Baseball Kicks Off Season With Two Wins; Nine-Run Fifth Inning Overwhelms Tabor

Andover Baseball opened its season convincingly with two dominant wins over Bridgton Academy and Tabor Academy this week, riding the arms of ace Glenn Stowell ’09 and newcomer Jack Doyle ’10. On Wednesday, the team traveled to Marion, Massachusetts to take on Tabor Academy. Last year, Andover prevailed over Tabor in the season’s regular season finale, handily defeating the Seawolves 13-1. Andover enjoyed similar success against Tabor in Wednesday’s league opener, combining lights-out pitching with an explosive offense to fuel the 11-0 victory. While the game remained close at 2-0 through the first four innings, the Andover offense set fire to Tabor in the fifth, posting another nine runs to seal the deal. Stowell made his first appearance as a starting pitcher this season, after working out of the bullpen primarily as a closer last year. His success as a relief pitcher carried over to the starting position smoothly. Stowell threw five innings of three hit baseball, allowing only one walk and striking out five. “Everyone hit, and everyone contributed,” said Mike DiFronzo ’11, who ignited the offense from the leadoff position in the batting lineup with two doubles. Tom Hamel ’10 and Sam Clark ’09 pitched the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to preserve Andover’s first shutout of the season. On Tuesday, Andover began the season with a 5-2 victory over Bridgton Academy. They kept the Bridgton offense under control from start to finish and capitalized on fielding errors by the Bridgton defense for the win. The first inning opened with Doyle striking out Bridgton’s leadoff batter, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Pitching five innings of one run baseball, Doyle’s efforts on the mound were encouraging for Andover. “He was hitting his spots with both his fastball and his slider,” said fellow newcomer second baseman Chris Cameron ’11. “He changed speeds and the hitters’ eye levels all game to keep them off balance.” Tom Palleschi ’12 came in for relief in the sixth and displayed his skills from the mound. Five runs from the Andover offense bolstered its combined pitching effort. The first of these came in the bottom of the first, when Bridgton committed a throwing error on a ground ball hit by Clark. “The early lead helped a lot. It’s a lot easier playing when we’re ahead than when we’re behind,” said Cameron. Many of Andover’s runs were created with small ball. One key play in the game was a bunt by Mike Siraco ’09, moving runners to second and third base who would then come around to score. Another key play in the game came in the seventh inning, when Bennett Carroccio ’10 made an impressive catch on the run in left field with two men on base. This key defensive play kept runners from scoring, helping to fight off any chances of a Bridgton come back. Belmont Hill and Cushing Academy are next in the lineup for Andover. Both will pose new challenges as Andover looks to build on its two-game winning streak.