Canton A’s fall in opening round of playoffsBy Mike Berger
The sun literally and figuratively set on the season of the Canton A’s baseball team as the squad fell to Bourne 5-3 in extra innings in the first round of the Cranberry League playoffs on July 21.
Canton finished the season at 16-12 and third overall in the league. Pitcher Dave Roberto of Sharon was named to the league all-star team. Braintree (22-4) and league playoff champion and runner-up Rockland (16-13) are headed to the regional Stan Musial tournament.
The A’s, down 3-2 in the game against Bourne, came back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh inning on an Aiden Farrel RBI groundout. But Bourne, just 12-16 in the regular season, pushed across two runs in the ninth inning to secure the win. Canton, as the home team, had one last chance in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game but could not advance any batters as the sun set around 8 p.m., creating tough conditions to hit.
Matt Bernstein of Canton pitched well and left in the fifth inning with a 3-1 deficit. Zack Walker relieved him and also pitched well, holding Bourne scoreless until the ninth.
The A’s scored its runs on sacrifice flies by Anthony Periella and Rourke Flynn and the groundout by Farrel but failed to get the big hit. In fact, the A’s only mustered three singles on the day.
“After last week’s crazy schedule where we went 7-3 and played 10 games in seven days, I think we were just beat and spent,” said A’s head coach Kee Arguimbau. “I couldn’t have asked more from my players. We threw [Bernstein], who had only three days of rest, and Zack relieved on two days.
“I am proud of our guys, though. They battled all season to the last out. The league was stronger and our record was a testament to the hard work by the guys.”
Regarding the all-star selection of Roberto, Arguimbau said Roberto is one of the top three pitchers in the league and keeps getting stronger. “He pounds the strike zone and know how to get outs,” he said.
The team had many local players, including Bernstein, Sam Larson, Jimmy Fitzgerald and Mark Cunningham of Canton; Andrew Poliferno, Michael Birschbach, Roberto, Nate Pedersen and Andrew Ferrara of Sharon; Jake Gibb of Stoughton; and Periella and Flynn of Norwood.
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