Late Surge Lifts Athol Nine Past Drury

By Leila Sports
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NORTH ADAMS-- A brief rainstorm in the top of the fifth inning only added to the sense of disappointment at Drury High School today, as the Blue Devils fell to visiting Athol, 17-6, in the baseball team's season opener. 
Drury started strong, with junior Payton Barnes scoring first in the bottom of the second off a well-hit single from the bat of catcher Dylan Crockwell. Drury held onto a 2-1 lead through the third inning. Both teams were aggressive early and capitalized on on-base opportunities to score by stealing bases.
The rain began in the fifth and coincided with a tremendous rally by Athol. The visitors began to see Drury’s pitches and took nine walks in the fifth and sixth innings, extending their lead to 12-2. Some infield errors by the Blue Devils helped Athol's late rallies.
Drury fans were heartened to see a rally its own in the bottom of the seventh, as the Blue Devils scored four runs.
The inning began with a walk earned by pitcher Justyn Cowell and was continued by a two-out single by Barnes. With Cowell at first and Barnes at second, Alan Marceau came up to bat. Perhaps the most exciting play of the game came off the bat of Marceau, a sophomore at Drury who had not started the game. With two outs left, and down 17-4, Marceau drove in two runs.
Ultimately, the Blue Devils could not score enough to make up the 13-run deficit, but Drury fans got a little taste of hope at the end of the game.   
Athol, who recently beat Greenfield High School in extra innings, got its second road win of the young season. And although the Blue Devils are just getting started with a squad that features four freshmen, four sophomores and an eighth grader, the young team remained supportive of each other throughout the tough game.
"We played four innings of baseball that I see our future being consistent through seven," Drury coach Pat Boulger said. "Few mental lapses, but we correct it tomorrow and go forward.
"This is a great program to be a part of and we have players that are dialed in. Tough decisions to make when you have young talent."
The Blue Devils look ahead to Monday’s contest against Pittsfield High.
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