Auburn will face Dover-Sherborn in the MIAA D3 State Final on Saturday at Holy Cross. The game is scheduled for noon, and there will hopefully be no weather delays. The Raiders were ranked #8 in the South Division with a 12-8 record while the Rockets were ranked #2 in the Central Division with a record of 16-4. Stats, however, don’t really matter at this point, since this contest will be won by the best team on game day.
On Tuesday, Auburn defeated Wahconah, 13-6, in what turned out to be a great Rocket game, but there were still some nervous moments. The Rockets put up 2 runs in the first inning on 2 hits, but an error allowed one Wahconah run when they had their turn at the plate. Walks and bad throwing by the Warriors allowed 2 runs in the second inning on 0 hits. A single by Mike Collins in the top of the third gave Auburn a 5-1 lead.
After Josh Tower was walked in the top of the fourth and loaded the bases, an attempt to pick him off at first resulted in a wild throw and two more Rockets runs. It looked like Auburn just needed an insurance run or two to keep the lead, but the Warriors had other plans in the fifth.
Mike Breen would get the win for this game after some spectacular pitching, but he was replaced in the fifth after Wahconah scored 4 runs. Evan Bond came in to relieve and shut down the inning while allowing one additional score. That big lead had suddenly been cut to 7-6 with 2 innings left to play.
The seventh started with Brian Sarkisian being hit by a pitch. Indecision in the Warrior infield allowed bunts by Luke Matthews and Colin McKeon to load the bases with no outs. Mike Collins was then hit by a pitch to drive in Auburn’s 8th run.
Joe Hopper doubled with a line drive to right, and the Rockets were back with a comfortable 10-6 lead. When Collin Hines came to the plate, he walloped a long ball to deep center that resulted in a triple for him and 2 more runs. A sacrifice fly by Bond brought in Hines, and the Auburn scoring was complete, 13-6. But, the Warriors still had one more at bat.
Joe Hopper and Collin Hines both caught foul balls for Wahconah’s first two outs, and then a high pop to center field was caught by Steve Saucier to end the game.
After the game, Coach Eric Swedberg commented, “I have not seen our guys respond like that late in the game.” And respond they did. Great game guys, and let’s get another win on Saturday when you get to play together one more day.