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:
We go to the diamond, and the Brookline 12-and-under “A” baseball team finished the first round of the Tournament of Champions at 2-4, but last week's 13-3 win over Methuen East White to open the second round proved the team is progressing.
Coach Arlen Showstack, who normally coaches “Major A” spring baseball, is back coaching the 12-and-under for the first time in 15 years and likes the way his team is playing as it starts the second round. Brookline’s 2-4 record in the first round included a pair of one-run losses that Showstack, now in his 36th year of coaching, thought could have gone either way.
“The first round was somewhat deceiving because we could have just as easily gone 4-2 instead of 2-4,” Showstack said. “Now we’re hitting the ball well and making all the plays.”
Alec Chapman’s eight strikeouts over three innings pitched, including four in a row, and home runs by Max Keating and Reo Shimbori were among the highlights of an 18-hit attack for Brookline against Methuen.
Showstack’s game strategies include baseball fundamentals such as staying aggressive and not falling behind in counts, throwing strikes on the mound and knowing what you’re going to do with the ball when it’s hit to you. The coach is also grateful for his coaching staff of George Leung, Sun Chin, and Stewart Silvestri.
“Because our pitching machine has been broken, George has been instrumental with batting practice and his knowledge of the game,” he said.
Meanwhile, Showstack is excited to see how his team does going forward.
“This is a great bunch of kids and I’m so glad to be back coaching in the summer,” he said. “More than winning or anything else, we want to show encouragement and support for them.”
The Brookline roster includes second year players Leon Yang, Stewie Silvestri, Alex Chin and Neema Zarrabian. The rest of the team includes Keating, Chapman, Shimbori, Koya Matsui, Sammy Feingold-Gardner, Zach Knoss, Alex Kurtin, Ryan Leung and Justin Yue.
Now to the Lou Tompkins tourney, where South End hurler Chris Delouchrey cooled off the Brookline bats with a 4-0 victory at steamy Warren Field in a battle between two of the top teams in the “A” Division. South End improved to 10-0, while Brookline fell to 9-3.
Delouchery struck out 12 in a complete-game, three-hitter, and the South End offense scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to spoil a solid outing by Brookline starting pitcher Aiden Connolly.
“This was a good ball game, but we just didn’t hit,” Brookline head coach John Bucci said.
Connolly was strong in his seven innings of work. He allowed all four runs, but only surrendered four hits. Lazaro Rivera’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Sean Webster to get South End on the board in the top of the third, but Connolly was near unhittable in the first six innings of the game.
“Aiden’s been fantastic in all of his starts this year,” said Bucci. “He wants the ball and he never wants to come off the mound.”
The offense only had a few opportunities to get a couple of runs, but Delouchery thwarted any of those potential scoring chances. Scott Cordner walked in the first inning and got stranded at third base. Kevin Chen led off the bottom of the third with a single, stole second and got to third with two outs, but was be left there as Delouchery recorded the final out with a popup to second base.
In a 1-0 game in the sixth inning, Alex Moses-Gardner worked a one-out walk and Austin Johnson (2-for-3, two singles) moved him over to second with two outs, but Delouchery picked up his ninth strikeout to end the inning.
“We didn’t have a good approach against a primarily fastball pitcher,” Bucci said. “We took too many strikes early in the game and we let him set the pace.”
The first three hitters reached safely in the top of the seventh for South End, and all three runners came across to push the lead to 4-0.
Pat Ouellette and Tom Layman contributed to this report.