OA Baseball Downs Sharon, Clinches State Tourney Berth
OA coach Leo Duggan stamps his 22nd tournament appearance in 24 seasons after a 4-3 win over Sharon
Nearly 24 hours after a dramatic 7-6 come from behind victory over New Bedford the Oliver Ames baseball team clinched a spot in the Division 2 State tournament with a narrow 4-3 triumph over arch-rival Sharon Wednesday afternoon at Frothingham Park.
With the win, OA head coach Leo Duggan secured his 22nd trip to the state tournament.
“We had a nice come from behind win yesterday and today we got a solid win,” Duggan reflected. “It’s nice to advance to the states again.”
After Sharon senior shortstop David Zabinsky (1-for-2, 2 walks) drove in two RBI’s with a single in the top of the third, the game took a dramatic turn in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs and John Foran on second base, OA center fielder Mike McMillan squeaked a single past Sharon first baseman Nahtan Pedersen. Then, with Foran being waived home, Eagles’ right fielder Caleb Englebourg fired a bullet at catcher Mitchell Goldenberg and from the looks of it Sharon appeared to leave the bottom of the third unscathed. However, the home plate umpire claimed Horan slid underneath the tag, giving the Tigers their first run of the game.
That call ultimately proved to be the turning point according to Sharon coach Joel Peckham.
“That was the game,” Peckham said. “We made some mistakes, but it looked like he [the umpire] was going to call him [Foran] out. I thought he tagged him before he got to the plate.”
Later in the inning, a throwing error helped score McMillan – who advanced to second base after Foran tied the game by scoring the first run.
Foran, who was 2-for-3 on the afternoon, came up with a clutch single in the bottom of the fourth to score Andrew Mancini, who singled earlier in the inning with one out. Outfielder Jim Sullivan doubled the Tigers’ lead to 4-2 with an RBI single of his own, scoring Kyle McGilvary.
After five solid innings from Troy Whitty (including six strikeouts), OA reliever Andrew Hetzel came in to deliver two solid innings of work strking out two to end the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
“Troy did a good job [starting],” Duggan said, “and give Andrew Hetzel credit. He came in and did a really nice job to close things out.
Sharon stranded 10 runners in scoring position.
“We had plenty of chances throughout the game to score more runs,” said Peckham. “We just couldn’t get that big hit when we really needed it.”
On the flipside, OA went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“That was good, effective, baseball,” Duggan said. “It’s going to help us out in the future.”
Despite the loss, Sharon pitcher David Roberto gave his team a chance to win with his effective curveball. The senior southpaw recorded five strikeouts while allowing just six hits and one walk through six innings.
OA improves to 10-2 on the season (9-2 Hockomock League, 5-0 Davenport Division), while Sharon drops to 9-4 (8-3 Hock, 4-2 Davenport).
Both teams return to the diamond Thursday. OA travels to Attleboro for an inter-division matchup at 3:30 p.m. while Sharon takes on Holliston in a non-league game (originally scheduled for April 21st) at 3:45 p.m.