BROCKTON — The Attleboro High School baseball team demonstrated its Blue Pride in every inning of its MIAA Div. 1 South Sectional final Saturday at Campanelli Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Bombardiers, the Tigers of Taunton High strung five hits together in a three-run second inning and survived a bases-loaded jam in the third inning to pocket a 6-1 victory for the Div. 1 South championship.
Attleboro placed runners on base in every inning except the second and sixth innings. The Bombardiers loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, but could not score to chip into a three-run deficit and put the leadoff batters on base in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings.
Attleboro’s bats went silent against Taunton High junior starting pitcher Logan Lawrence and reliever Josh Lajoie, who closed out the win with three scoreless innings while allowing AHS just one hit.
Bombardier batters went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, including a combined 0-for-14 by the top five batters in the order.
“Pitching is what we relied on,” Taunton coach Blair Bourque said of the fourth-seeded Tigers (19-7) who posted their third win this season over Hockomock League rival Attleboro. “Pitching kind of kept us in games. We knew that was how we were going to win ballgames.
“That’s a good team over there (AHS). We knew the challenge.”
Attleboro, which had already lost 1-0 and 15-5 to Taunton this season, scored its lone run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning against Lawrence as pinch-runner Owen Taber scored after Troy VanVliet had reached base on an error and Troy Gamache singled for the second time.
But it was the third inning that proved to be the bug-a-boo for the Bombardiers.
Gamache smacked a leadoff two-strike single into left field, Nick McMahon lined the first of his two hits into left and Tim Callahan reached base when his sacrifice bunt was misplayed.
Lawrence, who is 1-2 with only nine earned runs allowed in 41 innings, induced an infield popup for the first out, then struck out the Bombardiers’ third batter on five pitches and fourth batter on four pitchesto end the threat.
“They have a very talented pitching staff,” Attleboro coach Steve Dunlea said.
The Tigers limited the Bombardiers to four hits and two walks with McMahon being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. Lawrence allowed three hits and one walk with six strikeouts over four innings. Lajoie followed, allowing only three Attleboro baserunners over the final three innings.
“We didn’t get many hits, we had that chance and both of those kids pitched well,” Dunlea said. “We were expecting that chance to get back in it,” Dunlea said of AHS having the bases-loaded bid wiped out. “We thought that we could manufacture a run here or there and chip away.”
AHS starting pitcher Ryan Morry worked five-plus innings, allowing eight hits on 82 pitches. The first four Tiger batters reached base in the second inning, including three on first-pitch swings as Nic Notarangelo hammered a two-run triple into left center field.
The Tigers added single runs in the third (via a triple), fourth (one walk, one hit) and sixth (one walk, two hits) innings. Taunton scored four of its runs with two outs.
“If we could scrap in a few runs here and there and our pitchers do what they do, we were confident,” Bourque. “Attleboro was here for a reason We met the challenge.”
Callahan drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, but was stranded at second when Lawrence notched a strikeout on a 3-and-2 pitch for the second out of the inning.
In the fourth inning, Gamache singled and McMahon was hit by a pitch with two outs, but Lawrence got the next AHS batter on an infield groundout.
Lajoie came on in the fifth inning. He walked the first Bombardier batter he faced, but picked the runner off at first base. In the seventh inning, Lajoie yielded a leadoff single to McMahon, but got the next AHS batter to hit into a double play.
“We were thinking maybe the third time,” Dunlea said of breaking the Tigers’ season series hold. “The kids fought all year.”