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Recap for the game: Drury vs Lenox on Jun 03

'Aggressive' Millionaires Advance in D5 Tournament

By Stephen Dravis Sports
10:04PM / Friday, June 03, 2022

LENOX, Mass. – After being shut out for 8-⅔ innings by Drury’s Nick Lescarbeau two weeks ago, the Lenox baseball team was raring to go in the rematch.
And the Millionaires jumped on the Blue Devils ace for four runs in the top of the first en route to an 8-4 win in the Division 5 State Tournament rematch at War Memorial Park on Friday afternoon.
Cliff Flynn went 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs, and the Millionaires stole four bases, including a steal of home to make a winner of Max Shepardson, who struck out five and allowed three earned runs in a complete-game effort.
“We were going to be aggressive if he was in the strike zone, and we were,” Lenox coach Kevin Downer said. “That was our game plan right from the get-go.
“I think his arm was a little tired, to be honest with you. He didn’t throw as hard as he threw the last game against us. I think his arm was a little tired, but he’s a good pitcher. And we’re a good hitting team. This team is hitting like .340 this year. Pitching is not going to scare us.”
The Millionaires (11-10) are going to need that attitude in the next round, where they likely will see one of the scarier pitchers in the D5 field. Third-seeded Mount Greylock (17-4) has its pick of pitchers coming off a no-hitter in his last outing: Jack Cangelosi, who came within four outs of a perfect game in the Western Mass finals, or Derek Paris, who threw a perfect game in the regional quarter-finals.
But that is a problem for Sunday in Williamstown.
On Friday in Lenox, the Millionaires jumped in front with three hits in the first inning.
Michael Butler led off with a single and Michael Ward was hit by a pitch to get the rally started.
Flynn drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to left, and Shepardson reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt that drove in Ward. Luca Traversa then drove in a pair with a single to right to make it 4-0.
Lenox stretched that lead with a three-run third that featured Flynn’s RBI double to the fence in left center.
Meanwhile, Shepardson gave up just three hits through the first four innings and got a double play on an outfield assist from right fielder Ryan Johansen to end the third.
“The curveball was working pretty good,” Shepardson said. “I had to rely on it a lot because I couldn’t locate my fastball. I was trying the splitter out for a couple of innings. It was working pretty good. I was happy with the curveball.
“The fastball, I couldn’t really get in there, but the curveball was working.”
Downer said Shepardson’s return to the rotation has been a nice addition for a Lenox team that has won seven of its last 10 games.
“Max was perfect today,” he said. “He’s just got to learn to not overthrow the ball. Having an injury and losing him all year long, this is a blessing in disguise getting him back for the tournament because he’s our No. 1 pitcher, no doubt about that.
“Michael Butler can throw, too, and we’ve got Cliffy [Flynn] behind him. But Max pitched a great game.”
Drury (10-11) finally broke through in the top of the fifth.
Zack Davignon led off with a double, and Julian Feliciano was hit by a pitch before Anthony Pettengill hit a two-out double to drive in a pair of runs and make it 7-2. Pettingill eventually came home on a wild pitch before Lenox ended the inning with two men on base on a sterling play by Butler at shortstop – going well into the hole on the third base side and throwing to first to just catch the batter.
“That’s huge,” Shepardson said. “Honestly, that’s the biggest play I can think of all year, almost. We were all hyped up. We expect that from him because he’s a great shortstop, and he made the play there.”
Lenox generated its last run in the top of the sixth when Butler worked a leadoff walk, moved up on a ball to the backstop and stole third and home.
“I went through the [score]book and I told our guys, ‘We’ve played [Drury] twice, and in two games, we had one stolen base,” Downer said. “That wasn’t going to happen today, let me tell ya. … That was our game plan: Be aggressive. Steal, bunt, whatever it takes to win the ballgame.”
And moving on to the next round, Downer will expect the same level of aggressiveness.
“We know who we’ve got, we know what we’ve got to do,” he said of the matchup with Mount Greylock. “We’re going to come out, and we’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to try to score runs off those guys. We had those guys the first time we played them. We had them 4-0. We let that one get away from us. We’ve let three or four games get away from us, and that was one of them.
“We know who we’re up against. They’re a good ball club. But we’re a good ball club. I’m looking forward to that game.”
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