Baseball Crushes Bridgton 13-2 and Tabor 8-0; Good Pitching and “Smallball” Lead Andover

Andover baseball continues to fire on all cylinders, as the Big Blue stomped Bridgton Academy 13-2, while handing Tabor a convincing 8-0 defeat in the league opener. Behind two stellar pitching performances by the senior arms, great team defense, and a brand of smallball offense that pressured its way to 21 runs in 2 games, PA ran its record to 3-0, 1-0 in league play. Saturday afternoon brought a cold, windy day for P Tommy Arrigg’s ’06 Andover debut against the visiting Bridgton Wolverines. Arrigg started slowly, allowing three of the first four batters to reach, but settled down to escape the first inning with only one run allowed. The righthander would stay in his groove after that point, and would retire streaks of seven consecutive batters, and later 13 of 14, while racking up nine strikeouts. The PA nine would find themselves down 2-0 in the top of the third inning though, after Bridgton had scored an unearned run. Three singles led off the inning for Andover. A sacrifice and a double would plate five Andover runners, for a 5-2 PA lead after three innings. Later in the 5th inning, singles by 2B Sam Conte ’07 and Arrigg would ignite another 5-run Andover rally, helped by an RBI double off the bat of RF Mike Palermo ’08, who went 3 for 3 with a walk on the day one day after his birthday. Andover would score three more runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, playing a smallball-style offense that pressured the Bridgton defense into its four errors in the game. Andover cruised to a 13-2 victory. While putting his first career Andover win in the books, Arrigg went 2 for 4 at the plate. “Matt Skinner [‘07] caught a good game for me today,” commented Arrigg humbly of his dominating performance, which lowered his season ERA to 0.88, while opponents have hit .156 against him. Wednesday’s game against league foe Tabor Academy saw the return of Co-Captain C Tom Dignard ’06 behind the plate, who went 1 for 2 with a walk and RBI. Co-Captain P Matt Boylan ’06 went to the mound for his second start of the season. The Blue got off to a quick start, with Co-Captain Boylan striking out two batters in two scoreless innings, and in the bottom of the 2nd PA inflicted the first damage. CF Chris Bramwell ’07 worked a one-out walk, and promptly stole second base, before 1B J.R. Santaniello ’08 singled in Bramwell for a 1-0 Andover lead. In the bottom of the 3rd, PA squeezed in a run with the help of two walks, a single, and a hit by pitch to run the lead to 2-0, and an inning later, another Bramwell walk and Palermo single would give way to two runs with help from an RBI sacrifice bunt from SS Sam Gould ’07 to increase the Andover lead to 4-0. Meanwhile, Co-Captain Boylan would continue to scatter his 5 hits allowed, while the defense behind him pitched in a big hand in shutting down the Tabor offense. While up by four runs in the 6th inning, the Blue would add to the lead again, with the help of four Tabor errors in the inning. The PA pressure style of offense would induce four runs on no hits, using walks, sacrifices, and the value of putting the ball in play to its advantage. Co-Captain Boylan would end the complete game shutout fittingly with a swinging strikeout, his 5th of the day, to earn his 2nd win of the year, while lowering his ERA to 0.54 in the process. Andover has used its .385 team on-base-percentage this year to its advantage, while it has allowed opponents to hit .163 against it. “The defense was great today,” said Coach Cline, “and I think the team’s work ethic has been excellent. The guys are working hard to execute well fundamentally, to give themselves the best chance to be successful.” Andover returns to action today at 4:30, when the Blue takes on Belmont Hill at home. Wednesday brings another league game against Cushing, last year’s tournament champions.