LYNN — The third time was the charm for the English baseball team.
After dropping two games to Classical earlier this season, the Bulldogs refused to be denied in Friday’s 5-3 win in the opening round of the Nipper Clancy Tournament at Fraser Field.
“We weren’t thinking about the previous games,” English coach Doug Mullins said. “It’s the Clancy Tournament, that gives it a little more incentive. This could be a pick-up game and we still want to beat them. If definitely felt good. The kids earned it.”
Julien Silvestrie took the hill for English and tossed 5 ⅔ innings. Silvestrie allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out five.
“Julien was dominant,” Mullins said. “It makes calling pitches easier when we’re just rolling along. There’s no thinking about it. He controlled the diamond and he did everything we asked of him.”
Juan Subervi pitched 1 ⅓ innings in relief for the save.
Classical’s Aidan Dow went five innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits.
“The rivalry’s one thing,” Classical coach Mike Zukowski said, “so records are thrown out the window. It doesn’t matter that we beat them twice before. They’ve seen Aidan twice. He battled for us. He put us in positions to win but we shot ourselves in the foot. We made some bad mental mistakes and errors. That doesn’t help.”
English went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first and left the bases loaded in the second before finding the scoreboard in the third. Jomar Moreta singled, Andy Duverge walked and Erick Ubri (2-for-4, two runs) reached on a bunt to load the bases for Jose Morel (0-for-4, two RBI). Morel cashed in with a sac-fly. Subervi ripped a sharply-hit ground ball, allowing Duverge to score English’s second run on a Rams error. Silvestrie (1-for-3, RBI) capped the rally with a RBI single and the Bulldogs held a 3-0 lead.
Dow (1-for-2, two runs) notched Classical’s first hit of the night with a single in the fourth. Deniel Ortiz’s (1-for-2, RBI) RBI single brought Dow home, trimming the deficit to 3-1.
English got the run back in the fifth. Ubri singled to left-center and sprinted to third base on a Classical error. Morel followed with his second sac-fly, scoring Ubri and bumping the lead to 4-1.
A pair of Classical errors granted english another run when Ethan Labbe crossed home plate in the sixth.
“That’s not our brand of baseball,” Zukowski said. “We have to learn to eliminate those mistakes and stay on top of things.”
Brendan Lannon (1-for-3, RBI) scored Dow with a RBI double in the bottom half. Classical threatened for more with the bases loaded but English second baseman Louis Pina made a highlight-reel catch on a pop-fly to escape the jam.
“Louis has been up with the varsity for three games,” Mullins said. “He made a great catch and a couple nice plays in the seventh inning. He made the final out. He’s usually one of the most vibrant guys on the bench. (Friday) he was more even-keel. He adapted to the game.”
Nico Galeazzi (1-for-4) scored via error in the bottom of the seventh but English hung on for the 5-3 win.
English (12-5) takes on St. Mary’s in Saturday’s (12:30) championship game. Classical (13-5) takes on North Reading in the consolation tilt (10).