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Disappointing End to a Stellar Season for Avery
It was a tough spot for any pitcher at any level. With the bases loaded and no one out, clinging to a two run lead in the bottom of the seventh of the regional final, Milford legion manager Steve DiVitto handed the ball to his ace, Dan Avery.
The former Blackstone Valley Tech star had posted a 9-2 record with a 1.27 ERA in 14 appearances coming into Monday's game against Rocky Hill/Cromwell/Portland, Conn. and a spot in the American Legion World Series was on the line, so it's safe to say DiVitto had nothing but confidence in the right hander.
On this night, however, the storybook ending did not play out. Avery hit the first batter he faced to force in a run and cut Milford's lead to 4-3. After bearing down for two outs, a passed ball tied the game. "I was just trying to get a double play and unfortunately things didn't go our way," Avery said. "We tried our best but it didn't work out."
Avery cruised through the eighth, but RCP plated the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth with a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a base hit. Typically a starter, the to-be sophomore at Mass Maritime Academy had made a relief appearance in the Zone playoffs against Wachusett and in a regular-season game against East Side of Worcester.
"It's a little different, I haven't (pitched in relief) much," Avery said. "To have no outs and three guys on base was a difficult situation but I was just trying to do my job."
The regional final loss marked a disappointing end to Avery's brilliant summer on the mound. He allowed just two earned runs in eight regular season appearances. He got the ball and earned the win in Post 59's state tournament opener against Lowell and did the same in the state championship game against Newburyport. In the latter appearance, Avery worked six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out eight.
Throughout the year, DiVitto has used the word "resilient" to describe his team, a lesson Avery says he'll take with him as he continues his college career at MMA.
"This season taught us all not to give up, to play one game at a time and let baseball take over," he said. "It's going to help a lot for when I get back to pitch at the college level because I faced a lot of great hitters and athletes."
Avery said the postseason run will stick in his mind more than anything else when he thinks of the 2014 summer.
"The playoffs were awesome," he said. "We won 11 games and only lost four. To be 7-7 midseason and end up playing for a regional title was something a lot of people didn't see coming and something that means a lot to us. We got on a hot streak and rode it as far as we could."




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