As Isaac Lamson ’24 strikes the ball, Tommy McAndrews ’22 shoots off 3rd base. With McAndrews approaching the home base, Deerfield Academy’s pitcher throws the ball to their catcher, but McAndrews slides onto the home base safely, gaining the run that won Andover the New England Championships this past Sunday.
According to Head Coach Kevin Graber, Boys Baseball has been constantly ambitious and always looking to win this season. Graber mentioned the importance of calming the team down as it entered the tournament.
“You know, I think it’s sometimes rare to have a group of kids who really want to win, like every kid… Some years you have a few players who want to win and… some players who are a little bit more laid back. So I really felt like with this team, the right thing to do was just trying to de-stress them a little bit rather than fire them up… I just kept telling them all week, don’t make it more than it is, it’s a high school [baseball tournament]. In high school baseball, it’s not… life or death… Try to have fun,” said Graber
According to Jake Needham ’22, the team has been preparing for situations similar to this one throughout the entire season. Coach Graber continuously emphasized the journey over the outcome, so the team was focusing on executing this advice all game.
“We have prepared all year long for moments like Sunday. Although it definitely looks like a high-pressure or intense situation, we are not thinking about that out on the field. [Coach Graber] likes to preach the phrase “process over results,” which translates to controlling the things that you can control, not the outcome of the game. This helps a lot because as long as we play the way we know we can, the result of the game will be in our favor nine times out of ten,” wrote Needham in an email to The Phillipian.
Marek Krytofolski ’25 mentioned the importance of not over-thinking the tournament games, which was extremely important for the team to stay calm throughout the entire day.
“Going into the game everybody was focused on just doing their part and preparing for the high-pressure situations was just like, the dinner night before kinda calm and KG just told us to treat it like a normal game and don’t put too much into it,” said Krystofolski.
Needham highlighted the energy that the team had after its win earlier that morning. The team was ready to enter the next game even better than the last, and show that it deserved to win.
“Coming off of a huge win in the morning, we just did not want to put too much pressure on ourselves in the championship. We play our best baseball when we are relaxed and enjoying the game. We knew we were the better team, we just had to go out and show that,” wrote Needham.
Graber highlights the final moments of the game as the team persevered to win. After almost an entire game with no runs, Andover was determined to secure one, and once it did, it did not stop.
“[At] the Deerfield game… we didn’t score through five innings, we were just hitting absolute rockets all game right out the defense… We didn’t strike out the entire game. We were getting on base a lot. I just felt like if we keep doing what we’re doing, the look is going to turn in our direction. And we did. We just kept hitting the ball hard… Then in the sixth inning, we started to find… some gaps between the fielders, and then momentum started rolling. And that really carried into that seventh-inning rally [so] that we scored the two game-winning runs without making an out in the seventh inning,” said Graber.
Andover Boy’s Baseball hopes to continue their winning legacy next spring.