Baseball ends five year drought, aims for home field advantage

By Daniel Kats
Published: May 2010

After opening the season with five straight wins, including a walk-off victory against cross-town rival Newton North Tigers, the Varsity Baseball team has earned a spot in the state tournament and is vying for home field advantage.

The Lions clinched a tournament berth with a win over Tyngsboro High School on May 10, marking the first time that Newton South has earned a tournament spot since the 2005 season.

“I feel great because we haven’t been able to make states the past couple years, senior Tevin Osbourne said. “We have a lot of confidence, heart, fate, and determination.

In addition to securing a spot in the playoffs, the Lions recently won the Strike-Out Colon Cancer Tournament, which took place over Mother’s Day weekend.

In order to achieve this feat, the team defeated both Revere High School and Malden High School, despite unseasonably cold weather and high winds.

The Lions have participated in their fair share of close games, especially against the top teams in the league.
“We have had a pattern so far this season: the first game we blew out a team, then we came from behind [to win], then [we] won a close one, senior Sam Hyun said. “That pattern has continued so far through the entire season.

So far this season, South came up short against Lincoln-Sudbury in its first meeting, and was blown out by Acton-Boxborough.

Even though the Lions have a winning percentage over .500, the team is still upset about its losses.

“In our first loss against [Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School (L-S)] we had a few mental lapses in the field, and didn’t have a good offensive approach against one of the best pitchers in the state, Hyun said. “The other day against Arlington it was the same story but we couldn’t capitalize when we had numerous chances offensively.

This year’s Lions have the advantage of fielding experienced players who have made their presence known among the best in the state.

The speed and power offensively, combined with range and a strong arm, makes senior Willie Allen an invaluable asset in the middle of the order and in center field.

Despite being in his first year in the Baseball program, senior Taylor Briner has been the catalyst on offense, reaching base safely consistently throughout the season.

There have been times, however, when the offense has resorted to impatient hitting at the plate, a tendency that has hurt the team in the win column.

“The team has sometimes gotten away from our team philosophy of making the [opposing] pitcher work, Head Coach Ron Jordan said. “In the last few games we have started to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, and we are working to fix that in practice.

When push comes to shove, however, the Baseball team has proven it can grind out a victory. Its resiliency has led to three victories on the last at-bat of the game. This, and clutch pitching and defense, have been the difference-makers this season.

Even though offense has been mainly responsible for coming from behind and winning several games, Jordan agrees with the principle, “defense is the best offense.

“Defense and pitching will win you more games than anything else, so we spend the majority of practice time working on this part of our game, he said.

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