LYNN — A great pitching performance by Beverly’s Mike Urbanski in relief and clutch hitting from the top of the order added up to a 5-1 win against Burlington at Fraser Field on Wednesday, sending the No. 3 Panthers to the Division 2 North Final.
Beverly totaled eight hits during the game, seven of which came from the first four batters in the Panthers order.
“That was the MVP of the Middlesex league, 9-1 with 6 shutouts and we hit him pretty good,” Beverly head coach Dave Wilbur said of Burlington pitcher Joshua Becker. “Our bats came alive.”
Spencer Brown (2-for-3, two doubles and three RBI) and Tim McCarthy (3-for-3, three runs) led the offense for Beverly. Matt Collins and Nick Berry each also added an RBI single.
Panthers starting pitcher Kyle Cravatis struggled early, walking three of the first four batters he faced, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning with one out. However, Cravatis battled back to force a fly ball that was caught in foul territory and then notched a strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, McCarthy started things off with a leadoff double and was then moved to third after a sacrifice bunt from Collins. In his first at bat, Brown sent a high fly ball to left field that was misplayed, bringing McCarthy home and advancing Brown to third base. Berry would later drive Brown in to score, giving Beverly a 2-1 lead.
Cravatis had trouble again in the second, allowing a hit and then hitting a batter early in the inning. A catcher’s interference call loaded the bases before No. 10 Burlington’s Sean Casey hit a RBI single. That prompted Wilbur to pull Cravatis for Urbanski in relief.
Urbanski forced the next batter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the inning and sustaining a 2-1 Beverly lead.
“We were fortunate to get out of the first couple innings when they loaded the bases, things could have broken open there,” Wilbur, who was named the Northeastern Conference coach of the year, said. “Kyle gave us what he could give us, he didn’t let things get out of hand but we just thought the best thing for the team at that point was to put in Mike.”
Urbanski rolled through the Burlington order from there on out with help from his defense, allowing no earned runs on three hits while recording two strikeouts and allowing one walk.
“The run support really helped because I knew the guys were backing me up the whole time,” Urbanski said. “I was just pitching for contact because I trust my defense.”
The Panthers added more runs in the third, after another leadoff double by McCarthy led to him being driven in by Collins on an RBI single. Brown then sent a ball to deep left-center field for an RBI double putting the Panthers up 4-1.
One more insurance run was added by Brown in the fifth when he recorded his second RBI double, scoring McCarthy.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Wilbur said of Brown’s success at the plate. “He works hard, he’s always in the cage. We had batting practice today at 1:30 and at 12:30 he was down the park
with his dad. He’s just feeling it and he’s doing a great job.”
Beverly will play the winner of the No. 1 Masconomet and No. 12 Arlington semifinal game in the Division 2 North final Saturday (7) at Lelacheur Park in Lowell.