Throughout its first five games of the season, Andover Baseball only gave up a total of two runs, but in its doubleheader against Worcester Academy on Saturday, the team conceded a total of 11 runs. Andover was overwhelmed by the defending Central New England Prep School Baseball League (Cnepsbl) Champions in two 9-6 and 2-0 losses.
The team bounced back in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, clinching a resounding 17-0 win against Pingree to bring its record to 6-2.
On Saturday against Worcester, Andover knew going into the game that the competition would be fierce. Co-Captain Payton Jancsy ’16 said, “Worcester’s a very good team. Last year we lost to them in the championship. They’re one of the best teams in the league, they threw two good pitchers, and we had an off day. I think we were a little confident going into the game, maybe a little too confident, but we definitely brought energy and knew that they were going to put up a good fight.”
In the first game of the doubleheader, Worcester got on the board early, with the cleanup hitter hitting a two-run home run in the top of the first. Andover was unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning, and Worcester put up three more runs in the top of the second.
Andover responded with a four run rally in the third inning. Matt Whalen ’17 hit a leadoff single. Joe Simourian ’18 hit a double right afterwards, and four more Andover batters went on to hit singles within the inning.
Andover’s pitcher Matt Wesoloski ’16 exited the game after the third inning, having given up five runs and thrown 68 pitches. Anthony Redfern ’18 entered in relief, pitching the fourth inning without giving up a run.
Redfern said, “My slider was working the whole game that I did pitch, but towards the end of the game, there were a few little pesky hits that got through, and then one big hit. That was pretty much the deciding factor later in the game.”
Worcester got one run in the fifth, one in the sixth, and two in the seventh. Andover put up one run in the fifth and seventh innings each, but was unable to rally for the comeback.
In the second half of the doubleheader, Robby Cerulle ’17 got the start at pitcher, recording three strikeouts and allowing four walks on the day. The only two runs came in the third inning, when a Worcester batter reached on an error and the next batter walked.
Andover’s offense couldn’t gather momentum against Worcester’s strong pitching. As a team, Andover only got two hits and struck out six times over the course of the game.
Jancsy said, “[Their pitcher] could possibly get drafted this spring, so he’s a pretty good pitcher. He threw hard and he definitely worked his off-speed, so he definitely kept us on our toes and kept us guessing.”
Travis Lane ’18 closed the game out, pitching three hitless innings. Despite striking out four batters and allowing no walks, he didn’t get the run support needed to win the game.
Graber said, “Worcester’s a really good team. We played them in the championship game last year. We’ve had a lot of battles with Worcester over the years. Up until the championship game last year, we’ve come out on top almost 100 percent of the time. We feel good about how we match up against Worcester, and we feel confident that we’re going to see them again in the postseason.”
On Wednesday, Andover aimed to rebound against Pingree, an out of conference opponent. Andover’s offense got the better of a weak Pingree pitching staff and finished the game 17-0.
Third Baseman Taylor Beckett ’17 got a triple and a double in the game. Redfern, playing right field, got a single and a triple, and crossed the plate three times.
“I think [the losses against Worcester] were more of a splash of cold water to the face,” said Graber. “We were 5-0 and we were beating teams pretty convincingly, and I think it was a warning shot. Not everybody’s going to roll over as soon as we walk o to the field. I think [Pingree] was really about guys wanting to get back on that winning track, get back on that runway towards success, and use that momentum as a springboard towards hopefully two more league wins on Saturday.”
Andover takes the field for a doubleheader at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.