MARLBORO – Sometimes it takes a few innings to start, to get the timing against an unknown pitcher.
Still, once the seeded Leominster baseball team faced Westboro at Marlboro High School on Friday, the floodgates slowly opened and a torrent of racing ensued.
The Blue Devils claimed their 13th consecutive victory and advanced to the final of the Central Mass Athletic Directors Tournament on Tuesday. Thanks in part to timely hitters and first-year pitcher Angel Baez who locked him out, as LHS beat the Rangers, 7-0.
The win takes Leominster to 14-1 and will meet Shrewsbury or St. Paul’s of Worcester for the crown in Marlboro at 7pm.
Longtime LHS coach Rich Barnaby was absolutely thrilled with the victory, which started with a run in third, two in fourth, and then a four in fifth to give the Devils a place in the tournament final. Central Mass. .
“We did a good job of manufacturing today,” Barnaby said. “We got into a hit and run, we took third base on that, and Ryan Fava – who always seems to be in that situation, with a runner in third and an out – he knows how to get those free RBIs. . We moved the guys into the fourth, Tony Salvatelli gets a good shot. Tyler Smith had a good cavity and we were able to open it.
“What we were able to do was run in pressure situations, and we got the points. (Westboro) had runners all day, but they couldn’t get the big shot to get them in. runners. “
Westboro pitcher (11-5) Arthur McMahon sent the seed in order in each of the first two innings, but that changed in the third.
Eamon Durkan started off with a hit in the opposite field, before Nico Martinez found himself third. On the play, however, Durkan noticed that no one was covering the third base sack and rushed to the base. Three lengths later, Fava failed, bringing in Durkan.
It was a lot, in fact, for Brendan Arsenault as he claimed his fifth victory of the 2021 season with more than five innings of scoreless work. He fanned two and scattered five hits, and came out of a jam in the second inning.
He threw 80 shots before Barnaby lifted him without an out in the top of the sixth and two runners on base after putting Nick Choate on.
“He’s a competitor,” Barnaby said. “He knows his defense is behind him and he’s not giving away any free bases. And then we put the freshman at the end; he’s going to be a dominant force in this league for years to come.
“I told him this was a big spot, and everyone will know who you are after that for the next four years.” It’s your exit party.
Baez struck out his first hitter on sticks on his sixth pitch before running Carter Bentley to charge the bases. But the rookie buckled up and struck out the next two hitters to stoke the side and leave the bases blocked.
He then went 1-2-3 early in the seventh to end the game.
“He’s proven with a loaded base and hasn’t cleared any races that this is a sign of what’s to come with Angel,” Barnaby added. ” He is incredible. I am dizzy, knowing that I have it for three more years. He started against Shrewsbury, one of the best teams in Central Mass., And took the win. He’s kept a good Shrewsbury side off the board, and he has that special something that our young pitchers have.
“The future of pitching personnel looks really bright.
Leominster added two points in the half of the fourth.
McMahon walked Sean Dutton a walk before Evan McCarthy struck hard from the right side, narrowly missing Dutton to put the runners in first and second. Short Nick Garcia’s Grounder advanced the runners before Arsenault helped his own cause with a Grounder in the third to deliver Dutton with the second inning of the match.
McCarthy then scored on a Savatelli single to the left, giving Leominster a 3-0 advantage.
LHS then fought and had four runs on four hits in the fifth.
Martinez found himself tackled before Fava beat a throw from the shortstop. Tyler Smith then stopped, catching the unprepared Rangers, to charge the bases.
With the infield pulled, Dutton’s second scorer was off line and Martinez slipped safely to give Leominster the advantage, 4-0. McCarthy then hit a rocket in the outfield, rescuing Fava.
Two batters later, Arsenault scored in two runs to complete the score.