NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Todd Dulin scheduled a team like Malden Catholic early in the season to find out if his North Andover baseball team could compete against some of the better competition in the state. If Friday’s 7-5 comeback victory over the No. 10 Lancers (0-2) is a barometer for the No. 25 Scarlet Knights, then the rest of the Cape Ann League might start taking notice.
Mike Weisman gutted out an 11-strikeout, compete-game effort, and senior Cam Couillard hit the go-ahead two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning to give his team their and only lead of the game.
Dulin saw his team boot the ball around in their early season league loss to Andover, but this one might be a game that gets them rolling, according to the coach.
“I think it’s real important with their confidence,” said Dulin. “I just want them to feel that they can play with anyone. We want to try to play the best.”
Weisman wasn’t at his best to start the game. The lefty left a number of fastballs and breaking balls up in the zone and the Lancers took full advantage of it. Sean Glabickey parked a two-run homer to left field and Anthony Carbone narrowly missed another two-run dinger as he rapped one off the temporary fencing in center.
But Weisman started to settle in with his strong curveball, which he threw early in often against hitters in any count, and the results came. He struck out the side, with an error mixed in, in the second and finished with seven more punch-outs, including the final out of the game, over the last five innings.
“I was happy with the way (Weisman) pitched after the first inning,” said Dulin. “He was leaving stuff up and he didn’t seem to have the pop that he normally does. His velocity isn’t there yet, but once he started mixing his pitches it went well.”
The Scarlet Knights got the tying runs back in the bottom of the second inning off of three Lancer errors, and after the Lancers cracked Weisman again for two runs off a two-RBI double from Paul Yanakaplous in the top of the fourth, Couillard came through with a huge two-run double of his own to put the Scarlet Knights up 6-5. Couillard later came around to score the insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when he was trotted home off an issued walk to Brandon Walsh.
Flashing Some Leather
Overall, this was a sloppy game. Both teams had their share of bloopers in the infield and the outfielders had to deal with a tricky wind that made any fly ball an issue for either side.
But there were flashes of brilliance from both sides.
In what might be the catch of the year for Malden Catholic, or for any team, was when Yanakapoulos robbed a would-be go-ahead homer in the bottom of the fifth off the bat of Walsh.
Walsh smacked a deep ball to dead-center field and the Lancers’ centerfielder had a beat on the ball from the crack of the bat. He backed up, made a jumping catch and went head over heels over the temporary fence to come up with what looked like to be a game-saving catch for the Lancers.
The Scarlet Knights’ flash of brilliance might not have had the flashiness of the Yanakaplous’ grab, but Couillard came away with a game-saving play at short. With the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, and the Lancers up 5-4 looking to add to the lead, he made a good play on a tough hop to force the final out at second base.