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Avery Helps Post 59 Bounce Back from Slow Start

After taking a tough-luck loss in the season opener, Blackstone Valley Tech graduate Dan Avery has been a part of a bounce-back for the Milford Legion squad. Avery picked up a win in a 12-0 victory over Sturbridge last Sunday and Post 59 was able to get back to .500 at 3-3 through Monday's action.
"I think our guys have started to relax a little bit, play their game and their style," Milford manager Steve DiVitto said. "We have a couple of guys who are new to legion baseball and are still trying to find their place, so to have a veteran like Avery has been a nice lift for us."
Avery worked against Leominster in a 4-3 loss to start the season. Against Sturbridge, he tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts. "He was all around the zone and he looked very good," DiVitto said. "He is a veteran pitcher with college experience and state tournament experience. We view him as a leader on this team."
Avery was the ace of the BVT staff for three years from 2011 through 2013. He pitched for Mass Maritime Academy this spring. The right-hander made five appearances and worked a total of 14.1 innings. He finished 1-2 on the season with a 4.40 ERA and 10 strikeouts against only three walks. DiVitto says he notices a difference in the Milford resident's approach after a year of college baseball.
"He was mature last summer for us, but he wasn't a vocal leader," the manager said. "This year he has become more of a vocal leader and has been helping the younger guys. That's something we are going to look to him for all season long."
Milford has also gotten a lift from Hopedale High graduate Dan Mantoni. Only the third five-year player in the program's history, Mantoni took the mound against Cherry Valley for the first Milford win of the season. He will play shortstop when he's not on the mound for Post 59. Hopkinton junior Matt Decina has also been an integral part of the Milford lineup.
"He is the most versatile guy I have seen," DiVitto said. "He can play anywhere, second base, third base, outfield, emergency catcher, he has the ability to help us out in a number of places. His plate presence is phenomenal, he has a great swing from the left side and we like what he has brought to the table so far"
Milford finally had its full roster on the field Monday when Bellingham players David Sampson, Kevin Martinis, and Michael Ryan joined the Post 59 squad after helping their high school team to a division 3 state championship. Ryan went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in a 4-3 win over East Side on Monday night and Sampson worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning to earn the save. Milford High right-hander Cam Cossette pitched six strong innings in the win with nine strikeouts.
There are 13 teams in Zone 4 and the top seven qualify for the postseason. Through six games, Milford sat in a tie for 7th in the always competitive zone.
"The whole regular season means something and whether we lose one game or three, we just need to be able to come back and find our way into the top seven," DiVitto said. "We want to go out and battle in every game and our goal is to make the playoffs. We feel we can do it."




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