MEDFORD — In one of the last high school baseball games of the 2013 season, the Connecticut senior All-Star team defeated Massachusetts’ squad, 2-1, in the New England Challenge Championship on Saturday at Tufts University’s Huskins Field.
The home-field advantage was not enough for Massachusetts to win the pitchers’ duel in coach Pete Moscariello’s last game before retirement. The Reading skipper coached the Massachusetts All-Stars with his entire Rockets staff. Going out with a loss didn’t bring Moscariello down in the least.
“I really appreciated the opportunity . . . it was really special. [North Reading’s] Frank Carey is the one who called me and it was very thoughtful and kind. It was a nice way to end my career,” said Moscariello.
Connecticut put two runs on the board in the second inning. Travis Salois (RHAM) had a leadoff double off Massachusetts starter Tom McDonald (BC High). Zac Brown (North Haven) followed with a single. Game MVP Keith Klebart (Amity) drove his teammates in with a double off McDonald, who went two innings, giving up a walk and striking out one before being relieved by Andrew Wells (Whittier Tech).
Wells, who is bound for Worcester State, pitched two innings, sitting down six batters in a row. He was named the game’s best pitcher.
“It felt pretty good to get out there and represent my school and Massachusetts. I just pitched how I pitched all year. They made contact and the defense made the plays. [That] made it pretty easy,” Wells said.
Massachusetts scored its only run in the fourth off Connecticut’s Michael Concato (Amity). Nashoba’s Drew Foster led off with a base hit before Hingham’s Ed Bowler walked. Bishop Connolly catcher Ian Chaney singled to drive in Foster.
Neither team recorded a hit after the fifth but Massachusetts made things interesting in the ninth. Alex Toomey (Beverly) came to the plate with two outs and the tying run on second, but grounded out.
“I don’t think either team swung really well. I don’t know if it was the pitching was that good or just some guys haven’t swung as much since the high school season ended,” said Moscariello.
Moscariello said his message was to have fun and he wanted to make sure everyone got equal playing time.
“You know, you play to win, but you want everyone to get the same opportunity,” he said. “I got a nice chance to get to know these guys and pick their brains and learn some things about what their programs do. To me, overall, it was a happy day.”