PLYMOUTH - After dropping three games to Duxbury last season, including the Division 2 South Final, Plymouth North wanted to send an early statement that things would be different this season and junior starter Alex Rozak made sure of it by tossing a no-hitter in a 1-0 opening day victory for the Blue Eagles at Siever Field.
"He just threw a lot of strikes out there today,'' said Plymouth North coach Dwayne Follette. "He was working his fastball and splitter and he made a lot of good pitches when he was behind."
Rozak finished with six strikeouts and allowed only one walk and was aided by the experience of four-year starting catcher Matt Walsh, whom Follette calls "one of the best players in the state."
The Blue Eagles were also stymied at the plate by Green Dragons starter Sam Jacobson, who struck out 12 and allowed no earned runs.
Plymouth North was able to muster the game's only run in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some timely substitutions. Following a David Murphy single, Ryan Moskos came in to pinch run and immediately stole second base. Connor Follette came on as a pinch hitter and pushed a swinging bunt down the third base line, but the throw to first went awry, allowing Moskos to score.
"I hoped to have a heavy hitting lineup coming into the season, but that was not the case today," said coach Follette. "Their pitcher did an amazing job out there."
The Blue Eagles didn't make things easier for themselves in the field, as two errors put runners on second and third with no outs to start the seventh inning. A suicide squeeze effort by Duxbury was snuffed out to cut down the tying run, then Rozak struck out the next batter and got the final batter to ground to short to seal the no-no.
"We were pressing a bit and trying to do too much out there today," said coach Follette. "But Alex was great for us. It was an excellent performance."
Rozak's was the first no-hitter for Plymouth North since the 2009 season, when Joey Flynn no-hit Duxbury in the final regular-season game of the season.
The team returns eight players that have have starting experience and they have won 15 postseason games over the last five seasons, which keeps the expectations high for the program.
"We have the same expectations every season," said coach Follette. "Getting to the postseason and peaking at the right time is what we strive for."
The Blue Eagles will be bolstered by a staff of junior starters that includes Rozak, Cody Holmes, and Vinny Tavernelli.
"We have a lot of pitching depth," said coach Follette. "They are young, but experienced and they came up big for us in the postseason last year."
Senior outfielders Mike Cahill, Doug Maccaferri, and Zach Zaniboni will serve as captains alongside three-time captain Walsh, who is committed to attending Franklin Pierce next year.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.