Andover Loses in First Round to Rivals on Walk-Off Hit

Last weekend, in the Central New England Championship Tournament, Andover fell short against rival Exeter, losing 4-3 in the semi-finals round. After finishing the regular season with a 6-6 record in the CNEPSBL, Andover was awarded the third seed, while Exeter snagged the second seed. Since the tournament has a four team format, Exeter and Andover faced off in the first round, with the winner moving on to the Championship game. The game was a battle from start to finish. Neither team could get anything going in the first three innings, but in the fourth inning, after Captain Bennett Carroccio ’10 singled, Zac Elder ’11 hit a double to right, putting two runners in scoring position. Mike DiFronzo ’11 then hit a pop fly deep, allowing Carroccio to score on the sacrifice fly. After Exeter scored two runs in the fifth, putting the team ahead 2-1, Sam August ’10 quickly responded with a triple, shifting the momentum back to Andover’s side. Tom Palleschi ’12 singled, scoring August to tie the game at 2-2. In the top of the seventh, with the score knotted at 2-2, Tom Sullivan ’10 was hit by a pitch, putting the leading run on first. Nate Wagner ’11 then ripped a shot at the shortstop, causing him to make an error and put Sullivan in scoring position. August then smashed a single right up the middle, scoring Sullivan and putting Andover ahead 3-2. In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs and two runners in scoring position, Fred Shepherd ’10 threw a wild pitch, allowing Exeter to tie the score at 3-3. Then, with a runner on third and two outs, Exeter singled, allowing the winning run to score as Exeter walked off with the win. Elder said, “We already faced their pitcher earlier in the season. It looked like he had improved a lot over the course of the season. He set the tone early that it was going to be a tough game. It was a low-scoring game, with both pitchers having great games, and unfortunately, they had last at-bats, and things didn’t go our way.” After Exeter defeated them in the tournament, Andover will look to avenge the loss on Andover-Exeter day this weekend. Carroccio said, “As Coach Graber said, it was definitely our best game of the year. Although it was tough to lose in the bottom of the seventh, I really wasn’t upset because we played our hearts out. Everyone did their job, and there is no one to blame. I am glad we get another shot at them.” The game is expected to start at 2:00 PM tomorrow, here in Andover.