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Hawks knock Timber Wolves out of tourney



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AUSTIN PERRIN fouls off a pitch during playoff action against Hopkinton Friday afternoon. ( Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 07, 2010
HOPKINTON — With the way the season started, eventually making the playoffs was a significant accomplishment for the Prospect Mountain baseball team.

And with the way the Timber Wolves started their playoff game at Hopkinton on Friday it looked like the two-time Class M champions had finally completely rounded into form.

However, the third-seeded Hawks finally got their bats going and their lefthanded hurler settled down, leading the hosts to an 11-1 win in the first round of the Class M playoffs.

Things started off great for the Timber Wolves. Anthony Frangione led off the game with an infield hit and Jake Biscoe promptly drove him in with a double to give the Timber Wolves a 1-0 lead two batters in.

Frangione toed the rubber in the bottom of the inning and induced two pop flies and a liner to center that Timber Wolf centerfielder Pat Cassidy made a great diving catch on.

The Timber Wolves went in order in the second, but the Hawks didn't do the same in the bottom of the inning, as they got two straight hits and a walk to start the inning. Another hit plated a pair of runs and the hosts had a 2-1 lead. Frangione got the next batter to line to left for the inning's first out and then got a fly ball to center. The Hawk base runner was off with the pitch and Cassidy tossed the ball in to second baseman Ben Couch to complete the 8-4 double play and end the inning.

Frangione was robbed of a base hit by the Hawk second baseman in the top of the third and that play came back to haunt the Timber Wolves, as Biscoe laced his second double of the game one batter later. The Prospect shortstop was stranded at second.

Frangione got the first two batters of the third inning, but the third batter lined a shot that hit Frangione's lower leg. The junior hurler rebounded nicely by getting a popup to right to end the inning.

Both teams went in order in the fourth inning, but Ethan Henderson led off the top of the fifth with a base hit. However, he was picked off first and the next two batters went down in order.

The Hawks finally got a little insurance in the bottom of the fifth. The leadoff batter reached on a base hit, but catcher Austin Perrin threw him out stealing, with Couch making a great scoop of the throw at second to apply the tag. One out later, three consecutive base hits, including one that barely made it through the infield, pushed across another run for the Hawks, giving them a 3-1 lead after five innings of play.

Biscoe rapped his third hit of the afternoon with one out in the top of the sixth, but was picked off first base on what appeared to be something close to a balk by the Hopkinton pitcher.

The next batter, Zack Drouin, hustled down the line on an infield grounder and reached when the ball was thrown away. Drouin stumbled after racing past the bag and turned toward second base. The Hawks raced to put the tag on the Timber Wolf sophomore and the umpire called him out. Coach Bubba Noyes made his case to the umpire, to no avail and the inning was over.

Hopkinton then took control of the game in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff double, a walk, a bloop hit and another double pushed the lead to 5-1 and knocked Frangione off the hill, with Drouin taking over on the mound. Another base hit made it 7-1 before Drouin got a strikeout for the inning's first out. A base hit and an infield hit loaded the bases and a triple that eluded a diving Cassidy in right centerfield pushed across all three runners and the throw to third to try and gun down the batter sailed over the fence and the batter trotted home with the winning run.

"It was obviously not a great ending for us," Noyes noted, but pointing out that after an 0-5 start to the season, getting into the playoffs was a significant accomplishment.

He also gave credit to a solid Hopkinton team and noted that the hosts seemed to get the little bounces that his team didn't get.

"There were a lot of bleeders that they found eyes for and we didn't," the veteran coach said.

The Timber Wolves finished the regular season at 7-9 and were the 14th seed in the Class M tournament. Hopkinton went on to beat Farmington in the Class M quarterfinals the following day and played Winnisquam in the semifinals Wednesday in Concord.

The Timber Wolves will lose only three seniors, Shayne Kennedy, Matt Apkarian and Brian Jones, to graduation.

"That's a good sign," Noyes said, noting minimal graduation losses are a positive sign for the future.

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