Arnold, Apanell deliver for Frontier in 6-1 win over South Hadley

For the Gazette
Published: 4/28/2017 10:15:22 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Strong performances from starting pitcher Ben Arnold and reliever Dylan Apanell for Frontier Regional held South Hadley to just one hit in a 6-1 win on Friday.

The victory gave Frontier (5-2, 1-0 Hampshire West) a perfect week after defeating Mahar on Monday and Pioneer Regional on Wednesday, which was the team’s goal according to coach Chris Williams.

“We knew South Hadley’s got a great program, it was going to be our biggest challenge (of the week), but the players played great D, the pitching was perfect as usual, and our hitting came up with the big hits when we needed to. To put up six runs against South Hadley, that’s a feather in our cap for sure,” Williams said.

Arnold threw four-plus innings, struck out five and allowed just one run off one hit and three walks.

“He was hitting his spots, mixing in his curveball well, keeping them off balance,” Williams said.

After Arnold walked the first two batters in the fifth, Apanell was brought on to work out of the jam. Apanell retired two straight South Hadley batters before a catcher’s interference call loaded the bases.

Frontier escaped without allowing a run when second baseman Connor Waitkus made a nice play on a grounder and first baseman Kade Gewanter scooped a low throw out of the dirt.

“Connor Waitkus – great job getting to the ball, then of course we all saw the throw and started freaking out, but Kade Gewanter came up with the big scoop and I honestly think that inning won us the game because momentum could have gone the other way and then who knows what happens,” Williams said.

Waitkus shifted the focus away from the play and toward the team win.

“It was big but it’s the team who wins. That’s just one out out of many outs, so I just take it as an out,” Waitkus said.

The play preserved a 2-1 Red Hawks lead that stemmed from Waitkus’ two-out RBI double in the fifth inning.

“That felt great, that was amazing,” Waitkus said.

Waitkus’ RBI looked like it would be the difference in the game before Frontier added four insurance runs in the sixth inning.

“I was thinking at the time, ‘hey this might be enough to get the W the way Apanell was pitching,’ but the boys just hammered down, kept rolling, and got some more runs for us, so that was huge,” Williams said.

South Hadley (4-2, 0-1) could not get its bats going against the Red Hawks pitching duo. The Tigers’ lone hit was a triple by Ted Doyle in the fourth inning.

“Certainly we weren’t quite ready to face that type of pitching so commend them, they played a really good game today,” Tigers coach Matt Foley said. “We made a few mistakes in the field and they capitalized on them, they made a couple mistakes in the field and we didn’t quite capitalize on them.”

Doyle scored on a passed ball following his triple, putting South Hadley ahead 1-0.

“We had that one big hit by Teddy and he’s a pretty good hitter, thought that would spark us,” Foley said. “We got a couple runners on and just couldn’t get the big hit. Their pitchers definitely stepped up and got some big strikeouts, kept it out of the fielders’ hands.”

The Tigers will look to Doyle to continue to lead the team going forward, as well as getting some additions from other players.

“We need him to step up and be our leader, not just hitting but all-around,” Foley said. “He’s the guy that’s done it in football and certainly can do it here, he’s a very big, strong, powerful guy. We rely on him a lot but we can’t just have one guy doing it, some other guys have got to do some things.”

Doyle hopes South Hadley will have a better result when it hosts Frontier on May 12.

“They’re a good team, they hit us well and they can run the bases, they do all the fundamentals good, they’re a tough one,” Doyle said. “We have them again so hopefully a better outcome next time.”

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