BOLTON-North Middlesex has been forced to swallow the pill that Mother Nature dealt them as they times they have only been on the field is during road games. The Patriots were forced to change their regularly scheduled home game with Nashoba to Bolton, as their field is still unfit for play.
"We need to cut the errors down," said Patriots head coach Tom Bartelson. "That first error which created the game winning run changed the momentum. All-in-all, they played a good game."
North Middlesex fell 2-0 to the Chieftains, despite a solid debut performance by senior knuckleballer Kevin Powell. Powell fanned four, walked one, and surrendered just three hits over seven innings of work. Powell was working fast, throwing just 88 pitches in Monday's loss, which dropped the Patriots to 0-4 on the young season.
North Middlesex tallied five hits, but they were unable to come up with anything to show for it. Senior Chieftain hurler Jack Sarnoski went the distance for the win, giving up five hits, while striking out six.
The Patriots hung a run on the board in the first inning with a two-out single by Andrew Jenna. Jenna connected on a Sarnoski curve, and belted it past the outstretched glove of Nashoba shortstop Jordan Edmonds into left.
Sarnoski recovered quickly with a three pitch strikeout of Powell to retire the side, as the Patriots left Jenna stranded at first. In the bottom half of the frame, Powell retired John Militano on a deep fly-out to center field.
Next up for Nashoba was Ian Coull who Powell made quick work of with a knee buckling knuckler that nibbled the inside corner for the second out of the frame.
"That was Powell's first varsity game on the mound," said Bartelson. "I think he did well. The knuckle ball was dancing. It worked out well in our favor."
Powell sent Edmonds to first on the walk, and he was smacked home on a crushing RBI single to center by Chieftains 'third-baseman Matt Sabourin who reached second on an error, which put the Patriots down 1-0. Edmonds swiped second base, despite an excellent throw by North Middlesex catcher Ben Wright to set-up the RBI by Sabourin.
Sarnoski went into the second inning with a slim 1-0 lead, and continued to mow down the Patriots batters as he retired Mitchell Hundlin on a pool-cue shot to second. Junior third-baseman Shawn Pinney blasted a frozen-rope down the left field line for a single.
Sarnoski jammed sophomore John Boutwell into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play to keep the shutout intact after an inning and a half.
MIlitano started the Chieftains off on the right foot in the bottom of the second with a bloop single into shallow center field. Militano stole on the 2-1 count to Coull, who would be retired on a pop-out to right. Edmonds cranked an RBI single up the shoot to plate Militano, and give the Chieftains a little insurance at 2-0. Edmonds attempted to snag second base, but Ryan would have nothing of it as he gunned him down to end the inning.
North Middlesex appeared to have something cooking in the third inning with back to back screaming singles by Ben Wright, and Ryan to start the inning. Leadoff hitter Tyler MacDonald dumped a beautiful bunt down the first baseline, and narrowly made it safely as he advanced the runners into scoring position.
Sarnoski handed the pressure, retiring Anthony Sylvester, and Jenna to end the inning thus resulting in Wright and Ryan stranded on base.
Nashoba would hang on in the later innings, and pick up their second win of the season, dropping North Middlesex to 0-4 on the young season. Pinney led the Patriots at the dish , finishing the game two-for-three with a pair of singles.
"It is our fourth game, and we are playing better," said Bartelson. "I am proud with what they are doing. Our strength should be our pitching and hitting, but right now the hitting is keeping us back. The only thing we can do is get better."
Official time of the game: 1-hour, 57-minutes.