On the back of a complete game shutout from pitcher Travis Lane ’18, Andover knocked off Poly Prep Country Day School, the formerly 21st-ranked high school baseball team in the country, by a score of 3-0. The road shutout on Saturday, along with an 8-1 win over Belmont Hill on Friday at home and 8-1 win at Cushing on Wednesday, improved Andover’s record to 5-0.
Against Poly Prep, Lane was able to pitch the complete game because of his extreme efficiency. The right hander was able to get outs at an incredible pace, averaging under four pitches per batter and under 13 pitches per inning.
Lane said, “My game plan is to get ahead in the count early and put opposing batters in tough situations where they are behind in the count. This helps lead to quick at-bats which leads to quick inning which eventually leads to a quick and efficient game.”
“On Saturday it seemed like all my pitches were working for me. My slider was definitely my go-to pitch though. I was able to locate my slider early in the count and I think that is what contributed the most to my success,” Lane added.
Andover sprung out to an early lead with a two-run rally in the top of the first inning. Singles from Shortstop Richie Ciufo ’16, third baseman Taylor Beckett ’17, and designated hitter Nick Latham ’16, along with three stolen bases in the inning, drove in the runs. In the sixth inning, catcher John Simourian ’16 walked, stole second, and sprinted home on another Latham single.
The day before, Andover saw another complete game from a lower pitcher. Anthony Redfern ’18 notched three strikeouts and only gave up five hits and a run in the 8-1 victory against Belmont Hill. The game was Redfern’s first in an Andover uniform, and the right hander was able to throw fastballs at will to the lefty dominated Belmont Hill lineup.
Redfern said, “My best pitch was my fastball. It had a lot of late tail to the right, going away from the lefties, which was really beneficial. The majority of their lineup were lefties, so they were getting bad contact, which let me stay in the game that late.”
Andover’s offense relentlessly piled in runs throughout the game, starting with a four run rally in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff batter Joe Simourian ’18 reached on an error, then extra base hits from Ciufo, John Simourian, and Latham contributed to the runs.
Redfern said, “It’s such a big confidence booster as a pitcher, especially during my first game at Andover. Walking out in the top of the second having a four run lead already, you can just focus on your goal of pitching well and not have to worry about run support.”
Ciufo, who went three for three at the plate on the day, drew a walk-in the third inning. After advancing to third, he crossed the plate on a John Simourian single up the middle.
Andover exploded for three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Leadoff hitters Sam Conte ’18 and Matt Whalen ’16 both hit singles, and Ciufo would later drive them both in on a single to left center field. After stealing second and third, he scored on a wild pitch.
Later in the week, Andover went on the road to face Cushing Academy, and came home with an 8-1 victory.
Rob Cerulle ’17 got the start on the mound, notching a strikeout and a walk before exiting after 2 and 1/3 innings. Redfern came in for 2 and 2/3 innings of shutout pitching, and Matt Wesoloski ’16 got three strikeouts in the final two frames while giving up a run.
Andover got four of its eight runs in the fourth inning. All nine batters got up to the plate, three of whom hit singles, and Latham and Whalen added doubles to the tally. Taylor Beckett ’17 sealed off the win with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, Andover’s first home run of the season.
Looking forward, Andover looks to preserve its winless record on Saturday in a double header against Worcester Academy.