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Walpole’s Johnny Adams steps right into BC lineup as a freshman

Johnny Adams, of Walpole, is a freshman at Boston College.

Jim Pierce

Johnny Adams, of Walpole, is a freshman at Boston College.

Freshman solid at third

The preference for many coaches: Put an experienced player on the left side of the infield to minimize mistakes and be a defensive anchor.

But Boston College baseball coach Mike Gambino is starting Johnny Adams, a freshman from Walpole, at third base this spring.

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The 19-year-old Walpole High grad has responded by being a rock at the hot corner, in addition to playing several games at shortstop.

In 14 starts, Adams is batting .250 after being as high as .333 before the Eagles (6-12, 0-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) hit a tough stretch of ACC pitching.

“Normally you wouldn’t have a freshman over there,” said Gambino of Adams, who was a four-year varsity letter winner at Walpole High. “But when you’re around Johnny as much as we are, you realize that nothing fazes him.

“There are a lot of things that could fluster a freshman playing regularly in the ACC, but none of that bothers him. Defensively you know he’ll just make every play. Offensively he always gives you a good at-bat.”

Adams was on base four times (2 for 4 with two walks) in a 7-6 win over Villanova earlier this month, and had a pair of hits in a 5-4 win over Central Michigan. He has one double and four RBIs and has demonstrated tremendous patience at the plate for a freshman, with seven walks.

“The ACC is probably the best conference in the nation, and the biggest challenge for me so far is probably adjusting to the pitching,” said the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Adams, who bats right-handed.

“We had Virginia and Miami throwing at us in the last two series, and a lot of those guys will end up in the pros. The pace of the game also quickens up on you, but baseball will always stay the same.”

At Walpole, Adams led the Rebels to a pair of Bay State Conference titles. He was a three-time first team all-BSC selection, and was named Walpole’s Outstanding Male Athlete last year. He also played point guard for the Rebels’ basketball team.

At 12, he started at shortstop on the Walpole American Little League squad that competed at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Following his junior season at Walpole High, Adams was the only Massachusetts player on the 17U North Atlantic squad at USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series.

When BC came calling just before his junior season on the diamond, the decision to attend was a swift one.

BC maroon runs in his blood. His father, Jay Adams, starred at Holbrook High before becoming a starter in the outfield at BC, playing under the late Eddie Pellagrini and captaining the 1987 squad.

“My father has been a huge mentor for me and had a big influence on my decision to come here,” said Adams. “BC just had so much to offer with the high academics and the chance to play ACC baseball in my own backyard.”

Gambino said that Adams has the potential to play professionally if he continues to develop his game and build strength.

“He doesn’t have that one monster tool that jumps out at you, but he’s just a pure baseball player,” said Gambino. “He makes every at-bat count, and he’s always in the right place to make the play.”

Junior right-hander John Gorman (Norwood) and sophomore righty John Nicklas (Foxborough) are both making contributions to the BC pitching staff. Gorman, who starred at Catholic Memorial, owns a 3.25 ERA in five starts (2-3) and has 21 strikeouts against only three walks. Nicklas, a 2012 graduate of St. Sebastian’s, leads BC with seven appearances out of the bullpen. He has one save and owns a 3.24 ERA in 8 innings of work.

Spitz is Player of the Week

Hanover’s Jon Spitz has been named Player of the Week in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, after batting .500 (15 for 30) with seven RBIs and 11 runs scored to help the Wentworth baseball team close its spring break trip to Florida with a 6-2 record. Spitz had seven hits in a doubleheader sweep of Penn State-Altoona and leads the Leopards with a .517 average. He was also named to the D3baseball.com honor roll. . . .

Senior Will Wise (Cohasset) netted the winning goal in triple overtime to lead Bowdoin men’s lacrosse team to a 9-8 NESCAC victory over Hamilton. Wise had two goals in the game and added two goals and an assist in a loss to Nazareth. He has 10 goals and six assists this season. . . .

Cohasset’s Derek Youngman scored eight goals in two games for Colby, including four in a 13-10 victory over Gordon. He leads the Mules in scoring with 16 goals and three assists. . . .

Freshman midfielder Meghan Lennon (Canton) netted a career-high three goals to lead Endicott to a 12-9 victory over Wheaton, the Gulls’ first win over the Lyons. Lennon was named Rookie of the Week in the CCC and also had a goal in a 15-5 loss to Bowdoin. Lennon has seven goals and four assists. . . .

A team captain at Plymouth State, junior attack Amy MacDonald of Hull leads the Panthers with four goals and five assists through two games. She scored 36 goals with 22 assists last season to earn first team all conference honors in the Little East Conference. . . .

The Cohasset High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Hall of Fame Class, which will take place in November. The Hall of Fame Committee will be voting on nominated teams in May and nominated individuals in June. For more information or to nominate a team or individual player, contact Cohasset athletic director Ron Ford at 781-383-6103.

John Johnson can be reached at jjohnson49@comcast.net
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