Tue, Jun 05, 2012
03:30 PM @
McAuliffe, Hornets roll on
Tuesday, June, 05
By Hector Longo
NORTH READING — Play quality defense, good things happen, sometimes the hard way.
Winning pitcher Ryan McAuliffe started the rarest of rare 1-3-6 double-play in the top of the seventh, slamming the door on a powerhouse Swampscott lineup and finishing the Big Blue off, 2-1, in the Division 3 North quarterfinals.
Down 2-1, Swampscott had momentum and the lead man, Sean O'Brien, on first with no outs.
Nick Mennino then squared to bunt, but his looper got short-hopped on the mound by McAuliffe.
Second was the right play, but McAuliffe went to first.
"I probably should have thrown to second, probably on reflex I went to first," said McAuliffe. "(Mike Brandano) made the catch and had a heck of a throw to second."
Shortstop R.J. Warnock applied the sweep tag and O'Brien was erased on a bang-bang play that sent Swampscott coach T.J. Baril skyward. Seconds later, he was ejected, and McAuliffe finished the stunned Big Blue off with a strikeout, propelling the Hornets into the North semis.
North Reading will tangle with 10-13 Cinderella Saugus, with the date, time and place to be announced.
"We get excellent pitching, we play very, very sound defense, and we don't hit," said North Reading coaching legend Frank Carey. "That's been the formula for success all season. We don't get many RBIs."
The Hornets had two yesterday, run-producing hits by Keith Linnane in the first and Warnock in the second ... almost seeming to shut it down at 2-0 and leaving the game in McAuliffe's able hands.
"Our team seems to know with a one or two-run lead, our pitching is going to hold the fort down," said Carey. "They've done it all year."
McAuliffe improved to 8-2 with the five-hitter, striking out five with a pair of walks allowed.
"I have the best defense in the league. It's easy to pitch with these guys behind me," said McAuliffe. "I was right around 75 pitches (yesterday). If we get to the (North finals), I'll be more than fine for Saturday."
The sophomore Linnane had three of the six North Reading hits. Warnock had two and Eric Gordon chipped in
Division 3 North quarterfinals
Swampscott (1): Legere cf 3-0-0, Serino lf 3-0-0, Massey ss 3-0-0, Walsh 3b 3-0-0, O'Brien 1b 3-0-1, Meninno p 3-1-2, Carmoldy dh 3-0-0, Liest 2b 3-0-1, Baker lf 1-0-1, Totals 25-1-5
North Reading (2): Gravallese 2b 3-0-0, R. Boucher ph 1-0-0, Day 3b 2-0-0, Warnock ss 4-1-2, Maiola cf 2-0-0, Linnane c 3-0-3, K. Boucher rf 3-0-0, Gordon dh 3-1-1, Brandano 1b 2-0-0, Rollfs lf 2-0-0, McAuliffe p 0-0-0, Totals 25-2-6
RBI: NR — Linnane, Warnock
WP: McAuliffe (7 ip, 1er, 5h, 2bb, 5k); LP: Menunos