LYNN– This wasn’t the way the English baseball team hoped its postseason run would play out.
The No. 5 Bulldogs hung tight with No. 12 Malden Catholic in Friday’s Division 1 North first-round clash through the early going but the Lancers pulled away with seven runs in a huge fourth inning for a 10-1 win at Fraser Field.
“Malden Catholic put the ball in play, they hit the ball hard and they had a few singles that snuck in there,” English coach Doug Mullins said. “They put pressure on us. Then that one inning they just came through with clutch hitting. We were one big play away from getting out of it but that’s just the way baseball works sometimes. They just tacked on run after run.”
The Bulldogs got off to a tough start in the top of the first. Lucas Dascoli and Joe Ward started the rally with back-to-back singles. No. 3 hitter Chris Peguero followed with a bloop single that fell in between third base and left field, loading the bases. In stepped cleanup batter Hayden Bond, who laced a 2-run single and gave the Lancers a swift lead. Malden Catholic threatened for more but English starter Julien Silvestrie escaped the jam with help from a 4-6-3 double play.
Dascoli pushed the lead to 3-0 with a RBI groundout in the top of the second, scoring Nico Alex.
English closed the gap to 3-1 in the bottom of the third. Anthony Mateo singled to lead the frame and crossed home plate on a Malden Catholic error when Jose Morel sent a sharply-hit ground ball through the infield.
Then it went downhill in a hurry for English. Malden Catholic caught steam in the top of the fourth and blew the game open at 10-1. It started with consecutive 2-run doubles from Peguero and Bond. Adam Braid highlighted the inning with a 2-run home run and Daniel Marshall added a RBI double.
“They had clutch hits in that inning,” Mullins said. “They scored seven runs. You take that away, which of course you can’t, and it’s a different ball game. In that inning they got the key hits they needed. If we make one or two more plays we might’ve been able to get out of it but at the end of the day you have to tip your cap to them.”
Reliever Ethan Labbe kept the Lancers quiet through the closing stages but the Bulldogs didn’t have a comeback in store.
“Ethan was unbelievable,” Mullins said. “He’s been unbelievable all season out of the bullpen. Things happened in that fourth inning and we had to make a change on the fly. He came in, he battled and he wanted the ball.”
Not all is lost for the Bulldogs. English returns a solid nucleus of experienced underclassmen next season after the program took a good step forward this spring.
“On the way out I thanked my seniors,” Mullins said. “While they’re going out on a loss (Friday), there’s no doubt they’re going out on a win. They sent this program in the right direction based on the way they handled themselves all year. They set us up for success down the line. It’s good for my underclassmen to learn from them.
“We have a lot of talent coming in,” Mullins said. “The seniors helped build this. This loss hurts but it’s just a step in the right direction.”
Boston English 2, Winthrop 0
The No. 12 Vikings couldn’t get the offense going in the Division 4 North opening round. Winthrop ends the season 6-15.
Fenwick 11, Ipswich 8
At Stephen E. Donaldson Stadium, the Crusaders advanced to the Division 3 North semifinal for the first time in program history. Fenwick featured eight different goal scorers in the win. Diego Alvarez-Segee, Nico Pasciuto and Derek DelVecchio each scored two goals. Nick Muzi, Stefano Fabiano, Robbie Favuzza, Brian Harrington and Joe Rivers scored one goal apiece. Muzi and Favuzza each had two assists.
No. 3 Fenwick travels to No. 1 Austin Prep Monday night (7).