Baseball Bests Hilltoppers in Double header

The Andover Baseball team proved that it can outlast its competition as it swept Worcester Academy in its first double header of the season. In the first game, the Big Blue claimed victory with a final score of 5-3, and furthered that margin with a second win with a score of 9-3. Coach Andy Cline attributed the team’s success on the road to “solid pitching and defense along with opportunistic offense.” The Big Blue pitching staff followed the solid lead that Tom Kennedy ’03 set from the mound in the first five innings of the first game. In his first pitching appearance thus far this season, Kennedy struck out nine of the Rams’ batters and only allowed three hits. Of his performance, Kennedy said, “I had my ups and downs today. I had a great first couple of innings but soon after that my arm got tired. Luckily, I was being backed by a really good team! The boys were strong defensively and were also able to manufacture enough runs to dig me out of my jam.” The Andover defense proved particularly strong during both games this Saturday. Adam Crabtree ’04 appeared out of his usual position at the mound to play left field and turned into outstanding defensive play. In the bottom of the fifth inning, a Worcester batter crushed the ball to left field and the crowd expected the hit to elude the lanky Crabtree. However, he used his long legs to hunt down the ball and made a spectacular catch of which he said, “the ball hung in the air and Adjatay [Nyadjroh ’03] really helped me get a good jump on the ball.” Also shining defensively for the Big Blue was Co-captain Kyle Murphy ’03 as short stop. During the fifth inning of the second game, Murphy actively helped the team on each play. The second batter for the Rams slammed a ball into Murphy’s territory that hit Murphy in the chin. However, Murphy simply passed the ball to Zak DeOssie ’03, and shook off the injury by proceeding to make two more plays that ended the inning. Such a performance led Coach Cline to praise Murphy as “anchoring the Andover defense.” The pitching staff also gave a solid performance that helped Andover’s victory. Following Kennedy’s performance, Lee Rattigan ’03 took the mound opposite Cory Schneider ’04 to close the game. He pitched a perfect game in the final two innings and finalized Andover’s first win of the day at 5-3. In the second game, Kevin McGravey ’04 utilized his fastball and speed pitches to strike out two batters in his five innings on the mound and scattered four hits, allowing the other team only one run. McGravey explained, “It wasn’t my best performance but I was happy that I could go out there and grind one out to help the team win. I’m looking forward to getting up their more and improving.” After his five innings, McGravey handed the ball and a 9-3 lead to Nick Barber ’03, who kept the score steady. Co-captain Adjatay Nyadjroh ’03 continued to pressure the Worcester pitchers with his quick leads and speed around the bags. In total, Nyadjroh was at the plate eight times and managed to get on base seven times. In the fifth inning, with two outs already against Andover, Nyadjroh got up to bat and tripled. He then scored on a passed ball and put Andover into a lead that they would not relinquish. Later, Adjatay said, “I just had a really good day. I made the pitcher throw a lot of pitches and refused to be an easy out by putting the ball in play and putting a lot of pressure on the defense with my speed.” Crabtree also contributed a solid effort. His hit in the fourth inning of the first game, as Nyadjroh describes, “hit into the upper stratosphere and into the eastern hemisphere. It was an absolute monster shot.” Of his own hit, Crabtree said, “the pitcher was in a hole and had to throw a good pitch which I luckily got a hold of. It felt good coming off of the bat.” Rounding out the batting depth of the Big Blue’s rotation were Will Walter ’03, who had two hits in the second game as well as an RBI. Also, consistent hitter Paul Chiozzi ’03 had three hits to his name during the course of the day. On Wednesday, the Big Blue traveled to Harvard to take on the Crimson’s JV squad. Unfortunately, Andover was unable to perform solidly, and lost with a final score of 5-2. As DeOssie aptly put it, “everyone has their bad days; unfortunately all of us had it today. But I figure at least we got it out of our system in a non-league game.” As DeOssie mentioned, though the team lost to Harvard, they are still undefeated in Central New England Prep league and hold the highest seed with a record of 3-0. The Big Blue will take on NMH this coming Saturday for their first double header at Phelps Field.