When Oliver Ames pitcher David MacKinnon took the mound in the bottom of the seventh of the South Sectional quarterfinals against Hingham Wednesday, there was little doubt he'd protect the Tigers' 6-0 lead.
MacKinnon had retired the previous five batters and only allowed one hit and four total base runners in the game to that point.
And, when it mattered most, he only excelled.
The junior captain struck out the side to end the game, complete his one-hitter, and advance No. 7 Oliver Ames [14-8] to the South Sectional semifinals against Plymouth North Thursday, 7 p.m. at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
"He was getting stronger as the game went on," Oliver Ames head coach Leo Duggan said. "The last four or five outs were either strikeouts or [ground outs]."
A combination of timely hits and solid defense helped Mackinnon get the win and upset the No. 2 seeded Harbormen.
Falling to 15-4 to end the season, Hingham coach Frank Niles didn't get the best out of his team Wednesday.
"We played poor defense all game long," he said. "[Pitcher Rob] Madden battled. He was an excellent pitcher all year but we couldn’t get outs defensively."
Hingham's troubles started from the get-go.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the first inning but were unable to score. But, the lower third of OA's order didn't miss a beat in the top of the second.
Junior Brad Fleming led off with double. Senior Matt Ingargiola followed with a walk and junior Greg Cummings connected for an RBI single.
"Brad got that seeing eye double, which was a big one and Greg got a nice hit," Duggan said. "Just about everyone in our lineup got a hit."
With the additional help of an RBI groundout from senior Jim Sullivan, a scored run from MacKinnon and an RBI single from senior Andrew Mancini, the Tigers completed a four-run rally in the second to give them a comanding lead early.
Sullivan, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, capped off the day with a 2 RBI single in the third to drive in Fleming and Ingargiola and solidify the lead for the Tigers.
Madden, a senior, was able to slow down the Tigers in the 4th and 5th innings before being relieved by Junior Billy Boynton.
"Boynton did a very good job and he’s had a good year in a variety of different of different roles," Niles said.
Oliver Ames was energized after four days of rest following Friday's first round win over Pembroke. Wednesday's game had been postponed twice due to weather.
The Harbormen, who were playing on 12 days rest after receiving a first round bye, saw the showers wash away their upper hand.
"The seed and the bye didn’t really help us because whatever advantage it gave us got washed away," Niles said. "[MacKinnon] obviously is an excellent pitcher. He might not be their winningest, but he’s excellent. Who knows, if we could have played on Monday, the advantage could have stayed – not to say we didn’t get beat handily today."
"You’ve still got to come out and play baseball. It’s not the reason we got beat."
With No. 6 Plymouth North looming in the South Sectional Semifinal round, the Tigers will have plenty to play for.
A revenge factor could be attached to Thursday's match-up.
The Blue Eagles are the same team that knocked off the Tigers in the quarterfinals during the 2010 season when OA had recorded an undefeated regular season.
"Tomorrow’s a different world with Plymouth North," Duggan said.