Simone Homers Win Hendy Field Grand Re-Opening Thrillers

©Gabriel Fidler
©Gabriel Fidler

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – On a picture perfect day for baseball on the Cape, Jackson Simone homered on both ends of a thrilling doubleheader, and freshmen Mason Ashburn and John Teehan pitched superb games as Massachusetts Maritime Academy celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of Hendy Field with a pair of 2-1 victories over Worcester State University. The Buccaneers end the regular season in second place to Westfield State University despite identical records.

The festivities started 20 minutes before Ashburn took the mound, as a moving introduction highlighted the Academy's baseball history, including the building of what became Hendy Field. Commodore Hendy started MMA's first baseball team and his three sons, John, Thomas, and Bill were among the pitchers for the ceremonial first pitches.

Joining the Hendys in front of the mound were Academy President, Admiral Francis X. McDonald, and legendary Buccaneer Head Coach and Athletic Director Bob "Coach C" Corradi. An enormous flag was presented in center field by the Bourne Fire Department, while Bourne Youth Baseball took the field for the national anthem. The Academy's Honor Guard presented the national ensign and a host of former players took the field for the pledge of allegiance.

Game One
The game lived up to the pomp of its ceremonies as Maritime hurler Mason Ashburn and Lancer starter Kyle Sullivan battled in a riveting pitcher's duel. The Bucs did have a chance in the opening frame, as Casey Furnas and Logan Sullo singled, but Sullivan got a groundball and caught the final batter looking.

It was Worcester who plated the game's first run, creating the score out of a leadoff walk, a sacrifice, and a wild pitch in the third. The following frame, the Lancers had a pair of two-out singles, but Ashburn escaped without harm.

Neither club threatened again until the fifth as Ben Paine beat out a one-out safety to the left side and scored as the previously effective Sullivan completely lost the strike zone, walking three of the next four batters. Sullo had the RBI-walk to tie the game.

Meanwhile, Ashburn was excellent in the later innings, retiring eight in-a-row from the fourth to seventh frames. Simone would finally break the deadlock and give the Bucs' first-year starter his fourth win as he blasted a home run to right field in the sixth inning.

Ashburn (4-2) had an easy seventh in pitching the complete game three-hitter. The rookie right-hander struck out five and allowed three walks and the single run. Sullivan (2-6) was the unlucky loser, working around four hits and four walks in six frames.

Colin Medeiros was the only player for either nine with two hits, also drawing a walk.

Game Two
The battle of moundsmen continued in the rubber match as John Teehan faced Worcester's Matt Irzyk. Both pitchers matched zeroes in the first two frames, before Ben Palatino struck a one-out single in the third. A wild pitch that vanished from Sullo's view moved Palatino to third, and a sacrifice fly brought him home.

In the following inning, Teehan had to work around three baserunners, but got a big K to escape the inning without a run. Simone picked him up in the bottom of the fourth, ripping another roundtripper to the exact same spot in right field.

The final three scheduled frames went by without any offensive momentum for either side as the strike zone enlarged and Irzyk, in particular, took advantage dropping breaking ball after breaking ball on the corners as the Bucs pounded their bats in frustration.

Teehan set down 12 consecutive batters starting in the fourth and the game proceeded to extra innings. The Lancers put a runner on in the eighth, but Sullo wrapped up a wild pitch and fired to second to nab the batter who had taken a late start.

 

It was 1-2-3 for Maritime in the eighth and it appeared that the top of the ninth would see WSU score the go-ahead run. Chadd Richardson earned a walk to start things off and Parker Bigelow entered as a pinch runner, advancing to second on a sac bunt. Kevin Larkin then bounced a ball to Teehan, who immediately fired to third and Bigelow was caught in a rundown.

Larkin, however, raced to second on the play, keeping the winning run in scoring position for the Lancers. Kenan Kolanda responded by lacing a base-knock to right field and Larkin was waved home. Connor Kennedy quickly fired the ball home, where Sullo fielded the ball on one bounce and placed a perfect tag on the streaking Lancer.

The perfectly executed play ended the rally and Sullo joined Teehan behind the mound to thank Kennedy for his efforts. The play fired up the bench and the Buccaneer bats quickly got to work.

Nick Haley, who has swung a red-hot bat in the last week or so, bounced a ball up-the-middle to get Maritime started. Simone was asked to lay a bunt down and did so perfectly, moving pinch runner Lewis L'Heureux to second. Paul Sances responded with a single to right center and L'Heureux sped home, sliding in just ahead of the row as the Buccaneer bench exploded in celebration.

Teehan (4-2) was the beneficiary and continued his bid for MASCAC Rookie of the Year. The freshman righty scattered seven hits and a single free pass over nine innings, whiffing nine. Even more impressively, the hurler needed only 100 pitches in the win, putting a whopping 71 over the plate.

Teehan has allowed only four earned runs in his last 33 1/3 frames for an ERA of 1.08 in that span, during which has struck out 39 batters. Teehan ranks among the conference leaders in ERA, wins, saves, complete games, and strikeouts per nine innings.

Irzyk pitched exceptionally well, but fell to 4-2 after surrendering two earned runs in 8 1/3 innings, permitting eight hits and a base on balls against three whiffs. Kolanda supported him with a brace of hits, the only Lancer to reach base more than once.

Sullo was 2-for-4, reaching base four times in the twinbill. The senior backstop is far-and-away the leader in on-base percentage in the league, reaching base more than 50 percent of the time. Simone and Paine also had a pair of hits for the victors.

The victory pushed Maritime's record to 18-13, but more importantly finished tied for the best record in the conference at 10-4. The Bucs will be the No. 2 seed for the MASCAC tournament, however, as they lost a tiebreaker (wins versus the No. 3 team) to regular season champions Westfield State.

The homestand and regular season will conclude with a single game against Gordon College (17-14) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. All are welcome to newly re-opened Hendy Field.

Make sure to bookmark www.mmabucs.com and get the inside scoop on Facebook and Twitter @mmabuccaneers. Plus, check out our new Instagram @massmaritimebuccaneers.

Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate