LOWELL – Backed by a brilliant three-hit, one-run outing by junior starting pitcher Evan Mackintosh, the Northbridge baseball team came away from Saturday afternoon’s Division-2 state title game with a 3-1 victory over Duxbury.
Though Mackintosh’s performance will be remembered primarily for his slowing a Duxbury squad averaging more than seven runs per game, it was the lefty’s bat that got things rolling early for the Rams.
After retiring the Northbridge leadoff man, Duxbury righty Jeff Blout worked an 0-2 count to senior second-baseman Matt Consigli to begin the game.
Consigli fouled off Blout’s first two-strike offering, then mashed a fly ball that bounced about three-quarters of the way up the left-center field wall. Duxbury center fielder Tom Guilfoile misplayed the carom off the wall, and Consigli moved safely into the third.
Three pitches later, Mackintosh put the Rams up by a run by bouncing a base hit up the middle to score Consigli from third.
Blout would respond to Mackintosh’s single by striking out five of the next six hitters, including striking out the side in the second.
The righty’s fastball sat in the 88-90 miles per hour range early in the game, and he finished the evening with nine strikeouts in six-plus innings pitched to go with three walks, seven hits, and three earned runs allowed.
Throwing on three days’ rest for the third consecutive start, Blout threw 110 pitches in the outing before being lifted in favor of his twin brother, Steve Blout, in the seventh.
Before exiting, Jeff Blout’s velocity did begin to slip in the fourth inning, and in the fifth, the Rams touched him up for a second run.
Center fielder Jake Ryan led off the inning with a single to left, and after left fielder Andrew Dupre struck out looking, leadoff man Tom Murphy bombed a double over Guilfoile’s head in center, scoring Ryan and bumping the Northbridge lead to 2-0.
The Rams added a third run in the top of the seventh when a Ben Richards’ fly ball to center scored Murphy on a sacrifice fly.
Mackintosh was electric and efficient on the hill for Northbridge all afternoon, striking out nine batters in seven innings with two walks, and four hits on 102 pitches.
The junior lefty only got tougher for the Duxbury hitters to touch up as the game went on. The Dragons didn’t get a single hit in innings three-through-six, with their only baserunners coming on a hit-by-pitch and a walk.
Mackintosh struck out two batters in each of the fifth and sixth innings, and after allowing an unearned run in the seventh, closed out the game by striking out Guilfiole on three pitches.
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Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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