Browner, Georgetown finish the job against Harwich
LOWELL - The Georgetown baseball team proved why tournament seeds are just a number Tuesday afternoon at LeLacheur Park, defeating Harwich, 11-1, to be crowned the Division 4 state champs.
The Royals came into the tournament as the North sectional’s No. 10 seed with a 9-11 record, but ousted Fenway, No. 2 seed Lowell Catholic, Mystic Valley, and No. 1 seed Northeast Regional to get their state championship bid.
“That’s been the biggest thing in the past few years, is we’ve had some defensive mishaps that have cost us the state title,’’ first-year coach Justin Spurr said after ace Ryan Browner shut down the Rough Riders. “We really stressed defense. We knew a lot of teams weren’t going to beat us, so we strengthened up our defense and every day it was defense, defense, defense, spending about 75-80 percent of our day doing defensive work, and it paid off.’’
Georgetown started fast, scoring five runs in the first inning, four of them unearned courtesy of four Harwich errors. The Rough Riders (17-8) chipped away at the Royals’ lead, scoring one in the bottom of the inning.
But the Royals added another in the second on an RBI single by catcher Mark Berkland to make it 6-1.
In the fifth inning, the Royals (14-11) put up three more runs, thanks to an RBI single by Tyler Wade, a sacrifice fly by Colby Ingraham, and a bases-loaded walk to David Ingraham. Two innings later, Colby Ingraham brought home David Ingraham with a triple and Colby came in on C.J Ingraham’s grounder to second.
“Pretty much all year, our defense has been solid,’’ said C.J Ingraham. “We did a lot of good scouting. We basically worked on what we thought other teams were going to do. We knew who was going to bunt a lot, if they hit well and who hit well. Typically we don’t get a great seed because we play a lot of tough teams, but we never gave up and kept pressing on.’’
Spurr said Browner played a major role in the Royals’ state championship run.
Browner surrendered only one run on six hits, striking out five, just three days after beating Northeast Regional. The Royals’ defense also helped him get out of three bases-loaded jams.
“I wanted the ball right after [Saturday’s win],’’ said Browner. “I was tired, my legs were tired, but my arm was fine. The experience of coming here last year was huge. [Harwich] had the experience of beating Cohasset [top seed in the South], but we brought it to them early and didn’t let up.’’
Spurr said Browner deserved all the praise he gets for winning the two biggest games of the season.
“He did everything this year to keep his body healthy,’’ said Spurr. “After the 107-pitch performance in the Division 4 North championship, later that day, he was running sprints. Ryan Browner has to go down as the best [in Georgetown history]. He is the only state champion of the big names.’’