The apprentice became the master for the Milton baseball team Friday afternoon.
The undefeated Wildcats have relied on their 1-2 pitching combination of Charlie Walker and Brian Foley all spring, but playing their third game in five days necessitated a third starter.
Enter Owen McHugh.
Making his first varsity start, the sophomore righthander struck out 10 Braintree batters in six innings as he led sixth-ranked Milton to a 7-3 road victory over the No. 10 Wamps in a key Bay State Conference showdown.
“He’s a young kid, but we trust him,” Milton coach Brendan Morrissey said. “He’s a hell of a competitor and he has good stuff and he went out there and it played.”
McHugh was a little wild — he walked three and plunked four batters. But he was gutsy, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and allowing just one run after loading the bases with one out in the fourth. He was able to find the zone with his slider several times, while relying mostly on his fastball.
“I just felt I had to rise to the moment and rear back and throw as hard as I can and get some outs,” McHugh said after giving up four hits and three earned runs.
He has been a sponge around Walker, a Northeastern-bound junior who has struck out 31 in his first three starts, and Foley, a junior who has already won three games and is committed to UMass Lowell.
“[They] talk to me every day about stuff, little things I can get better at,” McHugh said. “They just help me out.”
McHugh got all the help he needed Friday from Braintree’s suspect defense. The Wamps (5-3) committed four errors — one in each inning from the third through the sixth — and allowed six unearned runs to score.
The game started with the first eight batters striking out before Milton’s Jimmy Fallon ripped a double down the third-base line in the bottom of the second. The Wildcats (8-0) got on the scoreboard in the third when Walker plated Ryan Kelly with a sacrifice fly and McHugh walked and later came home on an error.
Milton’s Graham O’Donnell singled and scored on a throwing error, and Fallon walked and raced home on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Ollivierre for two more runs in the fourth.
After Braintree got one back on a single by starter Chase Cahill and a sacrifice fly by Aidan Aubertine in the fourth, Milton extended its lead to 6-1 in the fifth thanks to Ryan Dexter’s pinch-hit two-run single.
“We’ve been lucky all season with 1-9 guys coming up big,” Morrissey said. “Big pinch-hit at-bat by one of our guys, Ryan Dexter, there. He came up big there. It’s nice to see.”
A two-run triple off the bat of Brian Lawton pulled Braintree within 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth, but McHugh helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly in the sixth that scored Ollivierre.
“I know we have a really good team and we’re going to score runs every game,” McHugh said. “All I have to do is throw strikes and everyone else will do their thing.”
With the season sweep of Braintree, as well as wins over No. 13 Wellesley (2-0) and No. 14 Walpole (8-6), Milton has proved its mettle in a tough league.
“Obviously we’re happy with 8-0,” Morrissey said. “We’re just trying to get better every day. We committed to that with each other before the season and that’s still our motto here today.”
Bridgewater-Raynham 9, Dartmouth 8 — With B-R trailing by two runs in the top of the seventh inning, senior Cole Gallan delivered a bases-clearing double to lift the Trojans (6-1) to the Southeast Conference win.
Apponequet 10, Dighton-Rehoboth 1 — Justyn Machie (4 innings, 3 strikeouts, no hits) picked up the win for the visiting Lakers (2-0) but made his biggest impact at the plate, going 4 for 4 with a home run and an RBI in the South Coast Conference win.
Arlington Catholic 10, Saint Joseph Prep 2 — Junior Chris Klein picked up his third win of the season in a complete-game effort for the Cougars (4-3) in the Catholic Central. Junior Evan O’Neil recorded four hits and drove in three runs.
Bedford 10, Cambridge 3 — Jake Morrison allowed just two hits over five innings and added two RBIs in the Dual County win for the host Buccaneers (3-5).
Chelmsford 16, Tewksbury 6 — The host Lions (6-2) won their fourth straight game on the strength of a 15-hit attack punctuated by nine doubles. Colin Ryan (3 hits) cracked a pair of doubles, Marcos Hernandez (2 doubles) extended his hit streak to eight games, and John Nickerson had two hits. Tim Connor earned the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Medfield 6, Dedham 0 — Junior Thomas Shurtleff tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight for the 12th-ranked Warriors (7-1). Junior Matt Donahue had two hits and an RBI in the Tri-Valley League win.
Nauset 6, Sandwich 2 — Kurt Thomas pitched a complete game and picked up the win for the Warriors (5-0) in the Cape & Islands Atlantic.
North Quincy 5, Hanover 2 — Liam Hines hurled seven strong innings, fanning nine while allowing six hits, and Jackson Murphy delivered a two-run single for the Red Raiders (5-2) in the Patriot League win. Zach Taylor, Johnny Lynch, and Alex Montero collected two hits apiece and Scotty Ritz cracked a triple.
Billerica 13, Central Catholic 7 — Senior Myles Jean racked up five goals and five assists for the host Indians (4-3), who have ripped off four wins in a row after starting 0-3 in the Merrimack Valley Conference. Sophomore Scottie Einarson had 20 saves in net.
Bridgewater-Raynham 17, Dartmouth 0 — Nine players found the back of the net as the Trojans (6-2) clinched the Southeast Conference title. Nathan Carfagna registered the shutout.
Hopkinton 13, Dedham 6 — Reilly DelPonte and Owen MacDonald each tallied four points in the Tri-Valley victory for the Hillers (2-4).
Lincoln-Sudbury 11, Longmeadow 6 — Hayden Donley (4 goals) and Zach Lucchini (3 goals) helped keep the top-ranked Warriors (6-0) undefeated and hand the Lancers their first loss of the season in the nonleague showdown in Sudbury.
Medway 15, Norwood 8 — Sean Murphy (6 goals, 2 assists), Pari Lykourinos (4 goals, 3 assists), and Nate Van Sean (4 goals) helped the host Mustangs improve to 4-2 in the Tri-Valley League.
Newburyport 14, Lynnfield 2 — Sophomore Colin McLoy was 16-of-20 from the faceoff X and added a goal to lead the host Clippers (4-1) to the Cape Ann League victory.
Triton 11, North Reading 3 — Junior Jared Leonard (4 goals, 2 assists) and senior James Tatro (5 goals, 1 assist) each totaled six points, and freshman J.P. Trojan scored two goals in the Cape Ann win for the Vikings (5-1).
Austin Prep 20, Archbishop Williams 5 — Molly Vana (9 goals, 2 assists) and Casey Bachner (6 goals) teamed up for 15 goals, and Kerri Finneran (3 goals, 6 assists) racked up nine points in a dominant Catholic Central League win for the 18th-ranked Cougars (6-0).
Bourne 18, Dighton-Rehoboth 5 — Isabella Stone (3 assists) and Brooke Lundie (1 assist) had five goals apiece in the season-opening South Coast Conference win for the visiting Canalmen (1-0).
Central Catholic 15, Billerica 5 — Grace Lydon led the host Raiders (6-2) with five goals in the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Governor’s Academy 12, Rivers 10 — Senior Ashley Hart scored five goals and classmate Caridad Nugent made 12 saves for the visiting Govs in the Independent School League win at Baker Field in Weston. Governor’s opened up an 8-4 lead at one point before falling behind, 9-8, on a run featuring a steady dose of Britt Nawrocki (5 goals) for Rivers. But after Nawrocki scored at 5:45 of the third quarter for the Red Wings, Governor’s scored the next four goals to open up a 12-9 lead before surrendering one more goal to Nawrocki with 2:33 left in regulation.
Hopkinton 17, Dedham 2 — The Hillers (1-4) won the Tri-Valley League matchup thanks to the performances of Lillian York (4 goals), Tiffany Mikulis (3 goals, 4 assists), Sinead Herr (3 goals), and Michaela Scannevin (3 goals).
Abington 17, Rockland 2 — Jess Blyth (homer) and Vicky Seppala (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) led the host Green Wave (5-1) and Kasie Bailey, Mackenzie Bailey, Mackenzie Cahill and Keira Howley had multi-hit days in the South Shore League game.
Austin Prep 9, Archbishop Williams 5 — Senior Amanda Patti laced a two-run double with two outs in the sixth inning to help lead the No. 5 Cougars (5-1) to a Catholic Central League win.
Bedford 12, Cambridge 0 — Kaylee Grace struck out nine and scattered two hits to earn the win for the visiting Buccaneers (7-0) in Dual County League play.
Braintree 12, Milton 10 — Gabby Diaute (3-for-5) cracked a three-RBI triple in the top of the sixth inning to put the Wamps (4-4) ahead for good in their Bay State Conference matchup.
Bridgewater-Raynham 7, Dartmouth 0 — Sophomore Emma Flaherty (3 hits) blasted a home run for the host No. 7 Trojans (4-4) and sophomore Lilly Welch (9 strikeouts, 4 hits) fired a shutout in Southeast Conference action.
Case 5, Greater New Bedford 2 — Freshman Megan Smith went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Abby Sirois hit a solo homer, and Olivia Silva and Brooke Orton went 2-for-4 for the host Cardinals (1-0). Hailey Berube allowed six hits in the circle in the South Coast Conference tilt.
Hanover 13, North Quincy 6 — Freshman Kaelyn Chase (3 hits, 3 RBIs) and Erin Condon (2 hits), Kate Baldinelli (2 hits) and McKenzie Foley (2 hits) paced the Hawks (4-3) to the Patriot win. Freshman Abby Smith struck out five and allowed no walks.
Hopkinton 15, Bellingham 3 — Charlotte Cann sparked the offense, plating two runs with a first-inning double for the host Hillers (7-0) in Tri-Valley League action.
King Philip 14, Sharon 1 — Senior Meg Sherwood (2 for 2, 4 RBIs) and freshman Maddie Taschke (3 for 3, 3 RBIs) belted home runs for the 16th-ranked Warriors (7-0) in the Hockomock League win. Sophomore Charlotte Raymond also finished 2 for 2 with a triple and runs scored.
Methuen 9, Dracut 5 — Freshman Ariana Baez went 2-for-3 with a triple and 2 RBIs to lead the host No. 10 Rangers (4-2) to a Merrimack Valley Conference victory.
Millis 18, Ashland 6 — Senior DH Emma Tomlin was 5 for 6 with a triple, four RBIs, and two runs scored for the Mohawks (6-1) in the Tri-Valley League win. Senior captain Eryn Rice was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, three scores, and was stellar at first base too.
Natick 2, Newton North 1 — Jess Brill belted a walkoff two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the 19th-ranked Redhawks (8-1) past the No. 13 Tigers (5-2) in the Bay State Conference.
Norton 13, Holliston 0 — Destiny McGrath blasted two home runs and racked up five RBIs in the Tri-Valley League win for the visiting Lancers (7-1).
Randolph 17, Cristo Rey 14 — Freshman Ayanna Vega pitched six innings for the win and was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a triple for the Blue Devils (1-1) in the nonleague win.
Saugus 12, Beverly 5 — Eighth-grade catcher Lily Ventre went 3 for 5 two RBIs, and her sister Leah, a senior, tossed a complete game with eight strikeouts to power the Sachems (4-1) to a Northeastern Conference road win. Alexa Ferraro was 3 for 3 with an RBI and two walks, getting on base in every plate appearance.
Silver Lake 19, Marshfield 3 — Samantha Waters was 5 for 5 in powering the visiting Lakers (5-2) to a Patriot League victory.
South Shore Voc-Tech 19, Upper Cape 18 — Lexi Mitsopoulos had the walkoff single that helped the host Vikings improve to 3-2 in the Mayflower Athletic Conference.
Walpole 15, Weymouth 0 — Freshman Lauren Lynch fired a one-hit shutout, striking out 10 for the visiting Timberwolves (6-2) in the Bay State Conference.
Apponequet 5, Bourne 0 — Nathan Belmore won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles, and the first doubles duo of Eldan Kendall and Tate Campeau cruised, 6-0, 6-0, to propel the visiting Lakers (2-0) to the South Coast Conference win.
Duxbury 3, Plymouth North 2 — Sophomore Colby Hall secured a key point at second singles as the Dragons (8-0) stayed unbeaten in the Patriot League.
Sandwich 3, Nauset 2 — Charles Gurner (6-0, 6-1), Andrew Emell (6-3, 6-2), and Pablo Gonzalez (6-3, 4-6, 7-5) all came away victorious in their singles matches for the host Blue Knights (5-1) in the Cape & Islands League.
Scituate 4, Plymouth South 1 — The host Sailors (7-0) were led by Evan Nelson, who posted a 6-4, 7-5 victory at first singles in the Patriot League win.
Wellesley 4, Needham 1 — Seniors Will Lewis and Aidan O’Neil won their match at first doubles, 6-4, 6-4, to lift the Raiders (7-1) to the Bay State Conference win.
Bishop Stang 5, St. Mary’s 0 — The Spartans (6-0) remained undefeated after sweeping St. Mary’s in a Catholic Central match. Lexy Wynn, Amanda Murray, and Saeah Pothier all won their singles matches without conceding a set.
Dartmouth 4, New Bedford 1 — Anna Camisa and Katherine Charrier (6-0, 6-0) steamed through first doubles in the Southeast Conference road win for the Indians (3-3), with Bronte Massucco and Brooke Davis (6-0, 6-0) also dominating their second doubles match.
Fairhaven 4, Case 1 — Kaydin Pinto, Elizabeth DaCunha and Sabrina Zheng did not drop a game, each winning their singles match, 6-0, 6-0, to propel the Blue Devils (2-0) in the South Coast Conference victory. Michelle Zhang and Mindy Zhang also won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles.
Hingham 5, Whitman-Hanson 0 — Gabby Youseff and Catelyn Arnold won in straight sets in first doubles to guide the Harbormen to 6-1 in the Patriot League.
Natick 3, Newton North 2 — Val Solomout picked up a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 victory at third singles to propel the host Redhawks (2-1) to the Bay State Conference victory.
Wellesley 3, Needham 2 — At second singles, freshman Maria-Lila Shutts trailed 4-1 in the third set before roaring back for a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory to lead the host Raiders (8-0) over the previously-undefeated Rockets (7-1) for the Bay State Conference win.
Barnstable 3, Brockton 2 — Behind 32 assists and 7 kills from Shawn Calle, the Red Hawks (3-4) came back in a 17-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-10 nonleague home win.
Lincoln-Sudbury 3, Winchester 0 — Freshman Sebastiano D’Ambrosio served three straight points as the host Warriors (3-3) rallied for a 26-24 first-set win and then closed the match with 25-22, 25-20 victories. Junior captain Jack Braverman logged 16 kills, 11 service points and four blocks.
St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 3, Xaverian 0 — Senior Brian Chen logged 21 assists to go with an ace, a block and two kills to spearhead a Western Alliance Conference win for the visiting Pioneers (5-1). Daniel Wickstrom notched 10 digs and four aces and Spencer Sweeney tallied 14 kills and three blocks.
Colin Bannen, Ethan Fuller, Craig Larson, Ethan McDowell, Lenny Rowe, and Steven Sousa contributed. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet scores to @GlobeSchools.