Busy stretch to determine Legion playoff chances


Kevin Powers has excelled on the mound and at the plate. (Mike Barucci photo)

Ten games in nine days will determine the playoff fate for the 6-6 Canton American Legion Post 24 baseball team, which is in a battle with Holbrook (7-5) for the fourth and final playoff spot.

Last week Canton went 1-2 with a dominating 9-3 win over Holbrook and two exciting but disappointing losses to Braintree 6-5 and Milton 2-0. The Canton offense had been hot but was limited to just three hits against Milton.

The pitching, led by Kevin Powers and Ryan Riley, has been quite good as of late.

“We have shown we can play with anyone,” said head coach Greg Lyons. “I think it is going to come down to who has the deepest pitching staff. Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone has to play a lot of games in a short period of time.”

Starting Monday, July 6, and continuing to Tuesday, July 14, Canton was scheduled to play every day except July 9. Away games were scheduled for July 6 at Quincy, July 7 at Braintree, and July 8 at Hyde Park, with Canton coming home to face Weymouth tomorrow at 5:45 p.m., Milton on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., and Quincy on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Ruane Field.

Next week, the team will end the regular season with an away game Monday against Holbrook at Massasoit College and a doubleheader Tuesday against Cohasset beginning at 5 p.m. at Ruane Field.

Canton has proven that when it gets good starting pitching and is aggressive at the plate it is tough to beat. Except for the Milton game, the middle of the lineup, led by Powers, Pat Vartanian, Griffin Jerrier and Aiden Arnold, has produced a lot of hits and RBIs.

Powers led the team on the mound and at bat against Holbrook. He pitched a complete game, limiting Holbrook to three earned runs on eight hits in an efficient 78-pitch outing. The Canton defense was also impressive, turning four double plays.

Powers had multiple hits at the plate, including a two-run triple and an RBI single. Jerrier chipped in with a two-run double while Joe Peccia legged out a triple. Jacob Berish and Arnold also had RBIs for Canton in the win.

Against undefeated Braintree last Tuesday, Canton fought back from a 6-0 deficit and had the tying run at third with two outs before bowing 6-5. Berish’s three-run homerun and two hits by Vartanian paced the comeback attempt with other hits turned in by Jacob Milley, Jerrier, Peccia, Powers, and Matt Schaffer.

Despite the 2-0 loss to Milton, the team played well in a pitching duel between Riley and Lloyd Hill of Milton. Both pitched well with Milton breaking through in the fifth inning on an unearned run before adding an insurance run in the sixth. Canton loaded the bases in the sixth with one out, but Milton got out of the threat with a force at home and  a fly out. Riley pitched six innings and gave up three hits and one earned run.

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