West Springfield edges Lincoln-Sudbury for Division 1 baseball state championship
WORCESTER — With the lights at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field shining as bright as they had all Saturday night to begin the bottom of the seventh inning, West Springfield junior lefthander Nick Dombkowski squatted behind the mound to calm himself before he took to the rubber.
“I told [my teammates] from the beginning of the game, ‘Let’s bring this home,’ ” Dombkowski said.
Dombkowski struck out the side on just 11 pitches to secure the Division 1 state championship over Lincoln-Sudbury, 2-1.
The southpaw pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts while walking only two and allowed the one run on just four hits.
“[Dombkowski] wants the ball in every big situation,” West Springfield coach Garrett Kendziera said of his ace. “And that’s what you want. Big players make big plays in big games, and Nicky is a big player.”
With score tied at 1 heading into the seventh, Dombkowski made another big play — this time with his bat.
The junior led off the inning with a single, and following a walk and sacrifice bunt, the Terriers looked to take their first lead of the game.
Lincoln-Sudbury sophomore righthander Ryan Cusick, who came on in relief in the sixth, was able to strike out junior Jack LaBranche, but sophomore Zach Culver came to the plate and hit one back to Cusick that tipped off his glove and rolled slowly to shortstop for an RBI infield single.
“Culver was able to put that ball into play and fortunately good things happened for us today,” said Kendziera.
Lincoln-Sudbury (21-4) opened the scoring in the third inning. Senior Chris Galland led off with a single and a steal of second base on the next pitch. Two batters later, senior Scott Holzwasser lined a base hit back up the middle to plate Galland.
Senior Connor Moriarty tied the game for West Springfield (19-6) in the top of the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored senior pinch runner Charles Rounds.
Warriors junior Justin Vandervelden went five-plus strong innings, limiting West Springfield to just four hits and one run. The righthander was pulled in the sixth after giving up a leadoff single to junior Troy Chaput.