Todd Dullin texted his North Andover baseball team after Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to rival Andover, telling the players that there was no shame in losing a close game to a quality team.
The eighth-ranked Knights responded Thursday with a bounce back effort, defeating visiting Andover, 3-1, behind a complete-game from senior Brendan Holland and a timely two-run homer by junior Trevor Crosby to split the Merrimack Valley Conference season series.
“Overall we’re a confident group and I texted everyone last night and said, ‘So what, you guys played hard and they beat us in the last inning, so what,’” said Dullin. “This is my 15th year as head coach and we pretty much split with them every year. You know you’re always going to get in good games with them.”
Holland, a 6-foot-4 lefthander committed to UMass Lowell, pitched for the first time in more than a week and showed some rust early on, allowing an RBI double to Scotty Brown in the third inning that gave Andover a 1-0 lead.
But the southpaw settled down and cruised through the middle innings to earn the victory, scattering five hits and no walks while striking out six.
“He started to get in a groove later in the game and was hitting his spots,” said Dullin. “He was missing some spots early and the umpire was really good but he wasn’t giving either pitcher the outside strike. He wasn’t getting it early but he adjusted.”
In the fourth, Crosby provided the big hit for the Knights (9-2), launching a towering 2-run shot to dead center field for a 2-1 lead.
North Andover plated an insurance run in the sixth before Holland retired the side in the seventh, one day after the Knights allowed Andover (8-4) to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh in a walk-off loss.
“It’s a real important win,” said Dullin. “We saw good pitching the last two days and it’s good to play against a good team with good pitching because we know we’re going to see it in the playoffs.”
Mansfield 2, Franklin 0 — Juniors Aaron Blinn (3.1 IP, 2 H, 5 K) and Jimmy Gilleran (3.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K) were sensational on the mound as the host Hornets (6-6) handed the fourth-ranked Panthers (11-1) their first loss of the season in the Hockomock League matchup.
Facing a Franklin offense that entered play averaging nearly eight runs per game, Mansfield coach Chris Hall wanted to deploy multiple pitchers so the Panthers couldn’t be comfortable at the plate.
Blinn and Gilleran executed the game plan perfectly, attacking the zone and mixing in off speed pitches to earn the combined shutout.
“Franklin is one of the most well-developed programs in the state, but we had a game plan that we executed,” said Hall. “I told my players before the game that if we do things the right way, we aren’t going to lose this game. It worked and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, Gilleran led off with a single and Cullin Anastasia laid down a bunt to put runners on the corners. Colby Geddis and Anthony Sacchetti followed with RBI singles for a 2-0 lead.
“It was a huge win for us,” said Hall. “We kept things as positive as we could in practice all week and really broke down our mechanics. It’s a huge momentum shift for us heading into the tournament.”
Bishop Stang 6, Arlington Catholic 0 — Seamus Marshall threw six shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out nine to improve to 4-0 for the 12th-ranked Spartans (10-1) in the Catholic Central win.
Braintree 2, Walpole 1 — Junior Josh Donovan provided the winning RBI single in the 12th inning and Tyler Curtis pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief to earn the victory as the 15th-ranked Wamps (10-3) edged the Rebels in the Bay State Conference marathon matchup.
Central Catholic 10, Lowell 4 — Senior catcher Matt Maloney (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) and junior second baseman Kyle Espinola (3-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) headlined a 14-hit attack and the 10th-ranked Raiders (8-3) capitalized on four Lowell errors for the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Dracut 9, Billerica 3 — Andrew Chenevert allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings for the win and blasted a 2-run homer and drove in four runs to lead the Middies (5-7) in the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Lynn Classical 15, Revere 4 — Freshmen Almani Medina (2-for-2, two runs scored, 2 RBI) and Darnell Leon (3-for-4, 3 runs scored, 3 RBI) starred for the Rams (3-2) in a Greater Boston League win.
Medfield 2, Holliston 1 — Junior righthander Brett Nickerson pitched six shutout innings, scattering three singles and striking out four in a Triple-Valley League win for the No. 7 Warriors (12-1).
Milton 6, Framingham 2 — Brian Foley (4-1) struck out nine batters in six innings to earn the win and Charlie Walker added two hits, an RBI, and a run for the ninth-ranked Wildcats (11-2) in the Bay State Conference regular season finale.
St. John’s Prep 7, BC High 6 — DJ Pacheco laced a single in the bottom of the seventh to tie it, 6-6, and when the ensuing throw to third base squirted away, Payton Palladino scampered home for the winning run as the fifth-ranked Eagles (9-2) picked up the Catholic Conference victory in the annual Pete Frates game in Danvers.
Prep led 4-1 in the sixth inning before BC High (4-5) erupted for four runs to take a 5-4 lead.
Sam Belliveau tied it up in in the home half of the sixth on a sacrifice fly, but the Eagles regained a 6-5 lead in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk by Niko Brini.
St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 7, Malden Catholic 2 — Andy Gardner drove in four runs and Chris Pompei added three hits to pace the visiting Pioneers (7-4) in the Catholic Conference win.
Wakefield 3, Melrose 2 — Mike Iannuzzi launched a 3-run homer in the first inning and Chris Alden earned the complete game win on the mound as the 16th-ranked Warriors (9-0) stayed undefeated with the Middlesex League victory.
Wellesley 11, Natick 9 — Jack Fox-Wiviott hit a walkoff grand slam for the second-ranked Raiders (12-1) in the Bay State Conference win. Kyle McCausland, Tate Bannish, and Matt Lussier each added two hits for Wellesley.
Westwood 3, Hopkinton 2 — Jack Rufo and Cam Dayton hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth before Dayton collected the go-ahead RBI in the eighth for the Wolverines (7-5) in the Tri Valley League upset of No. 6 Hopkinton (10-2).
Whitman-Hanson 2, Plymouth South 0 — Senior Bobby Marshall fired a one-hitter and tripled home his batterymate, TJ Whitman, with the game’s first run in the fifth inning to power the Panthers (9-2) to the first-round win in the Patriot Cup.
Xaverian 9, Catholic Memorial 4 — The top-ranked Hawks (9-1) clinched their first Catholic Conference title since 2018 with junior catcher Matt Brinker blasting a home run.
North Andover 7, Andover 4 — Seniors Jared Hiller (3 goals) and John Drew (15 saves) powered the Scarlet Knights (7-3) to the Merrimack Valley League victory. Junior Jack Furillo added two goals and two assists in the win.
Triton 16, Lynnfield 6 — Jared Leonard (5 goals, 3 assists), James Tatro (5 goals, 2 assists), Thomas Cahill (3 goals), and CJ Howland (3 goals, 2 assists) paced the Vikings (8-1) to a Cape Ann League victory.
Weymouth 5, Milton 4 — After trailing 4-0 at halftime, the Wildcats (4-6) surged back in the second half for a Bay State win thanks to strong offensive performances from Michael Stevenson (2 goals, 2 assists) and Connor O’Neil (2 goals, 1 assist).
North Andover 11, Andover 5 — Michaela Downer led the No. 20 Scarlet Knights (8-2) to a Merrimack Valley Conference win with three goals and two assists. Ainsley Dion (2 goals, 1 assist) and Kalista Ringler (2 goals) also added multi-point games.
Lowell 3, Central Catholic 2 (13 inn.) — In a 13-inning marathon, the fourth-ranked Red Raiders (10-1) outlasted visiting Central behind a tremendous performance from Giana LaCedra. The junior righthander went the distance, striking out a career-high 23, walked just one, while scattering seven hits. In the 13th, she plated the winning run on a fielder’s choice. Katrina Russell had a hit and an RBI.
Archbishop Williams 3, Bishop Fenwick 1 — Sophomore Shelby Parr and seventh grader Jillian Ondrick combined in the circle for a two-hitter, and Jess Keefe (2-for-3, 1 RBI) led the offense for the Bishops (4-5).
Haverhill 5, Chelmsford 2 — Senior Sicily DiDomenico struck 17 and drove in a run for the visiting Hillies (5-5) in the Merrimack Valley Conference win. Riley Windle and Sam Dion each had an RBI.
Methuen 13, Tewksbury 0 — Freshman Kiele Coleman went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI for the Rangers (7-4) in the Merrimack Valley Conference game.
Natick 9, Braintree 1 — Junior Mia Hansen led off the fourth inning with a solo homer to spark a 5-run inning, and classmate Jess Brill went 3-for-3 with a triple, two stolen bases and four runs scored for the 11th-ranked Redhawks (12-1), who finish off a split doubleheader against Wellesley and Braintree.
Senior Katherine Canty pitched the complete game, giving up three hits while striking out nine in the Bay State Conference matchup.
Natick 13, Wellesley 2 — Freshman Olivia Schultz went 3-for-3 with 4 RBI, and Senior Ava Leombruno went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored for the Redhawks (11-1). Senior captain Maddie McCarthy went 3-3 with a 2 run home run and 3 runs scored in the Bay State Conference matchup.
Newton North 14, Weymouth 0 — Senior Annie Brodhead earned the win and was 2-for-3 at the plate with 2 RBI for the visiting Tigers (10-2). Sophomore Brianna LeBlanc was 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI in the Bay State Conference win.
North Andover 7, Andover 4 — Josilin Gove, Julianna Roche and Maeve Gaffny each drove in two runs for the Scarlet Knights (7-5) in the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Randolph 24, Charlestown 7 — Freshman Ayanna Vega earned the complete game victory and hit two triples with 7 RBIs for the Blue Devils (2-3) in the nonleague win. Seniors Danessa Estime, Marie Gupton, and Hannah Burton each had three singles.
Silver Lake 6, Hanover 5 — Nina O’Neil went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer for the Lakers (9-2) in the second-round Patriot Cup game.
St. Mary’s 14, Masconomet 3 — Alyssa Grossi went 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBIs to lead the No. 6 Spartans (13-2) to a nonleague victory. Angelina Catino (3-for-4) and Roma Braid (2-for-2, RBI) also contributed offensively.
Wakefield 10, Melrose 9 — Allida Kelliher capped a 5-run seventh inning with a two-out walkoff double as the Warriors (4-4) picked up the Middlesex League win. Kelliher’s hit scored Bella Zullo, who had knocked a two-run single in the previous at-bat to tie the score 9-9.
Duxbury 5, Plymouth South 0 — Seniors Sophia Caslin (6-0, 6-1) and Elise Hogan (6-0, 6-0), and freshman Caroline Sitliffe (6-1, 6-0) swept their singles matches to propel the Dragons (12-0) to the second-round win in the Patriot Cup.
Marblehead 4, Danvers 1 — With matches played in a 10-game pro set format because of impending rain, Jessie Munrow (10-3), Courtney Yoder (10-4) and the doubles duos of Emily Clough/Lauren Podgur (10-0) and Ava Ullian/Leah Saulnier (10-0) registered wins for the Headers in the Northeastern Conference win.
Quincy/North Quincy 79, Plymouth South 57 — Jaycee Ham won the triple jump and the high jump for Quincy/North Quincy in the Patriot League meet.
Canton 81, Oliver Ames 55 — Maddie Rousseau won the triple jump (34-0), the high jump (4-10), and the 100 meters (12.4) for the Bulldogs in the Hockomock win.
Quincy/North Quincy 77, Plymouth South 59 — Aluna Coogan-Coyne went the distance in winning the mile and 2-mile and Niamh Mwafulirwa won the shot put and discus for Quincy/North Quincy in the Patriot League victory.
Chelmsford 3, Haverhill 1 — Josh Timmons (40 assists, 3 kills, 2 blocks), Ian Van Haren (10 kills, 3 aces), Cole Schaefer (13 kills, 8 digs), Logan Bruce (10 digs, 4 aces), and Matt McCarthy (10 kills, 10 digs) powered the Lions (7-0) to the Merrimack Valley Conference win.
Colin Bannen, Emma Healy, and Jake Levin also contributed. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet scores @GlobeSchools.