Disaster 6th inning dooms North Andover in North semis

·4 min read

Jun. 27—NORTH ANDOVER — For all but one inning, the worn-down North Andover pitching staff was unhitable during Friday's Division 2 North semifinals.

In six out of seven innings, the No. 2-seeded Scarlet Knights did not surrender a single hit, and allowed just one walk, despite being unable to throw one ace and having limited access to the other due to pitch count limits.

No. 6 St. Mary's of Lynn, however, made the most of its one rally.

St. Mary's struck for six runs in the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate, and that was all the offense the Spartans needed to upset North Andover 6-1.

"We're disappointed," said North Andover (14-3) coach Todd Dulin. "But the kids fought all year. We were telling them that they were a terrific team to coach. To be able to play playoff games means everything to them. But St. Mary's is a very good team."

The game marked the seventh trip to at least the North semifinals in the last 15 seasons for North Andover, which most recently won the now-suspended Super 8 (Division 1A) state championship in 2019.

St. Mary's (18-6) advances to Monday's Division 2 North title game against Masconomet at Frazer Field in Lynn.

North Andover — coming off a 10-inning comeback win over Reading in the quarterfinals — appeared to be on the verge of taking command early on Friday.

In the bottom of the first, No. 2 hitter Sean Corliss doubled, stole second and scored on a Trevor Crosby single that found its way between the shortstop and third baseman. It was just the third run St. Mary's pitcher Aiven Cabral had allowed all season.

In the second, with a runner at second, No. 8 hitter CJ Carpentier nearly gave North Andover another run when he smoked a single to left-center. But the Knights' runner was thrown out at home plate.

"We were going to be aggressive," said Dulin. "If we had a chance to score, we were going to be super aggressive, because (Cabral) is so good. But their left fielder made a great play to throw the runner out at home."

With Northeastern-bound Brett Dunham unable to pitch after reaching his pitch limit on Wednesday, and UMass Lowell-bound Brendan Holland facing a strict pitch limit after his Tuesday start, North Andover turned to senior Peter Mann to start. He cruised through the first three innings, allowing just a first inning walk.

In the fourth, though, St. Mary's broke through.

Against three North Andover pitchers, the Spartans struck for all six runs on five hits and two walks before Crosby moved from third to end the rally.

"Peter pitched well," said Dulin. "But the 11 innings hurt us, and we let Holland linger a little too long on Tuesday. It was disappointing."

Ty Twombly came on for the Scarlet Knights in the fifth and pitched two perfect innings, striking out two. Holland came on in the seventh and delivered a 1-2-3 inning.

North Andover then mustered a final rally in the seventh. Aidan Lynch led off the inning with a single, Dave Johnson reached on an error and No. 9 hitter Paul Fernandez walked to load the bases with one out. But a force out at home and a strikeout ended the game.

Following the game, Dulin remained positive about what his team accomplished in a tough year.

"It was a special season," he said. "We are so grateful to be out here playing baseball after everything. The best day of the year was when we could take our masks off. This is a special team."

St. Mary's 6, North Andover 1

Division 2 North Semifinals

St. Mary's (6): Dante D'Ambrosio lf 4-0-1, Andrew Luciano cf 2-1-0, Aiven Cabral p 3-1-1, Terence Moynihan ss 3-1-1, Colby Magliozzi c 2-1-0, Zac Fisher 2b 3-1-1, Lucas Fritz dh 3-0-1, Tad Giardina rf 3-1-1, John Nowicki 3b 2-0-0, Jason Donahue ph 1-0-0, Ryan Fraher 1b 0-0-0. Totals 26-6-6

North Andover (1): Derek Finn ss 4-0-0, Sean Corliss cf 4-1-1, Brett Dunham lf 3-0-0, Trevor Crosby 3b/p 3-0-2, Andrew Perry 1b 3-0-0, Aidan Lynch rf 3-1-1, Nick Ankiewicz dh 2-0-0, Dave Johnson ph 1-0-0, CJ Carpentier c 2-0-1, Aiden Trundy cr 0-0-0, Paul Fernandez 2b 2-0-0, Peter Mann p 0-0-0, Adam Lawrence p 0-0-0, Ty Twombly p 0-0-0, Brendan Holland p 0-0-0. Totals 27-1-5

RBI: NA — Crosby; SM — D'Ambrosio 2, Cabral, Fisher, Fritz, Giardina

WP: Cabral; LP: Mann

St. Mary's (18-6): 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 — 6

North Andover (14-3): 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1