Surging Canton A’s earn home playoff game

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The Canton A’s, playing a stretch of 10 games in six days, finished the regular season with an impressive record of 16-11 and a third-place finish in the Cranberry League — good enough to host a playoff game at Canton High on July 21.

Canton was due to play Bourne (12-15) on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the next round of play, scheduled for July 23. The playoffs are a “one and done” format with the championship game set for July 25.

Canton went 7-3 over that final 10-game stretch, including wins over Whitman (4-1 and 3-2), Rockland (4-3), Easton (3-0 and 3-2), and a doubleheader sweep over Kingston on Sunday (12-1 and 14-6).

The secret to the A’s success has been the performance of key veterans, including several position players serving as pitchers. Even head coach Kee Arguimbau got in some action as a relief pitcher.

“We have a great group of players, a lot of veterans, tough guys who stick together, and help each other out,” said Arguimbau. “I think we have a great and deep pitching staff.”

Dave Roberto, Andy Poliferno and Nate Pederson of Sharon, along with Zack Walker and Nick Radcliffe, the team’s regular first baseman and a pitcher himself, continue to assist the pitching staff along with Jimmy Fitzgerald and Sam Larson of Canton.

Roberto was named the Cranberry League’s Pitcher of the Week for his complete-game, 4-1 win over Whitman and 3-0 win over Easton. In each game, he allowed only two hits and issued no walks.

Mark Cunningham of Canton decided to leave the team to play for a college Futures League, and in his place Poliferno was instrumental in a 3-2 win over Whitman, allowing only six hits. Walker came on in long relief and was key in the 4-3 win over Rockland.

Offensively, the A’s were led by Radcliffe as well as newcomer Rourke Flynn of Norwood and Jake Gibb of Stoughton. Anthony Periello hit the team’s only homerun this season, and Gibb gives the team a hot hitter and great defensive skills at catcher. A rising senior at Stoughton High, Gibb is one of six nominations for the league’s Rookie of the Year award. He has thrown out over 80 percent of runners attempting to steal, said Arguimbau.

The team has also received steady play from Steve Delanian, who has a .370 batting average, and fellow veteran Joe Belmosto.

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