[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Entering the 2017 season, it had been four years since the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity baseball team had even qualified for the MIAA State Tournament. The Raiders broke their postseason drought via a 12-8 regular season, and earned themselves the No. 8 seed in the Division III South Sectionals. On Sunday, the Raiders made program history by taking down No. 3 Norton, who won the TVL regular season title, by a final of 7-5 at Braintree High School, earning DS its first ever sectional title in baseball.
The Lancers (15-7) got out to a fast start, plating a run off DS starter Owen Webb (five and a third innings, five runs, nine hits, two walks, five strikeouts) in the bottom of the first. The Raiders immediately responded in the top of the second, as Cole Condon drove home Ryan Sliwinski on an error at shortstop, tying the game at one.
Norton retook the lead at 2-1 in the home half of the second after back-to-back doubles, but DS again responded in the top half of the third when Jake Scurrah drove home Holden Ferrari with an RBI single, tying the game at two after two and a half.
The game remained even at two until the fifth inning when the Raider bats exploded for four runs. Luke Turo started off the rally with a double into left. Ferrari followed that up with a five-pitch walk, and Scurrah then drove home his second run of the game on an RBI single to left, giving DS a 3-2 lead. Sliwinski put the Raiders ahead by two on his ensuing at-bat with a double into the left-center field gap, plating Ferrari and moving Scurrah up to third. First-round hero Hank Reinhart then drove home both Scurrah and Sliwinski with a single to center, extending the DS lead to four at 6-2.
The Lancers responded with three runs in the home half of the fifth, chasing Webb from the game with runners at first and third and no outs. Head coach Steve Ryan opted to go to go to the guy who’s been his main man out of the bullpen throughout these 2017 playoffs in Jake Scurrah, and the closer delivered about as clutch of a performance as one possibly could. Scurrah immediately delivered a strikeout followed by a pair of groundouts, one of which was to Webb at third base, who fired home to gun down the potential game-tying run for Norton. Thanks to Scurrah’s clutch relief efforts, DS escaped the fifth with the lead still intact at 6-5.
Ryan Sliwinski smacked home his second RBI of the game in the top of the seventh, plating Holden Ferrari from third and giving DS a crucial insurance run to make it a 7-5 ballgame.
In the bottom of the seventh, Scurrah showed why he is one of the best closers in the state by striking out the side in absolutely dominant fashion, clinching the South Sectional crown for DS.
At the time of print, DS is set to take on Austin Prep (North Sectional champ) on Tuesday in the Division III State Semifinals in Brockton.