Leominster Forces One More Game
NORTHBORO -- They live another day.
After falling to Shrewsbury American Legion Post 397, 2-1, on Sunday evening, it forced a must-win situation for Leominster Post 151 when the two teams battled at the Northeast Baseball Complex on Monday night.
Post 151′s 2-0 win over Post 397 forces tonight’s winner-take-all for the Zone 4 title right here, with Lunenburg’s Connor Palma taking the ball for Leominster
Leominster improved to 30-5 overall (26-3 in the Zone), while Shrewsbury fell to 25-4.
Post 151 skipper Jeff Dediean had originally tabbed Palma as Monday night’s starter, but bumped Palma to Tuesday, and instead had Leominster High ace Pat Gallagher take the ball.
“Off of three days’ rest,” Dedeian said. “I’ve known Pat for a long time, and everything that was talked about about him was shown today. The kid battled, and he does what he’s asked to do. It was a phenomenal job by him.
“Connor Palma going tomorrow, he’s been great for us all year, too. He was scheduled to start, but about 12 o’clock, I texted Pat and said, ‘You’re here to win a game. Are you ready to go?’ He was ready to go, it worked out, and we have (Palma) ready to go (Tuesday).”
It was a gamble that paid off, as Gallagher yielded three hits while striking out four on 105 pitches. The UConn-bound senior-to-be was economical, throwing five 1-2-3 frames.
The right-hander was also rather democratic with the outs, as his defense played flawlessly behind him to keep Shrewsbury honest.
He also helped his own cause in the bottom of the third: with one out and a runner at first, he repeatedly threw over to keep the runner relatively close to first. But with a full count to Matt Sullivan, the runner was off on contact -- contact that went straight to Fitchburg High second baseman Zach Scott for the lineout, and the L4-3 inning-ending double play.
He also stranded two runners in the home half of the second, a mighty squander for Post 397.
Matt Dupuis had the big knocks for Leominster, as the shortstop drove in both runs -- both scored by 2018 classmate James Powers -- in the second and fourth innings, respectively, both times with two outs.
Both were singles to right field.
“We had an adjustment off of yesterday,” Dedeian explained without going into too much detail. “He hit the ball hard yesterday and got out every time; he made a little bit of an adjustment when we were hitting in BP today. Two huge hits, and he deserves all the credit in the world.”
In all, Leominster registered five hits off Shrewsbury youngster John West, who struck out seven hitters while walking two.