Colchester squeezes Rice in extra innings

Colchester squeezes Rice in extra innings

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Colchester squeezes Rice in extra innings

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COLCHESTER

Still miffed about his misplay that led to Rice’s go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, Colchester’s Jared Antoniak strolled to the plate with a chance at redemption.

“I thought I had to make up for it. It was a bad play on my part at third base,” Antoniak said. “It was on my mind and I just wanted to help my team out and move on.”

Antoniak did just that.

With the bases loaded and one out, Antoniak laid down a perfect suicide squeeze, scoring Cory Benoit in a two-run rally that sent No. 4 Colchester to a pulsating 3-2 victory over fifth-seeded Rice Memorial in a Division I high school baseball quarterfinal Saturday.

Rainy weather suspended a 1-all game after four innings Friday, setting up a dramatic conclusion on a dry, overcast afternoon.

After Rice forged ahead on Charlie Boardman’s bouncer down the third base line, the Lakers mounted a rally. Boardman issued back-to-back walks to open the eighth, followed by Josh Rylant’s game-tying single.

Rice intentionally walked the next batter, then Boardman earned a swinging strikeout before Antoniak’s came to the plate. Prior to the fourth pitch, Antoniak read squeeze from Colchester coach Tom Perry and the sophomore fought off a tough pitch from Boardman to drop down a bunt that evaded a couple Rice players.

“Everyone in the park knew it was coming. It was our best opportunity and if it’s executed properly we are going to win the game and it was,” Perry said. “It was perfect and that was on the kids. I can make calls all day, but they have to execute and that was well done.”

Devin Dessormeau earned the win, tossing four relief innings with five strikeouts and three hits. Dessormeau, who also went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, scored the tying run, and Rylant and Sean Callahan each finished with two hits for a 14-4 Lakers team that will make its second straight semifinals appearance this week.

Callahan was also Colchester’s starter Friday, striking out six and allowing two hits and a run in four inning of work.

For Rice (11-7), Antonio Forehand’s two hits included a double and Will Conroy, the original starter, tripled, walked and scored. Boardman took the loss, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out three in 313 innings. Friday, Conroy yielded two hits and struck out five in four innings.

Dealing with a suspended playoff game for the second straight year, Rice’s second-year coach Jamie Merchant said his Green Knights battled but fell short.

“We didn’t give it away. We played really hard, they played really and it was a great baseball game,” Merchant said. “That’s how baseball should be played and won — somebody making a play.”

Twice, Rice took leads — 1-0 and 2-1 — and twice the Lakers battled back, an encouraging sign, Perry said.

“They have been like that all year — they don’t give up, they are a tough group of kids,” Perry said.

Added Antoniak: “We have heart and we want to make it history and be the first Colchester baseball team to win a state championship.”

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