With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and teams tied at 3-3, Tristan Latham ’19 drove a ball into left-center, allowing Sam Conte ’18 to get back to home plate to top off a 4-3 walkoff win against Cushing on Wednesday. Andover also played a game on Friday against Belmont Hill and another game on Saturday against Dematha Catholic High School. Andover lost 4-7 and won 12-2 to each team, respectively. Andover’s record now stands at 4-1 for the season.
Failure to prepare for key strategic situations let Belmont Hill gain key points and contributed to Andover’s Friday loss, according to Conte and Jackson Emus ’19.
“I think it was just a lot of mental mistakes that led to the loss. I don’t think it was necessarily the physical errors. It was just stuff like not covering first base, which led to a big inning for them,” said Conte. “I just think that covering the right bases on certain first and third plays, and grinding at-bats out with two strikes, were things we needed to work on.”
Emus said, “We gave up one big inning in the middle of the game, and it culminated into a lot of mistakes we made on the field as a team. There were some times where we kicked the ball a little bit. We made some bad plays, and the mistakes really caught up to us at the end of the game. After the big inning, it was tough to climb back especially because it was late in the game.”
In its 12-2 win over Dematha Catholic on Saturday, however, Andover improved in many areas, especially in batting, according to Co-Captain Travis Lane ’18.
“After Friday’s loss, we talked about the things we did well, and what we didn’t do well… and on Saturday, we did a really good job fixing our prior mistakes and continuing the things we have been doing well. We had some big hits, which led to huge innings for us,” said Lane.
Against Dematha, Lane scored four runs-batted-in (RBIs) and also pitched an impressive game, with six strikeouts in only five innings.
Conte said, “We definitely grinded out at-bats. Coming off of the loss, we had [a] chip on our shoulder, and we really wanted to get back at it and get into that winning mentality. Early on, we went down 2-0 but then we started playing for real.”
An RBI refers to a play where a player is already on base, and the player at bat hits a single, double, triple, or home run, allowing the on-base player to reach the home plate and score a run.
Conte continued, “Travis pitched his heart out… then the [batting] helped a lot too. Emus hit [a] triple to tie the game up, and I hit him in to go ahead in the score and it basically went on from there.”
Emus added, “We definitely focused more on what we were trying to accomplish on offense and really focused executing those things. Whether it was working walks, getting timely hits with runners on base, or limiting our mistakes, we really cleaned up our execution and we did a really good job against Dematha.”
To prepare for its game against Cushing, Andover focused on learning from their mistakes from their previous games, according to Lane, with a particular focus on covering bases, according to Conte.
“Going into Cushing, we just tried to continue the good things from Saturday’s win, while still trying to improve on a few mental mistakes from Friday and Saturday,” said Lane.
“During our pitching, we wanted to focus on covering bases and do everything right mentally. It doesn’t matter if they hit the ball 300 or two feet, you always got to be somewhere in order to make a play,” added Conte.
This preparation proved effective, as Andover eventually won the close game.
Andover Boys Baseball will host a doubleheader against Worcester Academy on Saturday at home.