Div. 3 baseball: Ferrari fans 14 as Athol edges Easthampton

  • Nick Bousquet, of Athol, makes contact against Easthampton High School in the Div. 3 first round, Thursday in Athol. FOR THE RECORDER/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • The Athol High School baseball team gathers on the mound after a 1-0 win over Easthampton High School in the Div. 3 first round, Thursday in Athol. STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

  • Bryce King, of Athol High School, makes contact against Easthampton High School in the Div. 3 first round, Thursday in Athol. FOR THE RECORDER/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Mark Ferrari, of Athol High School, pitches against Easthampton High School in the Div. 3 first round, Thursday in Athol. FOR THE RECORDER/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Bryce King, of Athol High School, scores against Easthampton High School in the Div. 3 first round, Thursday in Athol. FOR THE RECORDER/MIKE PHILLIPS

 Staff Writer
Published: 6/6/2019 9:18:29 PM

ATHOL — Mark Ferrari was dominant for the Athol High School baseball team in its 1-0 win over Easthampton in the preliminary round of the WMass Division 3 tournament, Thursday. 

Ferrari had 14 strikeouts in the shutout. 

“I just wanted to come out and get the ‘W,’” Ferrari said. “Nothing else.”

Athol advanced to the Div. 3 quarterfinals and will await the winner of No. 2 Frontier and No. 15 Putnam. The quarterfinal round is set for Monday. 

Despite the 15 strikeouts, Ferrari wasn’t flawless in his outing, giving up four hits and three walks. No. 7 Athol’s defense helped with two sterling plays in the field. 

In the top of the third with runners at second and third, Easthampton’s Nick Lloyd hit a hard grounder between second and first which seemed destined to score two runs for the Eagles. Second baseman Bryce King went horizontal to stab the grounder and made the throw from his knees to end the inning. 

“In practice, coach wants us to go all out on every single play,” King said. “All the diving in practice, it pays off.”

The Red Raiders swarmed King after the play.

“Biggest play of the game by far,” Ferrari said. “I was ecstatic. That was the game right there. That was perfect. He made a great play.”

The Red Raiders turned a picturesque 5-4-3 double play in the sixth after Ferrari gave up a walk  to start the inning. Riley Paine started it at third, securing a  Nathan Morse grounder, throwing to second to King who quickly pivoted and got good velocity on the throw to first.

King scored the winning run for the Red Raiders in the bottom of the sixth. He singled and stole second base before an error and a passed ball brought him scampering home.

“Getting that felt so good,” King said. 

Before this season, King had not played baseball since Little League. 

“We are talking about someone who followed on our journey last year as a fan,” Athol coach Josh Talbot said. “He decided he to wanted to be a part of it and sign up for those moments.”

Talbot continued, speaking under his newly-minted playoff mustache. 

“He came through big time,” Talbot said of King. “He has emerged with some serious leadership skills.”

Nick Bousquet had the other hit for the Red Raiders in the first inning.

The 10th-seeded Eagles used four different pitchers in the game who all pitched effectively, giving up just two hits. Morse, Ohm Patel, Liam Burke and Nicholas Jolicoeur all spent time on the mound. 

“They were fabulous today,” Easthampton coach Ed Zuchowski said. “Those four guys are all coming back next year. They are young and talented. The plan was to go out and give their best two innings.”

The offensive opportunities were there for Easthampton, but either Ferrari or Athol’s defense clamped down to end threats.

“Losing 1-0 is tough,” Zuchowski said. “But it wasn’t due to our pitching. Our pitching kept us in it.”

Matt Arroyo, Lloyd, Jolicoeur and Patel had hits for the Eagles. It as the third time the Eagles have faced Ferrari.

“We saw him last time,” Zuchowski said. “He was spot on. We tried to adjust to what he does but when he hits the outside corner it we are going to get beat out there.”

Easthampton graduates one senior in Nick Soucy, who pinch-hit in the top of the seventh, drawing a walk.

Athol 1, Easthampton 0

Easthampton ........................ 000 000 0 — 0  4  2

Athol .....................................  000 001 x — 1  2  0

Hits: (E) Lloyd, Arroyo, Jolicoeur, Patel. (A) Bousquet, King

SB: (A) King.

WP:  Ferrari (7ip, 14k, 4bb).

LP:  Burke (1 1/3ip, 1k, 0bb), Morse (2ip, 2k, 0bb); Patel (2ip, 2k, 0bb),  Jolicoeur (2/3ip, 1k, 0bb).


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