In the bottom of the first inning, Andrew Ciufo ’19 hit a home run—the first home run hit at Andover by an Andover player in over six years—over the center field wall, giving Andover Boys Baseball a 1-0 lead against Phillips Exeter Academy in the Central New England Prep School Baseball League (CNEPSBL) tournament championship on Sunday.
Andover ended up winning 8-0, which followed a separate shutout on Friday in the semifinal game against Worcester Academy, with a score of 10-0. Andover now has a 19-2 record, and a championship, with just the Andover-Exeter Weekend game left to play in the season.
In the game against Worcester on Friday, Andover started out strong with several early runs and maintained the momentum throughout the game, according to pitcher Anthony Redfern ’18.
“We always pride ourselves in getting a head start in a game whether it’s scoring right away or making good defensive plays right away. We scored a bunch of runs in the first three innings which set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Redfern. “Worcester is a team that strives themselves off of energy, and we were able to limit them right away. I think after we scored a couple of runs early, we solidified ourselves as the winners of that game.”
On top of Andover’s quick start offensively, its defense was also formidable throughout the game, led by pitcher Travis Lane ’18, who nearly threw a complete game, and Jack Penney ’21 at shortstop, according to Peter Ling ’20.
“Our offense jumped out early and we were just putting up the runs from the start,” added Ling. “Travis Lane ’18, our pitcher, was just dominant. No one was really able to hit him and our defense backed him up really well. Jack Penney ’21 also had an outstanding game. Our defense overall was really good and we kept up the good things from previous games.”
Lane ended up pitching 6 ⅓ innings with ten strikeouts and only let up one hit. At the plate, he also batted four runs in to go along with his performance on the mound.
Already having beaten Worcester earlier in the season also contributed to the team’s victory on Friday, according to Ling.
“We beat (Worcester) by a good amount in both games of the doubleheader earlier in the season, so when we faced them in the tournament, we knew we could handle them without a problem as long as we didn’t make any big mistakes,” said Ling.
Against Exeter in the championship game, Andover displayed great performances on both sides of the ball, according to Redfern.
“We played solid all around. It was a well played game, and we kept our composure. We also played solid on defense,” said Redfern. “A big play was Andrew Ciufo’s home run in the bottom of the first which brought the energy up. We kept it up especially in the bottom of the sixth where we scored six runs to make it 8-0, and then we only needed three outs to win it.”
On Saturday, the pitching was again a highlight for Andover, as Redfern threw a complete game shutout and only allowed two hits.
“Anthony Redfern’s impeccable pitching performance and a big offense outing by the whole team,” added Kai Marcos ’18.
Andover’s pitching has contributed largely to its success this season, especially in the playoffs, according to Ling.
“Both games were two of the best pitching performances we’ve seen all year. Both pitchers showed no signs of tiredness,” said Ling. “Travis didn’t let up a run, and he pitched most of game one, and Jackson pitched a complete game shutout in game two. Just the whole game, both pitchers just pitched so well, and all of their pitches looked good. Overall, there was no one stopping them, and everything was going our way.”
“Andover pitching is one of the best in New England so going into each game, we know all we have to worry about is getting runs to support our pitchers,” added Marcos.
Overall, Andover felt like this season was a great success and a testament to the player’s true abilities, according to Marcos.
“We expected to win every game going in the season,” said Marcos. “Although we try to focus on the little things day by day, we all knew we had the talent to do something special this year.”
That proved to be an accurate assessment with Andrew Ciufo ’19, Jackson Emus ’19, Joe Simourian ’18, Travis Lane ’18, and Tristan Latham ’19 all being awarded First-Team All-Central New England Prep honors and Anthony Redfern ’18 being named the Central New England Prep MVP.
Andover Boys Baseball will look to finish the season with a win against Exeter on A/E day.