Burns blasts Sabers to 7-6 win over Cavs

Staff photo by TOM KING Souhegan’s Alec Burns gets mobbed by his teammates at home plate after hitting a walkoff homer to give the Sabers a 7-6 win over Hollis Brookline on Monday.

AMHERST – As a pitcher, it’s pretty obvious you have to tiptoe your way through this spring’s athletic Souhegan High School baseball lineup.

One misstep can be crucial, as Hollis Brookline’s Joe Brown found out on Monday.

Brown had done a nice job with two scoreless innings of relief, but his first pitch to Saber Alec Burns to start the bottom of the seventh was sent sailing over the left-field fence to give defending Division II champion Souhegan a 7-6 walkoff win.

“I’m just thinking fastball in the middle, get aggressive hoping to get something to hit,” Burns, a junior who is already bound for Fairfield University in about 17 months, said. “It was right there.”

“I think we have a very deep

batting order,” Souhegan coach Bill Dod said, his team off to a 3-0 start. “It does take a lot to get through the order, it’s a challenge. … Alec Burns is an outstanding hitter, has great power, has a great swing, and it’s a pleasure to watch.”

But not for the Cavaliers (0-2), who had the tough luck of opening the season with Portsmouth and Souhegan, the two teams in last year’s final. They had a lead in the fifth over Portsmouth before falling, and were down 6-1 against the Sabers Monday but rallied to tie the score in the fifth.

“That’s encouraging,” Cavs coach Rich Loftus said. “I was pleased with Joe, he threw strikes. I’m encouraged by (the game). Last year we were 4-12, and we played with them. … I think we’ll win our fair share.”

The Cavs had a 1-0 lead after three on Dan Leone’s RBI single and the pitching of Kaito Kramarzcyk, but a throwing error opened the door for six Souhegan runs on six hits in the fourth. Burns had a game-tying double, while other RBI hits were by Ryan Hall, Tucker Aiello, Caelan Behn and Jacob Grassett.

But back came the Cavaliers with those five in the fifth to tie things as Souhegan starter Aiello lost the plate with three walks after an error. Brennan Korsak and Joe Messina had RBI singles and two wild pitches by reliever Max Leonard tied the game.

But Leonard, who pitched out of trouble in all three innings he appeared, ended up being the winner thanks to Burns. The Sabers outhit the Cavs 8-4.

“We know we’re a good team, we can score runs whenever we can, every inning,” Burns said. “We just need to pick up our pitchers a little bit more, and our defense needs to step up. And we did.”

“You can’t take a batter off,” Dod said. “It’s hard.”

Just ask the Cavs.