ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
David Barnard pitched seven innings of shutout baseball in Classical’s win.
By STEVE KRAUSE
LYNN — For a game where both pitchers dominated, there were only four hits, and only one run, Wednesday’s 1-0 Lynn Classical baseball win over Danvers certainly had a lot of people talking afterward.
“That was a great ballgame,” said Danvers (11-2) coach Roger Day. “Tough way to lose, but then again, it’s tough to win when you get a game thrown against you like the one (Dave) Barnard threw against us.”
Barnard was brilliant. Going the distance while striking out only four, Barnard pitched to contact and got some great defense behind him in giving up only two hits while walking none.
“He started out trying too hard to spot his curveball,” said Classical coach Mike Zukowski. “We told him to just relax and throw it. And he started getting in there for strikes.
“David pounds the strike zone,” said Zukowski. “That’s why he’s been successful.”
Along the way, the Rams, now 13-0, threw the leather around pretty well. In the fourth inning, with one out, Danvers’ Matt Andreas hit one that looked ticketed to no-man’s land in short left. However, Andrew Moccia sprinted over to the foul line to make the grab with one hand, just as Sean Devin slid to get out of the way. Christian Burt and Herb Newton combined on a nifty play leading off the sixth inning, after Classical had scored its run, when he went far to his right to snare a grounder by Zach Turner, then threw across his body, bouncing the ball to first. Newton stayed with it, though, scooping it up for the out.
“We had to have those plays,” said Zukowski. “Without any one of them, it’s a different game.”
The lone run in the game came in the fifth inning, and it made a hard-luck loser out of Danvers pitcher Justin Roberto, who was just slightly less brilliant than Barnard. He, too, gave up only two hits and he also struck out four. But he walked a batter and, as is quite often the case, the base on balls led to the run.
Newton walked to leadoff, and Moccia, who tried to bunt, ended up striking out. Devin grounded into a force play for the second out, and when Kevin Durant hit a grounder to shortstop, the throw to second seemed a little slow. Tommy Mento caught it, but then dropped it, and Devin was safe.
That left it up to No. 9 hitter A.J. Luciano, who, earlier this season, found the hole between first and second to knock in two runs in Classical’s win over Saugus. He did the exact same thing again, only this time it was a soft line drive that fell in between second and right field. Devin scored all the way from second.
“He’s been hitting the ball really well,” said Zukowski. “We like where he is in the batting order, coming before the leadoff hitter. It’s a good turnaround.”
That left it up to Barnard, who retired the final six hitters without a baserunner. In the seventh, he got behind Mento 3-0 before coming back to get him on a fly ball to Devin in right, Andreas took Devin far over toward the left-field line for the second out, and Zach Dillon hit a grounder back to the box that Barnard fielded and threw to Newton for the final out.