Despite winning the Division 4 state championship last year after going 19-6, Cohasset boys' baseball coach Pete Afanasiw knows his squad isn’t likely to sneak up on many opponents in the South Shore league this season.
On Monday, his players turned a few heads as the Skippers rallied from a two-run deficit in the decisive seventh inning to defeat Norwell, 5-4.
The game initially did not feature much action, as both teams sized each other up.
“It was pretty uneventful through the first three innings,” Afanasiw said.
The Clippers (2-1) got on the board in the third, thanks in part to three singles. The gap widened by the fourth, and though Cohasset managed to come back, Norwell scored another two runs off of senior pitcher Drew Cobin.
Meanwhile, Norwell pitcher Jordan Jenkins was enjoying a sterling outing.
“Hopefully you get to the point where you’ve gone through the batting order twice, and by the third time, your players have seen the same pitcher,” Afanasiw said. “By then he’s a little fatigued and the batters are familiar with his style.”
By the bottom of the seventh, Cohasset was familiar with Jenkins’s repertoire, and the Clippers pounced. Leadoff hitter Shane Haggerty started the rally with a triple, and then senior shortstop Andrew Goetz drove in Haggerty with a triple of his own.
Haggerty, a sophomore, started all 25 games for Cohasset last year, and his presence at the top of order gave them the boost they needed to get going.
“He’s basically our sparkplug,” Afanasiw said. “He's got excellent speed; with him we'll get guys in scoring position and it just clicks.”
Third baseman Jeff Cavanaro singled home Goetz, and Cavanaro then stole second after Jamie Faber stepped up to the plate. Faber ultimately singled to left field, and Cavanaro was held at third on the throw.
With no outs, Afanasiw patiently decided to let his lineup dictate how the game would play out.
"[Cavanaro] has exceptional speed, and we still would have had two batters at least to play with,” Afanasiw said. “I wasn't looking to win the game on that play. I'd rather be safe than sorry."
The coach’s restraint paid off, as Jamie Timothy drove home Cavanaro with a single up the middle that eluded Jenkins to complete the rally.
Although Afanasiw was pleased with his offense, he stressed that credit be given to Cobin, who pitched his second complete game of the year, the first being the Skippers’ home opener against Scituate (a 3-1 loss). Cobin struck out eight Clippers on 115 pitches.
“He battled inning after inning and kept us in the situation where our bats finally caught fire,” Afanasiw said.
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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
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