WEST NEWBURY — After splitting their two regular season meetings, the Pentucket and Hamilton-Wenham baseball teams face off in this afternoon’s rubber match with a trip to the regional finals on the line.
No. 13-seeded Pentucket (15-8) and No. 8 Hamilton-Wenham (15-7) will meet in the Division III North Semifinals today at 4 p.m. at Fraser Field in Lynn. The two teams each placed among the top teams in the Cape Ann League this past season, and Pentucket coach Tom L’Italien said he expects a tough, low-scoring game.
“They’re a gritty, competitive team, they’ve had a good season, a consistent season, their pitching has been good, and we expect another hard-fought game,” L’Italien said. “It’s a great opportunity for both teams, and the team that plays best will be in the best position to move on.”
On paper, the Sachems and Generals look to be about as evenly matched as two teams can be. The teams were separated by only one game in the Cape Ann League standings, and both times the two squads faced off in the regular season, games were decided by the same score, with the home team coming out on top.
First, Hamilton-Wenham got the better of Pentucket on its home field, beating the Sachems 2-1 on April 19. Then about a month later, the Sachems rode the arm of Pat Beaton to a 2-1 home victory over the Generals, with Bobby Hallowell laying down a walk-off squeeze bunt in the eighth inning to get the win.
The Sachems will be relying on Beaton once again to carry the team past the Generals today. L’Italien confirmed that Beaton would get today’s start after senior pitcher Ryan Kuchar pitched all seven innings of Monday’s quarterfinal against Lynnfield on three days’ rest.