No Mercy! Nauset Baseball Thumps Wareham 13-1 In 5 Innings

by Brad Joyal

WAREHAM – The Warriors are back on track.

After suffering a three-game losing skid following a 9-1 start, the Nauset baseball team was desperate to get back on track. The Warriors can finally put their slump behind them after cruising to a 13-1 mercy-rule victory over Wareham on Monday at Spillane Field, the team’s fourth straight victory.

“After an hour-and-a-half bus ride, it’s easy to not get off the bus and play,” Nauset’s first-year coach Brett Labonte said. “We had a really rough infield and outfield, but they woke up immediately against one of their better pitchers. We got on him quick. It makes it easier when you’re spotting yourself a few.”

Nauset (13-4) capitalized on a couple Wareham errors to build an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Seniors Ethan Beer and Chase Beach both scored with two outs after a grounder by Kieran Handville was mishandled, then Handville scored to make it 3-0 after a liner by sophomore Paul Alves went off the Wareham center fielder’s glove.

In their second trip to the plate, the heart of Nauset’s order exploded for four runs to help the Warriors build an 8-1 advantage in the second. Senior Evan Archer plated sophomore Max St. Aubin and senior Andrew Dinnan with a two-run triple, Beer brought Archer home with an RBI double and then scored on an RBI triple by Beach, who trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Handville to complete the rally.

“It feels good,” said Beer of the offensive outpour. “It’s one after another. People do their job and then other people follow, just passing the torch.”

Beer added a two-run triple in the fifth to help Nauset secure the mercy-rule victory. On the mound, sophomore Emmet Blatz dazzled despite being called upon in surprising fashion.

Sophomore Colin Potter originally started on the mound for Nauset but lasted just two batters before leaving the game with shoulder soreness. That left Labonte scrambling to find another arm, and Blatz answered the call after being informed of the news while he was catching for another pitcher in the Warriors’ bullpen.

After allowing an unearned run when the first batter he faced grounded into a fielder’s choice to score a runner from third, Blatz settled in to end the inning after retiring the next two batters he faced.

In all, the sophomore allowed just three hits and struck out five to earn the win after tossing four and two-thirds innings in his varsity debut.

“I was nervous, but I'm really happy about it,” said Blatz, a Brewster resident. “At the beginning of the season, I was told I’d probably only be a bullpen guy. So, to finally get the opportunity feels great.”

The coach was equally impressed by his ability to rise to the challenge.

“It definitely wasn’t how we planned it for him,” Labonte said. “We had a guy that we wanted to see get a start, but then he pitched four pitches and hurt himself and we grabbed Emmet out of the bullpen. He threw strikes all day, so I’m really happy with that.”

All season, Labonte has constantly challenged his players to continue to improve each day. With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Warriors’ rookie coach is happy with the way his team is trending.

“At the beginning of the season, we’d go through practice and when we’re making them run, I kept saying to them and they’d laugh, ‘I don’t care who you are at the beginning of the season, tell me who you’re going to be at the end,’” Labonte said. “Everyone can be good when you’re 9-1 and high almighty, but to get hit in the chin three games in a row and then come back and win four in a row says a lot about them.”