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Nipmuc Duo Helps Pace Northbridge Legion

The Northbridge Legion baseball team began the week in the midst of a fight to make the playoffs, and two of the guys helping Post 343 make the push are from Nipmuc Regional High School. Matt Nichols has been the best hitter in the Northbridge lineup, while Tom Sperino continues to stand out on the mound.
"They are both legit," said Northbridge head coach John Demagian. "We have been depending on those guys a great deal. We need to put together a streak if we are going to get into the playoffs and we'll need both of them."
Nichols is hitting over .500 on the season for Post 343, which had an 8-9 record through 17 games, good enough for eighth place in Zone 4 with the top seven teams earning spots in the postseason. The recent Nipmuc graduate had been hitting third, but Demagian moved him up to the leadoff spot to spark a struggling lineup. Nichols responded with a first-inning hit and scored the first run of the game for Northbridge in Monday's loss to Cherry Valley. "He's killing it, what a player that kid is, he just does everything well," Demagian said. "He plays the game the right way, he hustles and always gives it everything he's got."
Sperino, who is headed into his junior year at Nipmuc, has also been an important contributor. He's posted a 3-1 record on the mound and is a vital part of the Northbridge rotation. "We have been having trouble scoring runs, but (Sperino) gives us a chance to win every time out," Demagian said. "He is one of the best pitchers in the area."
Post 343 has also gotten a lift from Ted Carey and Ted Morris. Carey graduated Nipmuc this spring and has been the starting second baseman for Northbridge. Morris, who is entering his senior year at NRHS, starts at third. Recent Blackstone Valley Tech graduate Connor Byrnes rounds out the contingent form the two schools and is the team's backup catcher.
Northbridge scored a total of three runs last weekend against Main South, Grafton Hill, and Cherry Valley. A pivotal week for its postseason hopes includes games against Leominster, North County, and Framingham. This weekend, Post 343 is slated to host Wachusett on Saturday and visit Milford Sunday. Of the seven games remaining, five are against teams ahead of Northbridge in the standings, and all are within two and a half games.
"We can still do it," Demagian said of his team's playoff hopes. "If we broke off three or four in a row we would be right in there, but we need to swing the bat better than we have. We aren't putting balls in play and when we do get guys on base we are having trouble getting that big hit."
Demagian is realistic about his team's chances. Northbridge can have a second season, but the wins need to start coming soon. "If we don't put a streak together, we are not going to make (the playoffs)," he said. "There are no weak teams in the zone this year, so everyone is capable, we just have to play well. It's baseball, you never know what's going to happen."




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