Captain Conte ’07 Blasts Two-Run Homer; Pitching Dominance Continues Against Tabor

Andover pitchers Brian Thompson ’07 and Preston Atteberry ’08 combined for a complete game shutout this Wednesday, leading the team in an impressive 11-0 victory over Tabor Academy. Captain Sam Conte ’07 added some offensive support with a two-run homerun in Andover’s first league game. After two straight rainouts since the team’s last game, Andover wasted no time getting back its winning momentum. Thompson started a masterful game, going five innings and allowing only one hit. He struck out an impressive seven batters, and used his command to limit his walks. Atteberry took the mound in the sixth inning to close out the game, and was equally puzzling to Tabor’s offense. In the final two innings, Atteberry struck out three, did not allow any hits, and secured the save. “Our team gained a lot of confidence when it became clear that they couldn’t hit Brian and Preston,” said Sam Gould ’07. “That showed as they both pitched great games, constantly challenging the Tabor hitters who weren’t up to the test.” Andover’s offense was just as successful as its pitching. “The strongest aspect of today’s game was definitely our offense,” said Mike Ciummei ’07. “Just about everyone hit or got on base.” Andover jumped on Tabor’s pitching right away, scoring five of its eleven runs within the first two innings. The first inning started off with two outs on long fly balls to center, but Andover scored three runs on a two out rally. Thompson started the rally with a single, Matt Skinner ’07 was hit by a pitch, and Joe Smith ’07 knocked in the first run when the Tabor third baseman let the ball through his legs. Mike Palermo ’08 then brought in Skinner and Smith on a solid line drive single. To cap it all off, captain Sam Conte ’07 knocked in JR Santaniello ’08 with a two-run blast in the second inning. Conte’s homerun was a deep blast to center field and when the bat connected with the ball, it was clear the ball was out of the park. Andover continued to live up to its pre-season expectations in its second win of the season, although this was the team’s first victory on the road. Clearly, the win was an all-around team effort, with scoreless pitching and timely hitting. “It was a good team effort,” said Peter Casey ’07. “Everyone got to play and contribute in our first league game and victory.” On top of this, the Tabor team Andover handled had already beaten Exeter earlier this season, 6-1, another good sign for the team’s promising season. “After today’s game the only thing I think we have to worry about is the mindset we bring into every game,” said Gould. Gould continued, “If we get cocky and think that everyone will give up when they see us walk on the field, then we’re done. For our team this year we have all the components, we just need to play our game and not lose focus, no matter the score or the opponent, which we did a great job of doing today.” Andover looks to continue this mindset and build on its momentum this Friday against Belmont Hill School, and next Wednesday against Cushing, both match-ups being at home. Andover’s decisive win over Tabor foreshadows the anticipated success of the seemingly unstoppable team this year. The large number of veteran players combined with new experienced upperclassmen show maturity and confidence on the field, factors that will prove vital this year.