The Bulldogs were almost able to pull off a miraculous comeback victory in the ninth, after already forcing extra innings, but were unable to pull out a win in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 South Sectional baseball tournament, falling 13-10 to No. 18 Falmouth.
Though Old Rochester was the higher-seeded team, ranked 10thin the South, the Clippers were certainly much better than their rank – at least offensively. Falmouth rattled off 15 hits in the win, nine being extra-base hits, two of which were home runs.
“They could hit the heck out of the ball,” Old Rochester coach Steve Carvalho said. “They came back with their number one on three days rest, put two wins together, and they took some good cuts. Our pitchers did the best they could against them.”
As intimidating as Falmouth’s offense was, Old Rochester’s offense never relented. The Bulldogs fell behind in the top of the first 1-0, and then took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half. They fell behind again in the third, 4-3, then tied it 4-4 in the bottom of the inning.
It did, however, seem like all hope was lost when Falmouth took a 7-4 lead heading into the sixth inning. But Old Rochester didn’t give up, with Chris LaBelleknocking in two in the sixth to make it 7-6, then Bryce Afonsoknocking in the tying run in the seventh to force 7-7.
“I give Falmouth credit for what they did, but I’m certainly proud of these Bulldogs,” said Carvalho. “We just tried to stay focused and make sure we were having good at-bats, played good defense, and piecing our pitching together.”
Carvalho continued, “I’m very proud of these kids. We are playing a little short-handed – we are, there’s no getting around it – and they did everything in their power to get to this point, to try to get back to the next round.”
Unfortunately for Old Rochester, Falmouth went on to score six runs in the ninth, capped off by Jared Chroches’ three-run blast. The Bulldogs would respond, but could only cut the lead in half in the bottom of the ninth.
“The ups and downs and the rollercoaster rides are what make this great game the game that we love,” Carvalho said. “It’s a new at-bat, pitch-to-pitch and we’ve been talking about small victories all year. We were that close to pulling this one off.”
This also marks the end of three Bulldog careers: Shortstop Jake Asiaf(who went 3-for-4 against Falmouth), pitcher/infielder Mike Kennefick, and left fielder James Dwyer(2-for-4).
“I cannot say enough about Jake and what he’s brought to the team,” Carvalho said. “Saw a little bit of it this winter with what he did in basketball, but it’s just about how he goes about his business every day.”
Carvalho continued his praise of Kennefick.
“Mike Kennefick is going to the Eastern Massachusetts All-Star Game for a reason. Mike is as valuable as they come,” said Carvalho. “He hit in the mid-.400s, was one of the top arms in the league, and he’s irreplaceable right now. He’s going to pitch in college for a reason and is one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had. An outstanding young man.”
And as for Dwyer, Carvalho said, “James Dwyer’s made himself into a good baseball player since his sophomore year. Played a good left field for us, has tough at-bats. We’re going to miss them. And all three of those kids were dirt dogs. They did everything in their power to help this team be successful.”
Kennefick and Asiaf intend to continue their careers at college. Kennefick will play for UMass Boston, and Asiaf intends to play for Johnson and Wales University.
Old Colony’s spring sports season came to end with softball, baseball, and girls’ lacrosse suffering a loss in the tournament.
Softball won its first round matchup 13-7 over No. 9 Sturgis East, but was unable to figure out top-seeded West Bridgewater in the quarterfinals of the Div. 3 South Sectional Tournament, falling 14-0.The Cougars finish the year 13-7.
Emily Littlesfinished with 154 strikeouts on the season, her career high in a season, logging 480 over her four-year varsity career.
Baseball lost in the first round of the Div. 4 South sectional tournament to No. 14 Coyle-Cassidy. The Cougars finished the year 15-4.
Girls’ lacrosse took a ferry ride to see No. 7 Martha’s Vineyard in the first round of the Div. 2 South Sectional Tournament, but could not get an edge, falling 22-6 to the Vineyarders. The Cougars finished the season 15-3.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar