Scott Creedon threw a nine-inning complete game, allowing just one run, to pick up the victory that sends Braintree to the loser’s bracket final against Bridgewater-Raynham, Sunday night at Brockton's Campanelli Stadium.
“I can’t say enough about our 15 year-old sophomore. What an effort by Scott Creedon,” stated O’Connell. “He’s just got that composure on the mound. A lot of guys might have better ability or throw the ball harder, but he’s got it.”
“Scotty Creedon pitched really well, but we didn’t get the big hits. [Braintree] got a couple. We didn’t and they did. That’s why the Wamps are moving on. They’re a good team and they deserve it,” said Fredericks.
Said Creedon, “I think that loss made us real hungry to get some wins. We obviously didn’t play our ‘A’ game that first game. We’re battling every game. We’re hitting the ball, throwing strikes and playing defense."
The Wamps’ battery-mates pushed across the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the second. Catcher Gino LaRossa’s double plated Cal Berman. Creedon immediately followed with a single to score LaRossa.
Just like that, the Wamps were up 2-0. The score stayed that way until Scott Holzwasser reached on a bloop single to lead off the top of the fourth for the Warriors. He would eventually score on a fielder’s choice groundout by Alex Wieland.
Matt Bickford gave the Wamps some breathing room with a clutch two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth that scored Connor Columbus.
“Matt Bickford had a big two-out RBI for us. That gave us a little insurance there,” said O’Connell.
The Wamps had a few other chances to break the game open, but the Warriors did a good job of battling and hanging tough.
“[Lincoln-Sudbury] is a pesky team. They wouldn’t let us pull away. I felt like we had some opportunities to open up the game, but it shows what type of team they are to keep it close,” said O’Connell.
Senior Tommy Novick did a nice job in relief, coming on in the fourth inning to relieve Owen Bautze. He allowed just one run over his five innings of work.
“He’s come in and given us a chance to win all tournament long. He’s a football player. He’s a competitor. If you had 22 Tommy Novick’s, your team would be successful,” said Fredericks.
Creedon heats up: There was no stopping Wamps starter Scott Creedon on Friday afternoon. The sophomore pitched allowed just four hits while throwing a lot of strikes and letting his fielders do most of the work.
“They got the bat on the ball. The defense played well. Connor Columbus had a couple good plays and Eric MacDonald in centerfield,” explained Creedon, crediting his defense.
It was Creedon’s second win of the tournament, proving that even the youngest of players can perform well in pressure situations.
“He’s got what it takes to pitch in big situations," O'Connell said. "He’s pitched in all our big games this year. He’s pitched against BC High, Newton North and CM."
Creedon got better as the game went along, mixing up his pitches for strikes and seeming more in control on the mound.
“I had trouble holding the ball to start the game just like last time, but as I went on I felt more comfortable. I got my grips down,” explained Creedon. “I got the changeup going. I had everything working late in the game. I felt stronger as I went on in the game.”
“Scotty doesn’t want to come off the mound. We were thinking about getting him out, but then he got in a groove there. In innings five, six and seven, he didn’t throw too many pitches,” said O'Connell.
LaRossa’s leadership: Both pitcher and manager credit LaRossa, the senior captain who is headed to UMass to play ball, with a calming presence behind the plate.
“Gino helped me out behind the plate," Creedon said. "He settles me down. I get fired up. He calms me down. He gets in front of every ball. He’s obviously a great baseball player."
Said O'Connell, “Having [LaRossa] back there is an underrated thing. He’s fantastic. No pass balls. He keeps everything in front of him. He does a great job framing. He had a beautiful throwout to second base."
Pathak’s Web Gem: It was a tough end to a great season for Lincoln-Sudbury, but there was a highlight for the Warriors in the bottom of the third with Braintree batting.
Centerfielder Kieran Pathak made all three putouts in the inning, including a sure fire ESPN Baseball Tonight-esque web gem. A deep fly ball caused him to have to move back and towards left field. As he was tracking the ball down, he made a final dive for it coming up with a beauty of a snag.
“Kieran has made about six plays like that this year. Not as good, but pretty close," Fredericks said. "If you watch him run to first base, he’s not that fast, but he gets great jumps on the ball. There isn’t a player I’d rather have in centerfield."