The force was with Luke McClintock
The freshman hurler tossed a complete game shutout, as the third-ranked Hamilton-Wenham baseball team blanked seven-seed Excel Academy, 8-0, in the Division 4 North Semifinals June 13.
With the win the Generals (17-5) advance to face top-seed Central Catholic in the Division 4 North Finals. Saturday, June 16 at LaLacheur Park at 4 p.m.
McClintock was the star of the game for the Generals tossing a complete game shutout in which he only allowed four hits, while fanning seven.
The effort came as no surprise to Hamilton-Wenham coach Reggie Maidment.
“He’s got 32 innings with a 0 ERA,” said Maidement. “As a freshman, that’s pretty impressive. He’s come here for us being a freshman playing in big tournaments with AAU teams, so he knows how to handle pressure.”
Not bad for a pitcher coming off three days rest, but this wasn’t your normal week for this talented bunch.
“[Luke] didn’t have his best stuff,” Maidment admitted. “We knew that they’re fastball hitters, so we knew he had to mix up his stuff and I think he did a great job with it. As a freshman to have a performance like that and have a season the way he’s doing, there’s no one I’d rather have the ball right there.”
Although he got off to a bumpy start, McClintock managed to make the most of it.
“I didn’t start out too well,” he said. “(I) had some trouble, but I started to work through it and I started to groove.”
The rookie was also thrilled to help lead hit team to the D4 North Finals.
“It feels pretty good,” said McClintock. “I’m a freshman, so I haven’t been in this situation, but it’s a good feeling.”
While the score doesn’t show it, this game was very much a pitcher’s duel for most of it. The opposing pitcher Carlos Vazquez was cruising early as well and the game was scoreless until the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Generals took advantage of the large outfield of Trinity Stadium, slamming a couple of clutch triples into deep center. One came courtesy of senior captain Adam Parady, the other by senior captain Phil Durgin, to establish the 2-0 lead.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the sixth, when Hamilton-Wenham broke the game wide open.
Sophomore Ian Coffey was hit by a pitch to open the inning, Phil Durgin drove him in with his second RBI triple of the contest. Then the inning was capped off by a 3 run inside-the-park home run by senior captain Jake Lanciani to straight away center. When the dust settled, it was 8-0 Generals.
“Our bats have been there all year,” Maidment said “We’ve been able to score runs. Stringing hits together when it counts was the important thing and I think we did that really, really well top to bottom.”
The Generals now turn their attention to Lowell Catholic, in the Division 4 North Finals Saturday, June 16 at LeLacheur Park in Lowell at 4 p.m.
Until then it will be business as usual.
Coach Maidment said about preparation for that game,
“Normal workday tomorrow,” Maidment said. “Come to school, see you at practice. We’ll work hard like we do everyday.”