Vik­ings get hot late, oust North Dorch­ester

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By DAVID INS­LEY dins­ley@star­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter: @ Davetalkss­ports.

CAM­BRIDGE — Post­poned a day by rain, last Satur­day’s Class 1A East, Sec­tion I base­ball play­off be­tween No. 5 North Dorch­ester High and fourth-seeded host Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester al­most didn’t hap­pen then, ei­ther.

But the ef­forts of Wally Harper, who’s been help­ing main­tain sports fields in Dorch­ester County for over a decade, made all the dif­fer­ence.

“We wouldn’t have been able to play to­day if it wasn’t for Wally Harper,” C-SD head coach Chad Wolfe said. “He was out here at 6 a.m. work­ing on the field, sweat­ing for these kids. You can’t say enough about that.”

C-SD’s bats cer­tainly didn’t have much say early in the game, lefty Ea­gle starter A.J. Wil­ley mix­ing his pitches and keep­ing the home team off-bal­ance as his team pulled ahead 4-0, and looked poised to pull an up­set af­ter an 0-16 reg­u­lar sea­son.

But, just as in the teams’ first meet­ing in March, when the Vik­ings early but even­tu­ally won 8-5, they man­aged to get it to­gether as the game went on.

Two runs in the bot­tom of the third cut into the deficit, and two big of­fen­sive ral­lies late, along with four hit­less in­nings of re­lief work by sopho­more Josh Townsend to close it out, pro­pelled the Vik­ings to an 11-4 de­feat of their county ri­val.

“We started swing­ing at pitches in the strike zone af­ter about the third in­ning,” Wolfe said. “A.J. did a great job against us early on. He’s a good pitcher; when he lo­cates with his off-speed stuff he can be re­ally hard to hit.”

C-SD had just a Devin Sparks sin­gle to show for two in­nings of work against Wil­ley. In the top of the third, the Ea­gles staked their starter to a four-run lead, against Vik­ings righthander Matthew King.

With one out, Jerome Thomas reached on an er­ror at short, and then stole sec­ond. Wil­ley walked, and Tyler Wind­sor’s base hit to right field loaded the bases. Zach Revel fouled out to C-SD catcher Koby Schreiber for the sec­ond out, and for a mo­ment it looked as if the Vik­ings would wrig­gle off the hook.

But then An­drew Jack­son walked to score Thomas, and Tan­ner War­rell laced a two-run sin­gle to left­cen­ter field, scor­ing Wil­ley and Wind­sor to make it 3-0. Pey­ton Lieske’s base hit brought Jack­son home and made it 4-0.

King got the next hit­ter, Da­juan Malone, out on a fly ball to cen­ter field, end­ing the in­ning, as the Ea­gles stranded two men on base.

Then C-SD’s bats started to make con­tact.

With one out in the bot­tom of the third, Clint Meekins sin­gled to left field and Michael Richard­son walked. Evan Fish­paw popped up to sec­ond, the in­field fly good for an­other out. Tyler Hard­ing fol­lowed with a base-knock to left, load­ing the bases for the home team.

Schreiber, who missed the mid­dle half of the reg­u­lar sea­son with a sore throw­ing shoul­der, sliced a base hit to left field. Meekins and Richard­son came in, cut­ting the Ea­gles’ ad­van­tage to 4-2.

But Wil­ley got Sparks out on a pop to short, end­ing the rally.

Townsend, on in re­lief to start the fourth, was stingy, al­low­ing just one baserun­ner in his first three in­nings on the bump, in the form of a one-out walk to Thomas in the fourth. The sopho­more right-han­der even­tu­ally struck out five.

At the plate, the Vik­ings picked up the pace in the fifth, tak­ing the lead for good.

Richard­son’s sin­gle to cen­ter be­gan the four­run C-SD rally. Fish­paw chopped a bouncer to sec­ond base that looked like a pos­si­ble dou­ble-play ball, but there wasn’t enough force be­hind the flip from sec­ond to short­stop Thomas, stand­ing on sec­ond base. The ball fell short, and both run­ners were safe on the er­ror.

“We seemed to start out good; we’ve done that a few times this year,” first-year North Dorch­ester head coach Steve Lieske said. “But then the men­tal lapses came along . ... We fell asleep one in­ning, and then when we get be­hind, we lose fo­cus, and the wheels kind of come off on us.”

Hard­ing fol­lowed with a bunt sin­gle that loaded the bases with no outs. Schreiber came up next, and de­liv­ered an­other tworun sin­gle, ty­ing the game. Hard­ing made third on the hit, and when the throw in from right missed the cut­off man, Schreiber grabbed sec­ond. A Sparks grounder to third scored Hard­ing to put C-SD ahead, to stay, as things turned out, while Schreiber rolled into third base.

Bran­don Tibbs’s base hit up the mid­dle two bat­ters later made it 6-4.

C-SD added five runs in the bot­tom of the sixth against two ND re­liev­ers; the first run scored on a wild pitch, then two more on an­other, when the Ea­gles’ field­ing didn’t hus­tle re­triev­ing the ball, which rolled to the back­stop.

Matt El­liott (2-for-4, two dou­bles) dou­bled to deep left-cen­ter, driv­ing in the fi­nal two runs of the game.

Though Townsend walked pinch-hit­ter Jor­dan Smith with two out, and a Hard­ing field­ing er­ror put Revel on base a mo­ment later, he fanned the next hit­ter to end the game.

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