Boys Baseball Cruises Past Nobles 6-2; Co-Captain Boylan ’06 has Stellar Game on Mound

Co-Captain P/1B Matt Boylan ’06 launched a 3-run home run and pitched 5 innings of 1-run baseball, as Andover bested Noble & Greenough 6-2 in the season opener on Saturday. LF Joe Smith ’07 chipped in by going 2 for 4 with a double and RBI, 3B/P Tommy Arrigg ’06 hit two singles with an RBI, and CF Chris Bramwell ’07 went 2 for 3 with a long home run and 2 runs scored to guide the Blue offensively. Andover traveled to Nobles on a very windy day to take on its ISL opponent in a non-league regular season game, and got off to a slow start early in the bottom of the 1st inning. With one out and Andover in the field, Boylan left a changeup up in the zone to Nobles’ number two hitter, and promptly watched it exit the ballpark for a solo home run. Boylan would settle down though, and get out of the inning with no further damage done. With Andover trailing 1-0 in the top of the 2nd inning, Bramwell stepped up to the plate with two outs and none on, and powered a high-and-inside 1-1 fastball to straightaway center for the deep solo home run to tie up the game. “The pitcher threw it in my sweet zone, and I was able to flip my wrists out in front and drive it,” said Bramwell of the equalizer. Co-Captain Boylan would refocus and pitch to his strengths, striking out the side in the 2nd inning. “I stopped worrying about my mechanics, got relaxed, and threw a lot more strikes. I started working inside on hitters, and relied on my fastball and curveball, which were working well for me,” Boylan explained of his adjustments, which would carry into the rest of the game. SS Sam Gould ’07 would start the top of the 3rd inning by reaching base on an error, and was followed by Smith’s double. Two batters later, Arrigg knocked home Gould on a RBI single to make it 2-1 PA, and Boylan came up to bat with two men on and one out. With a good swing on a first-pitch fastball, Boylan lofted the ball to right field, where the wind helped carry it out and over the fence for a 3-run home run, and a 5-1 lead for Andover. PA would add to that lead in the 4th, when Bramwell singled and stole second base, and was knocked in on a 2-out RBI single off the bat of Smith. With the 6-1 lead in hand, Boylan struck out the side again in the bottom of the 4th, to retire his 11th consecutive hitter, 7 of the last 9 by way of the K. Boylan left the mound to move to 1st base after 5 innings, with a 2 hit, 2 walk, 7 strikeout performance, giving way to Arrigg to finish off the game from the mound. After a scoreless 6th inning, the postgraduate righthander fell victim in the bottom of the 7th to two consecutive errors, which allowed an unearned run to score. But Arrigg, working with a steady diet of fastballs, retired 3 batters in a row, 2 by strikeout, to end the game with the 6-2 Andover victory in hand. Six Andover players made their varsity debuts on the day, and all made significant contributions in the ballgame. Defensively, C Matt Skinner ’07 filled in well behind the plate for resting Co-Captain Tom Dignard ’06, and RF Mike Palermo ’08 made an excellent catch against the fence in the 6th inning to save a run or more.