Jonathan Santucci ’21 converted on five out of six at-bats on the plate, securing three R.B.I.s to help push Andover Baseball to a 5-0 and 7-1 doubleheader victory against Winchendon on Saturday. Adding two more wins to its undefeated season, the team’s record now stands at 12-0.
Leading up to its final home games of the season, the team is focused on committing to playing team baseball, which was well-shown on the field as the team had its best games of the season, according to Head Coach Kevin Graber.
Coach Graber said, “One thing we did on our practice plan for Friday, before our Saturday doubleheader, we actually clearly defined the combination to the lock for winning these two games. And it listed the things that we felt like we needed to accomplish with our offense, our defense, with base running, with our pitching staff. And they were all attainable goals, none of which required any athleticism or baseball ability at all, only a commitment to playing team baseball. And to the team’s credit, they really took it to heart, they really bought in, and we did all of it on Saturday, and I think it’s the best baseball we’ve played all spring.”
According to Thomas White ’23, supporting each other, capitalizing on Winchedon’s mistakes, and executing strategic plays were key factors in the team’s two victories on Saturday.
White said, “Playing together, supporting each other–even when another player makes a mistake, other teammates pick him up, and… capitalizing on our opponents’ mistakes [were where we excelled]. The first and third play, we ran it perfectly. There were some errors by Winchendon that we took advantage of, some mistake pitches that people like [Co-Captain Jack Penney ’21] and Jonathan Santucci absolutely hammered, [Sebastian Mexico ’21] also hammered one. Everybody brought amazing energy to both games [and] we had them beat from just the warmups in the first game. So we were able to jump their pitcher, put up four in the first inning, and that’s all we needed because [Co-Captain Matt Sapienza ’21] wasn’t letting anybody score on him.”
Despite playing a stacked Winchendon team, Andover was able to overcome the difficult matchup and succeed in only letting up one run in two games, according to Coach Graber.
Coach Graber said, “We played against a really good team. Winchendon had 13 post-graduates, all of whom are college commits, and we had none. But we like that kind of challenge, we want to play against the best competition we can, and preparing for that type of matchup is fun. I mean that’s why you play baseball, we play baseball because it’s challenging, not because it’s easy.”
Maintaining an undefeated record throughout the season and allowing an average of just 1.33 runs per game, Andover’s success and consistency on the field can be attributed to its well-rounded roster and supportive team environment, according to White.
“Everyone produces, everybody does something. It’s not like we need the top four guys in the order to do anything, you don’t need the D1 guys to have their greatest days for us to win games even though they always play amazing. Even when somebody has a tough day, we got teammates. They’ll pick him up, they’ll produce, they’ll do their jobs, so that’s all we really need,” said White.
According to Sapienza, the team’s victories against Winchendon exceeded expectations, and he looks forward to one last run with the team ahead of its matchup against Phillips Exeter Academy.
“I think the team’s performance met and passed everyone’s expectations. This weekend we faced one of the better opponents that we have had this season, and we dominated. I am excited for one last weekend in the blue,” wrote Sapienza in an email to The Phillipian.
Andover will look to finish the season off on a high note as it faces Exeter away for a doubleheader on Saturday.