The city champions continued an ugly tradition of losing in the first round of the MIAA state tournament on Saturday, with English dropping against a relentless Dracut team, 8-6.
“It’s sad, they are a No. 6 seed and we are No. 1,” English coach Ricardo Figueroa said on the loss at Fallon field. “We’re eliminated now but that’s the way baseball is. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Today the ball bounced the other way.”
It’s the second year in a row English has won the city championship and had an early first round exit.
It looked like the ball was bouncing English’s way in the bottom of the fourth inning. Down 4-2, seniors Nelson Barreiro and Richard Gonzalez got the rally started with back-to-back singles.
Dracut’s shortstop Adam Barbosa then made an error on a Tommy Lugo groundball, scoring Barreiro from third. After Ruben Pena loaded the bases with a bunt, Miguel Calderon gave English a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Dracut’s 3-run response came in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI from Ben Gacek, Dylan Ryan and Stig McElhinney, all of which came with two outs.
“They’re a good team but we’ve won five of our last seven,” Dracut coach Mike Saucier said. “We’ve won a lot of these kind of games. We just never die and we came back.”
It was a game full of chances for English. In the sixth inning, they had men on first and third but could not capitalize when pitcher Dylan Ryan forced Barreiro to fly out.
Another chance came in the bottom of the seventh when Lugo and Pena hit back-to-back singles with one out. However, Ryan forced a flyout and a strikeout on the next two batters ending English’s season.
Figueroa still found a way to see the positives in the game pointing out the great performance from his No. 8 and 9 hitters, Tommy Lugo and Ruben Pena.
Lugo was 2-for-3 on the day with a double and a single and Pena was 4-for-4, knocking in two runs on a pair of singles
“They stepped up and did the job,” Figueroa said. “Well done. It wasn’t enough but it was good to see those guys trying hard.”
Luckily for Figueroa, both of those players are underclassmen.
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