While Church, Durkin ’05 Sizzle on Mound, Bats Fizzle as Andover Drops Doubleheader

In baseball, the most successful franchises dominate their opponents by finding ways to bury them on both sides of the ball. Even though Phillips Academy starting pitchers Adam Crabtree ’04, Tom Church ’05, and Jamie Durkin ’05 have proven their capability in shutting down opposing offenses, the Andover bats have yet to find their spark. Despite the strong outings of Durkin and Church in the games of this past Saturday’s doubleheader, the Big Blue lost both in the final inning of play. In the first of the two, starter Jamie Durkin’05 kept the ball down in the zone and maintained a sharp curveball. However, in the seventh inning, Durkin gave up three unearned runs off a defensive mistake in the outfield. This put Worcester up three runs going into the bottom of the seventh, with the struggling Andover offense at the plate. Unable to score in the last inning, Andover conceded game one 6-3. On the rubber in the second game, Church pitched exceptionally well through six, highlighted by striking out the side in the third inning. Church surrendered only a few hits that led to two Worcester runs. Entering the seventh inning, the bullpen could not hold onto Church’s strong outing, as Worcester gained a fatal three run advantage. In spite of the early offense from Dave Giller ’06, who smoked a fastball to left for a single, Crabtree, who knocked in Andrew Geraghty ’05 with a single to left, and the doubles of Jed McDonald ’04 and Mike Foley ’04, Andover could not recapture the lead in the seventh. Once again, the Big Blue bats fizzled when they needed it most, sending Andover to a 5-2 loss that left the team at 1-4 overall. For the future, Andover must capitalize on the mental mistakes of the opponent, especially against a weak defensive team such as Worcester Academy. Injured captain and middle infielder Kevin McGravey ’04, out since last week with back problems, reiterated this point, saying, “The squad can’t allow good teams to hang around.” Despite Andover’s record, there is quite a bit of optimism for the rest of the season. Discounting its out of league loss to Belmont Hill, Andover’s 1-3 record places the Big Blue last in the division, not far behind any challenger, particularly Exeter, who holds a 1-2 intra-conference record. The talent balance of the Central New England League will prove to be an asset for the Big Blue, who still anticipates a finish near the top of the league. Hoping for a sweep of Northfield Mount Hermon this weekend, the Big Blue seeks an opportunity to regain its footing and enter next week with some momentum. McGravey expects to play some in Saturday’s game, and veterans such as Connor Hoesley ’04 look to be heating up. In most games up to this point, Andover has claimed early leads, but has had trouble scoring the necessary insurance runs. These runs will surely shrink the enthusiasm of a pesky opponent and guarantee success throughout the remainder of the season. With optimistic words for the future, Captain McGravey underscored the team’s strength in their ability to “gel as the season progresses.” With strong pitching, an awakening attack, and a tight team, the wins will surely follow.