Wednesday’s baseball roundup: Dighton-Rehoboth claims first state title
After a thrilling defensive battle that went extra innings, Dighton-Rehoboth (21-3) won its first Division 2 EMass state championship, defeating Danvers, 1-0, on sophomore Steve Silvia’s based-loaded suicide squeeze in the bottom of the eighth at Fraser Field in Lynn on Wednesday.
The matchup was a pitchers’ battle, with Danvers’s Dean Border and D-R’s Joey Rogers trading hitless frames for the first three innings.
Neither side recorded a hit until the top of the fourth, when Danvers (21-3) right fielder Daniel Lynch singled to center. However, Lynch was caught stealing two batters later.
Border’s outing ended after 4⅓ innings when he walked third baseman Drew LeBlanc. Border walked three and struck out two, allowing no hits.
Cleanup hitter Cory Farrelly finally managed to get a hit for D-R with a single in the sixth off Andrew Olszak.
“I thought we had a lot of quality at-bats,” said Bill Cuthbertson, D-R’s coach of 37 years. “We just didn’t hit a lot of balls hard at first. We just kept saying don’t get discouraged. We just wanted to stay positive and keep things going.”
Rogers (8-1) allowed three hits, two walks, and struck out nine.
“Joey Rogers was MVP of our league for a reason, and I think you saw why tonight,” Cuthbertson said. “What you saw on the mound tonight is what we’ve been seeing all year long.”
In the eighth center fielder Brody Rubenstein and Rogers started with singles. Two batters later, Farrelly was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Silvia.
“We probably haven’t squeezed in five years,” Cuthbertson said with a laugh. “Steve’s a good bunter and we had [Rubenstein] on third base, so the pieces of the puzzle were kind of in place.”
“I’ve been looking on the wall in our gym at this empty spot, and I’ve been envisioning this for four years,” Rogers said. “For it to finally happen is just a dream come true.”
St. John’s Prep 9, Xaverian 5 — It was resiliency and a community pitching effort that led St. John’s Prep over Xaverian at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
The Eagles won their fourth straight, but they still need to defeat Braintree twice, with the first game Thursday in Brockton at 7 p.m., in a rematch of last year’s Super 8 finals.
“The key to this has been Panera Bread,” Eagles coach Dan Letarte joked. “But honestly, the team is just loose now and they are having fun.”
With the score tied entering the sixth, St. John’s Prep’s Andrew Selima led off with a double and two batters later, Jacob Spada delivered an RBI double. Junior Chris Francoeur then poked a single up the middle to give the Eagles a 5-3 lead.
St. John’s Prep scored four more times in the next two innings, highlighted by Chris Francoeur’s two-run home run in the eighth.
Xaverian (17-7) scored in the opening frame as St. John’s Prep conceded a run to turn a double play. The Eagles scored the same way in the bottom half of the inning.
The Hawks regained the lead in the third when Zach Sette scored Bryan Hart with a shot down the third-base line. Vicente Mendoza followed with an RBI double.
Frank DiOrio and Selima each had RBIs for the Prep in the fourth.
St. John’s Prep (18-7) used the pitch-by-committee method again, going with righthanders Brendan Powicki, Chris Murphy, Colin Nye, Nolan Webb, and Casey Bussone.
Xaverian righthander Dan Chapski went 5⅔ innings and had three strikeouts and three walks. Senior righthander Colby Lewis finished the game.
Division 3 EMass final
North Reading 6, East Bridgewater 0 — The North Reading offense exploded early, senior Mike McCauley pitched a masterpiece, and the Hornets bested East Bridgewater to advance to the Division 3 state final. The Hornets will meet Groton-Dunstable Saturday at 3 p.m at Holy Cross.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the Hornets tagged EB starter Evan Jenkins for five runs in the bottom of the second.
North Reading perfected the art of small ball. Michael Driscoll scored off a throwing error, Jeff Mejia touched home on a Shawn DiVecchia sacrifice fly, and Jared Valade worked a bases-loaded walk to force in Driscoll.
“We were able to capitalize,” said North Reading coach Eric Archambault. “We knew we were close. Then we were able to get some runners on base. We worked a couple walks, got some nice base hits.”
McCauley wasn’t satisfied with his first two postseason starts, wins over Hamilton-Wenham (10-7) and East Boston (14-7) in the North bracket.
But the senior regained the touch on his curveball and went the distance in a five-strikeout performance. McCauley gave up just four hits and two walks.
“I was very comfortable after that [rally]” McCauley said. “I was able to settle down and just pitch.”
East Bridgewater freshman Liam LeVangie and junior Mike Khoury each singled off McCauley to start the game.
Then the North Reading hurler retired 11 straight batters, until junior Pat Snow doubled to center with two outs in the fourth. Junior Brandon Jenkins flew to left, ending the inning.
The future is bright for the Vikings. First-year coach Jeff Ghiloni returns all but three players.
“I told them in the dugout, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them,” Ghiloni said. “This was a heck of a ride.”
Globe correspondents Karl Capen and Matt MacCormack contributed to this report.