Kevin Superko ’14 scooped up a base hit in centerfield and threw a frozen rope behind a runner who overshot second base just a fraction of a second before a Worcester Academy runner crossed home plate. With Worcester poised to break out for a big inning, Superko’s throw halted all of Worcester’s offensive momentum and kept the game tied at two runs apiece.
Superko’s throw prevented Worcester from taking the lead in the fourth inning, but Andover Baseball eventually lost the first game of its doubleheader 4-3, just a day after falling to BB&N 3-2 in a walkoff finish.
Robby Cerulle ’17, the only Junior on the team, tossed almost seven innings in a tough-luck loss on a walkoff hit. Cerulle allowed three runs in his pitching debut for Andover, proving his mettle in a tough matchup against an offensive-minded team.
“Being my first start, all I wanted to do was throw strikes. I know I have a great defense behind me, and I was just thinking about hitting the mitt,” said Cerulle. “I was expecting to [pitch] probably about five innings, but I was cruising for the last couple innings, so [Head Coach Kevin Graber] left me in there.”
Down 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Matt Ilalio ’14 connected on a deep double to drive in Chris Hohlstein ’14, tying the game at two runs apiece. BB&N, however, responded with timely hitting in the bottom of the seventh to escape with a win.
“We worked all last week on hitting approaches and how to find our pitch. We looked at good pitches to hit and different counts, and that was what we were looking to do against Worcester. We saw the kinds of struggles we had against BB&N, and we wanted to get better at the plate against Worcester,” said John Simourian ’16.
In the first game against Worcester, Thomas Lane ’15 continued his hot streak, pitching a second consecutive complete game, allowing only one earned run. In his last two games, Lane has pitched 14 innings, allowed three earned runs and has lowered his season Earned Run Average to 1.65.
The late game of the doubleheader against Worcester turned into a classic pitcher’s duel, with Worcester providing just enough offensively to pull through a 1-0 win.
While Superko and Andy Hamel ’14 combined to hold the Worcester bats to just one run, Andover could not build any sort of momentum at the plate and was shut out for the first time this season.
“What really went wrong against Worcester was our lack of enthusiasm, especially at the plate. We’re having some trouble hitting, but at times we are getting guys on base. It’s just that when we have guys on base, we’re not hitting very well. As [Graber] says, hitting and offense will come, but only if we bring energy and enthusiasm to each and every game and practice,” said Payton Jancsy ’16, a bright spot in the lineup through eight games of the season. A first-year Varsity player, Jancsy sports a .360 batting average and leads the team in hits, going 9-25.
Hoping to halt a three-game losing skid, Andover squared off against Cushing Academy on Monday, which had won four of its last five games, but eventually fell 5-3 in Andover’s fourth consecutive game scoring three or fewer runs.
“We’ve been working on our hitting a lot in practice… It didn’t really work out against Cushing, but our defense and pitching have been great, and if we get the bats going, we should get more wins,” said Jancsy.
The four losses in this last week worsened Andover’s record to 1-7, but the players will be looking for an offensive breakout to turn the early-season swoon around against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) tomorrow. Last year’s CNEPSBL Champions went 10-7 overall last year and just 5-5 in league play.