Walk-Off Home Run Propels Andover Over Cushing

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Chris Hohlstein ’14 hit a powerful walk off a home run that propelled Andover to a 5-4 victory against Cushing Academy on Wednesday. With its game against Belmont Hill on Friday cancelled because of rain, Andover was well rested coming into the game against Cushing. Andover, currently ranked seventh in New England, faced a very challenging Cushing team. The two teams duelled it out into an extra inning before Hohlstein settled the game. “We knew Cushing was going to be a tough game, but we had faith that we could pull out the win from the start,” said Hohlstein. “We went into the game expecting to win, and it took us awhile to get going, but we picked up the intensity in the later innings and pulled out a hard earned win.” Cushing started off strong, striking first blood in the bottom of the first inning and adding another run in the second to extend its lead to 2-0. Andover, however, responded quickly in the bottom of the second. An RBI single by Co-Captain Seamus O’Neill ’13 and a sacrifice fly by Harry Roche ’13 were enough for Andover to secure the lead 3-2 by the end of the inning. Continuing the back and forth trend, Cushing responded quickly with two more runs in the top of the fourth to regain the lead 4-3. After the fourth, the game became a pitching duel. In the bottom of the sixth, Connor Farrell ’13 stepped up to the plate and hit a towering homerun to left field, tying the game up at 4-4. “Farrell’s homer got us back into the game after a couple scoreless innings and gave us some momentum that we carried over for the rest of the game,” said Hohlstein. After the inning remained scoreless, Andover and Cushing headed into extra innings. Andover held Cushing in the eighth inning, and Hohlstein struck a ball over the fence in center field, giving Andover the win. “Today was a huge win for us. We came out flat but managed to rally the troops and get a late offensive boost with two huge homers from Farrell and Hohlstein,” said O’Neill. The team’s pitching faced some powerful Cushing hitters and paved the way to its victory on Wednesday. Tim Salvadore ’15 pitched a strong eight innings, striking out seven and allowing only three earned runs, five hits and four walks. Andover’s pitching was complemented by its stalwart defense throughout the game, which came up with a few big plays that kept Cushing from taking a large lead. “Salvadore [showed] a lot of toughness, sticking with it throughout the game, and [he] really got us into the dugout to hit quickly, especially in the late innings,” said Hohlstein. “He showed a lot of perseverance as he battled after letting up a few runs early to shut down Cushing from the fourth inning on. He really got us fired up to hit by the way he was pitching, and it resulted in our victory.” “We had sporadic key hits from a lot of different guys in the late innings that kept us going,” added Hohlstein. Andover considers its victory against Cushing promising, for it knocked off one of the best teams in New England. “It was great to see the team battle back from trailing early and pull out the win. We’re looking to carry the momentum into the weekend where we’ll have three tough games,” said O’Neill. Andover looks to build off of this win when it hosts Buckingham Browne & Nichols this Friday, heads down for a doubleheader on Saturday against Worcester Academy and ends at Pingree on Wednesday.