LOWELL - On paper it was a mismatch. Lowell, the top seed in the North, against a No. 22-seeded Newton North team that barely made the tournament.
The Tigers gave Lowell all they could handle but it was not enough as the Red Raiders proved they were the No. 1 team, taking the Division 1 North crown after winning a pitchers’ duel, 2-1, at LeLacheur Park Saturday night.
Matt Tulley picked up the win for Lowell, allowing one run over seven innings on four hits. He struck out nine and walked five. The senior righthander wasn’t dominant but got the job done and got out of several jams.
In the first, Tulley struck out a pair to strand two base runners. With the bases loaded in the fourth, he struck out two more to end the inning. And in the sixth, he fanned another to leave the tying run in scoring position.
“He was gutsy,’’ said Lowell coach Dan Graham. “He’s not effectively wild but sometimes he is in a higher gear than he needs to be. He gets behind in counts and kids sit dead-red on him.’’
The Red Raiders struck first in the bottom of the fourth. Derek Reed and Chad Gens hit one-out singles. With Tulley at the plate, a pickoff attempt got away, allowing Reed to score on the miscue. After Tulley reached on another error, Andrew Marasa hit a single up the middle to drive home Gens for Lowell’s second run.
“We actually have [the pickoff attempt] in our scouting report. Derek wasn’t sleeping there, the ball gets by and that’s how we get our first run,’’ said Graham. “Andrew has been swinging the bat really well lately, I was tempted to move him up [in the order]. I guess we had him in the right spot tonight.’’
Cam Latta relieved Tulley in the eighth and picked up the save after two scoreless innings. He also got out of a jam in the top of the ninth, striking out Ben Porter to end the game with the tying run on second base.
“Cam is my next best [pitcher]. He was on three days’ rest and Cam wanted to throw and I can live and die with the end results if Cam is out there on the mound,’’ said Graham.
Newton North pitcher Tommy Clarke kept the Tigers in the game all night. He went all eight innings allowing only two runs, one earned, on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
The Tigers chipped away in the top of the sixth. Alex Joyce led off with a double to the gap in left-center field and advanced to third on a fly ball to right. With one out Brendan Ryan hit a fly out to right and Joyce beat the relay home giving Newton North its only run of the game.
The win continues an amazing stretch of pitching for Lowell, which has won four tournament games while giving up just two runs.
Surprising Newton North, which entered the tournament 10-10, had averaged 7.5 runs in winning four games. But the Tigers offense was mostly silent against Lowell.