HAVERHILL, Mass. ---- Freshman Luke DiTondo had a career night at the plate, ripping three extra-base hits and driving in three to give the Massasoit baseball team an 8-6 back-and-forth victory vs Quinsigamond at Trinity Stadium on the opening night of the Region 21 Tournament.
Score: Massasoit 8, Quinsigamond 6
HOW IT HAPPENED
DiTondo, a Marshfield native, finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and accounted for five runs, scoring twice and knocking in three in the win. Nick Andrews (Raynham) went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, as the Warriors roughed up QCC ace Jordan Weber (6-2) for eight runs, five earned, off 12 hits. The lefty fanned nine for the Wyverns in the loss.
On the mound, the Warriors received a strong outing from freshman Nick Steele (4-1). The righty from Dartmouth earned his fourth victory of the season, going the first seven frames, scattering eight hits, allowing five runs and tied a career-high with eight strikeouts.
In the bottom of the second, DiTondo rocked a stand-up triple into the right-centerfield gap on the first pitch of the inning. Rankin followed by roping a ball to third base, which was knocked down, but allowed DiTondo to race home with the game's first run.
Later in the inning, Rankin came home on an RBI ground out by Noah Martin (Freetown) to give Massasoit an early 2-0 advantage.
Quinsigamond answered right back in the top of the third. The Wyverns loaded the bases with two outs without a ball leaving the infield, with a pair of infield singles sandwiched around a walk. A wild pitch allowed QCC's first run to score, but Steele escaped further damage with a strikeout to keep a 2-1 lead intact.
In the third, DiTondo kept swinging a hot stick, ripping a run-scoring double. Later in the frame, with two outs, Massasoit executed a perfect double steal, as Massasoit led 4-1.
The three-run advantage was short-lived, however, as the Wyverns responded with three in the top of the fourth to even the score, 4-4, as QCC strung four consecutive hits together.
The Wyverns took their first lead of the ball game, 5-4, in the top of the fifth, thanks to a sac fly by Spencer Giorgio.
But the seesaw scoring continued, as Andrews roped a RBI double down the right-field-line, scoring Ramirez from first to tie the score, 5-5, through five.
Still knotted 5-5, a pair of QCC miscues started the seventh, which the Warriors were able to cash in on. With runners on the corners and no outs, Andrews executed a hit-and-run to score Luke Lewando (Brockton) to break the tie. Later in the inning, DiTondo came up with another big hit, one that proved to be the game winner, smacking a two-run double to left.
QCC made things interesting in the top of the eighth, but reliever Matt McGrath (Braintree) entered and recorded the final four outs to secure the win and earn his second save of the season.
The Wyverns finished with 10 hits, with Alex Depres and Dylan Lague each going 2-for-4.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Massasoit has now won 7 of the last 10 meetings vs Quinsigamond.
- For the second straight season, the Warriors and Wyverns met in the opening round of the Region 21 Tournament, with Massasoit winning both contests.
- Massasoit has now won five straight games and 12 of its last 14.
- Massasoit only had three triples all season before Luke DiTondo and Noah Martin each ripped a three-bagger on Friday.
- Starter Nick Steele tied a career-high with eight strikeouts.
- Luis Ramirez is now hitting .484 (15-for-31) for his career vs QCC, posting multiple hits in six of nine games played vs the Wyverns.
- Nick Andrews has 11 RBI in nine career games vs QCC.
- Head coach Tom Frizzell now has 724 career victories at Massasoit.
Massasoit faces Northern Essex in the winner's bracket on Sunday at 2 PM at Trinity Stadium. The game was moved due to inclement weather in the North Shore area. NECC took two of three during the season series, but the Warriors did claim the last meeting in extra innings, 8-7.