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Errors Doom Nipmuc in First Round Loss

Nipmuc head coach Steve Dellarovere summed up his team's performance in one telling sentence. "It was about as ugly a baseball game as could be played by one team," he said.
His Warriors committed nine errors in a 5-1 loss to Northbridge in the Division 3 Central Mass Sectional Quarterfinal. Nipmuc finished the 2014 campaign with a 14-7 record and a 7-3 mark in the Dual Valley League. The league record was good enough to tie Sutton and Blackstone-Millville for first place.
"It was a good year overall, and as low as Monday was, we also had a lot of high points," Dellarovere said. "On the mound, we were competitive with everybody. I can't think of a game where our pitching didn't keep us in it."
That included the playoff loss. Sophomore ace Tom Sperino scattered five hits against Northbridge and only one of the five runs allowed was earned during a complete-game effort. "He definitely did a lot of damage control for us," Dellarovere said. "He kept us within reach through the whole game. He battled and tried to keep guys up, but you can't win a game committing nine errors."
"I think the moment got to some of the kids," added Dellarovere. "We had not played in 10 days so there was going to be some rust but that was not what hurt us the most. These kinds of things tend to snowball and one mistake leads to another, just a tough day all around."
The game remained scoreless until the third inning. The Rams had a runner reach on an error and the first two runs came across thanks to a misplay in the outfield and a throwing error on the same play. Northbridge added a run each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to pad the lead. For all the defensive woes, Nipmuc also struggled at the plate. The Warriors managed just three hits and the lone run of the game scored on a passed ball.
The loss brings to an end the careers of five seniors who Dellarovere says served as outstanding role models for a relatively young team. "The seniors on this team were so team oriented and always about how we get better and win as a team," he said. "With all the inexperience we had, they set a good tone."
Leftfielder Matt Nichols served as a captain for Nipmuc and hit third in the order. He was one of the most consistent hitters in the lineup and led the team with a .370 batting average. Dan Sarah started behind the plate and only had one passed ball on the season while working with a younger pitching staff. Teddy Carey played shortstop and hit .333. He also pitched in some of the team's bigger games, including a win over Holy Name of Worcester. By the end of the year, he had worked his way to the leadoff spot in the Nipmuc batting order. Kyle Braile and TJ Mulgrew were not regulars in the lineup, but both played important roles.
"Kyle was our DH for awhile and he would also pinch run, pinch hit, whatever we needed him to do," Dellarovere said. "TJ was the same way, helping the team in any way he could. They were both terrific leaders and important contributors."
In addition to Sperino, who posted a 1.02 ERA in 48 innings, Kyle Nocera, and Ted Morris headline a talented returning group. Nocera worked fewer than 20 innings on the season, but finished with a miniscule 0.37 ERA. Morris hit .328 with a pair of home runs.
"Nocera had a breakout year, especially on the mound, he took a bigger step forward than I expected and I could see him sliding into the number two spot in the rotation and I can see Morris hitting in the middle of the order," Dellarovere said. "The seniors this year set a great example and it will be exciting to have some talented guys coming back."




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