The Winthrop High baseball team racked up two impressive wins this past week and in the process qualified for the state tournament.
On Monday the Vikings hosted Gloucester, a team that was ranked 13th in Eastern Mass. and in first place in the NEC South Division with a 12-3 overall record. Junior righthander Justin Rowe, who has been impressive all season in relief roles, earned the starting nod from WHS head coach Jim Gillis and endured a rocky first inning in which he was tagged for five runs by the visiting Fishermen.
However, that would prove to be all of the run production for the day by the boys from the north, as Justin settled down and scattered nine hits over a scoreless next five innings.
Meanwhile, his teammates posted back to back rallies of three runs each in the third and fourth stanzas to take the lead. Joe Boudrow delivered the key hit in the third, a two run RBI single, and Tyler Pettee came through with the big blow in the fourth, a two run triple that brought in Nick McCarthy (who scored two runs and had an RBI on the day) and Anthony Spinazzola.
Southpaw Rob Swanson came on in the seventh inning when Rowe gave up a lead-off hit and, after Gloucester put runners at second and third with one out, fanned the Fishermenâ€™s third and fourth hitters to end the game and pick up the save.
Two days earlier in a non league encounter with Marion on the local diamond, Anthony Hatzisavas tossed his fourth complete game of the season en route to a 7-3 triumph. Hatziâ€™ allowed just four hits and fanned eight enemy batters to raise his record to 3-2.
Winthrop scored four runs in the second frame and never looked back. Joe Dâ€™Amore had two hits, an RBI, and a run scored and Swanson had two hits, two RBI, and a run to pace the Viking offensive attack.
This also marked the contest that clinched a state tourney spot for Winthrop by assuring the Vikings of a .500 record against the Division 3 teams on their schedule.
â€œThese were two big games for us. Weâ€™ve been in the doldrums for a while and it was nice to see us get our confidence back,â€ said Gillis, referring to the snapping of the Vikingsâ€™ recent losing streak. â€œHopefully our mid season slump is behind us and weâ€™ll play our best baseball as we approach the tournament,â€ added the coach, who was a member of the 1981 Winthrop nine that caught fire at the end of that fabled season and went on to win a state championship.
Gillis and his crew were set to travel to Danvers last night (Wednesday). They will play at Swampscott next Monday, at Saugus on Wednesday, and host Watertown next Thursday in the regular season finale.