It's Monday, and you know what that means. It's time for the Sports Buzz, the fastest three minutes in Brookline sports coming your way right now:
Well, it turned out to be quite a season for the Brookline American Legion baseball team, which won six of its last 10 games to finish with an 8-10 record. A 2-1 win over first-place Walpole in the season finale was the best ending possible at this point, as Post 11 closed the campaign winning its last three tilts.
Brookline missed qualifying for the District 6 playoffs by just one game. A tough break, yes, but considering Post 11 started the season at 2-6, it was a great comeback, especially for a team that just re-entered the league for the first time since 2004.
"The way things broke down we won't make the playoffs," Brookline head coach Pat Moore said. "We were a game out of contention, [but] after starting 2-6, the fact we were even contending says a lot about these kids. I'm not surprised, but I'm absolutely impressed. They never gave up, and I'm really proud of them."
The win against Walpole was a perfect way to cap the regular season.
"Another great game," the coach said.
Brookline got another awe-inspiring pitching effort, this time by right-hander Campbell Narron, who tossed five innings, while allowing only one run.
Bullpen help was also efficient as Eric Dumas came in for the last two frames and got the save.
Catcher Alex Rozek, meanwhile, continued to shine on both offense and defense.
"[He] had another great game behind the plate [and had] a couple more hits and a run scored," Moore said.
In Lou Tompkins 'A' team baseball action, with the second half of the season getting underway, the U-16 Brookline squad looks to continue its winning ways, after rolling to a phenomenal 7-1 record during the first half of tournament play.
Finishing with one of the league’s best records in the first round, Brookline was assured of a spot in the more competitive upper bracket of play in Round 2.
“Our pitching and defense are solid, and I like the way we swing the bats and battle with two strikes,” head coach John Bucci said. “We have a lot of talent, but we also have some things to work on.”
During the first half, Brookline won its first three games, before suffering its only loss to South End.
“We didn’t show up for this game,” Bucci said after the 14-0 loss. “We know we’re a much better team than this, so we’ll go back at it again tomorrow.”
The squad proved its coach right, as Brookline went on a four-game winning streak to close the first half of the tourney.
It started with a 7-1 win over previously undefeated Cambridge, in which co-captain and pitcher Aidan Connolly gave up one unearned run in six innings, while Noah Horning tossed a scoreless seventh.
The offense, meanwhile, was sparked by the strong base running of speedy outfielder Kevin Chen, while Brookline hitters batted out 11 hits and had five stolen bases.
Then, playing for the third consecutive day, Brookline ripped out 16 hits in a 12-0 victory over Medford. Though he didn't have his usual command, pitcher Scott Cordner battled impressively through five shutout innings.
After a much-needed day off, the locals made the most of a home double header at Warren Field. The first game was highlighted by a pitcher's duel between Brookline fireballer Ben Knopf and Wakefield's Dan O'Brien, who changed speeds effectively and kept Brookline hitters off balance in the early innings.
Brookline managed to get all the offense it needed in the fourth and sixth innings.
In the fourth, first baseman Jon Gold doubled to drive in third baseman Cordner. Then, in the sixth, outfielder Alex Moses-Gardner and Cordner each drove in a run, as the locals went on to win, 3-1.
Four hours later, in the nightcap, Brookline struggled early against Reading, surrendering two unearned runs in the first inning. But the bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth. Brookline rallied for seven runs on eight consecutive two-out hits highlighted by a towering three-run blast by Austin Johnson that sailed into the trees beyond the left-center field fence.
In its first three games of the season, Brookline outscored its opponents, 39-5. Johnson had four hits and a whopping seven RBIs against Parkway, of West Roxbury. Connolly and fellow co-captain, catcher Adam Hyrniewicz, did the damage in the next two games, with Connolly ripping out three hits against Arlington, and Hyrniewicz doing the same the next day against Dorchester.