(Amesbury) These tournament games can be tense.
Not this one.
#9 Abington took over the game from the get-go and never let up.
#1 Amesbury was on the other end of things and lost 12-3 on Sunday afternoon in the Division 4 state quarterfinals.
“The well ran dry,” said Amesbury coach Joel Brierley afterwards. “When we’ve been going well, we’ve been able to set the tone early. Today was the complete opposite.”
Amesbury ace Drew MacDonald opened the first allowing two walks. Stephen Madden and Spencer Merrick followed immediately with RBI doubles. Before the first inning was over, AJ Nash added a sacrifice fly and the home team was down, 4-0.
Those early runs changed the whole complexion of the game.
“Getting the run support right away really got a weight lifted off,” said Abington’s complete-game winner Aidan O’Donnell post-game.
“We came out in the first inning and scored some runs and took the pressure right off,” said Abington coach Steve Perakslis afterwards.
The relaxed Green Wave had runners on in every inning and collected ten hits.
Amesbury (18-5) did finish with seven hits, but they couldn’t package them into any multiple-run innings.
Amesbury’s hardest hit of the day was a long homer to left off the bat of St. Anselm’s commit Drew MacDonald in the second inning.
Aidan O’Donnell (UMass Dartmouth commit) had plenty of help from his defense. The Green Wave (18-5) turned three double plays. One was a standard 5-4-3 while the other two involved catches with Amesbury runners getting caught off first base afterwards.
Abington catcher Spencer Merrick also picked an Amesbury runner off first base.
You add good pitching to that kind of defense and the opponent is in for a long game.
“I tried to keep us in the game,” said pitcher Aidan O’Donnell. “I was just trying to get outs. I had full faith in the boys behind me.”
The Green Wave now moves on to the D4 state semi-finals against Manchester-Essex on Tuesday night (7PM) at Fraser Field in Lynn.
The Hornets won the state title in 2019.
Eight different players from the Green Wave scored runs, with leadoff batter Ryan Tobin doing it three times.
Stephen Madden and Spencer Merrick led Abington in RBI’s with three each.
Drew MacDonald and Will Arsenault paced Amesbury with two hits apiece. Drew also scored twice.
“We knew that we needed to play a good defensive game against a team like Amesbury,” said Coach Perakslis. “We always know that we’re going to be in the game when Aidan O’Donnell is pitching.”
“Our offense had been a little stagnant for a while,” he added, “but we’ve been taking good swings in practice and in our two previous games.”
Drew MacDonald, Aiden Donovan, and Josh Sorgini pitched for Amesbury.
Abington had five doubles.
Besides the Drew MacDonald homer, Amesbury got RBI’s from Drew Scialdone and Will Arsenault.
Plenty of banter from both benches all game long. It made it feel like an indoor event.
“There’s no reason to hold our heads down,” said Coach Brierley. “Amesbury hasn’t had a season like this in a while. I’m very proud of what the kids have done.”
The weather was perfect and the crowd, including many from Abington, was good-sized.
Abington 4 0 2 2 3 1 0 = 12
Amesbury 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 = 3