Baseball Defeats Exeter 5-2; Cline Earns Grand Send Off

After a heart-breaking bottom of the seventh loss to Exeter at the Central New England Prep School Playoffs, the Andover baseball team took its revenge on its rival this past Saturday, winning 5-2. Tom Palleschi ’12, who pitched two scoreless innings and went two for three at the plate said, “With this being Coach Cline’s final game in an Andover uniform, everybody on the team worked as hard as they could to give him the proper send off. We knew that a win against Exeter would be the perfect way for him to go out, and we were pumped we gave it to him.” In front of all sorts of Alumni and supporters, the two teams dueled, playing an even game throughout. Andover jumped out to a one run lead in the bottom of the first after Palleschi slapped an RBI single to left. Andover never looked back, as pitchers Jack Doyle ’10 and Palleschi shut down the Exeter offense for the first five innings. In the third inning, Kyle Franco ’10 got Andover started by getting hit by a pitch, and Chris Cameron ’11 knocked him home with a triple to right. Captain Bennett Carroccio ’10 brought Cameron home with a base hit to extend Andover’s lead to three. The team then tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Although Exeter scored two runs in the sixth, the threat posed turned out insignificant, only closing the gap to three runs. Ace Fred Shepherd ’10 closed out the game with a 1-2-3 seventh, securing the 5-2 win. The team finished with a 10-8 record and a 6-6 league record. Sam August ’10 led the team in batting average, with an amazing .450 average. Captain Bennett Carroccio ’10 said, “We were really fortunate to have Sam this year. He was a free spirit and always kept the mood light in the dugout. He was also kind of the Energizer bunny on our team, flying high and consistently hitting the ball the entire season.” Fred Shepard ’10 led the team on the mound, with a stunning 56 strikeouts in 37 innings of work. He dominated on the mound the entire season with his combinations of deadly location and the ability to throw an amazing fastball. Zac Elder ’11, who caught for Shepard most of the year, said, “Catching such a talented pitcher like Fred was a great experience. Half the time I would come off the field unable to feel my hand because of the heat he threw, but I think over the course of the year, we both grew as battery-mates. It was great to see all our hard work culminate in the playoff game, which in my opinion was one of our best performances of the year. It was a truly rewarding experience for both of us.” Although the Seniors will be deeply missed, the team’s future looks bright, with nine returners next year led by newly elected Captain Chris Cameron ’11. Mike DiFronzo ’11 commented, “I think as long as the entire team works during the off season, we have the potential to have a very successful season. We definitely need to fill some gaps left by Bennett and all the other sluggers, who we will miss, but I feel confident about next year.”