HB baseball falls in D-II semis

The Hollis Brookline baseball team rarely struggled for offense during the regular season. The team averaged just under six runs a game and was shutout only once. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, that offense was nowhere to be found on Wednesday. Hollis Brookline managed only three hits as they fell to Plymouth Regional, 3-0, in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs.

The Cavaliers, looking to return to the state finals for the first time since 2007, cruised through the regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs. After securing the No. 2 seed with a 13-3 record, the Cavaliers easily defeated Merrimack Valley and Oyster River for an opportunity to play in the championship. However, when it came time to face No. 3 Plymouth (15-4) and starting pitcher Jacob Scheinman, the team struggled mightily.

“We had a good game plan,” Cavaliers coach Ryan Coulter said. “We just didn’t execute today. We weren’t disciplined enough at the plate. We popped too many balls up, we didn’t hit enough balls on the ground, things that we’ve been doing all year.

“Maybe there was just a little too much pressure,” Coulter said. “Some of the guys hadn’t been in a big game like this. I think we just got a little tight. But you’ve got to tip your cap to (Scheinman). He didn’t throw real hard, but he did a real good job.”

The Bobcats got on the board in the first inning. After allowing three straight baserunners, Hollis starting pitcher Tommy Grant threw a wild pitch, scoring the runner from third. Grant settled down after that, striking out five of the next six batters.

He allowed the second run in the third inning on a John Thomas triple, and the Bobcats added another run in the fourth on a Collin Sullivan single. Grant finished the day with four innings pitched, allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk.

“Tom pitched really well,” Coulter said. “If I came into this game knowing we were going to give up three runs, I would have thought we’d have a pretty good shot.’’

The Cavaliers opened the bottom of the first inning with a Emmett Craggy double, their only hit until the sixth. With one out, Hugh Devlin and Evan Flaherty both reached on singles. Plymouth’s Steven Southard relieved Scheinman and shut down the next two batters, ending the Hollis Brookline threat.

In spite of the loss, the Cavaliers still had a very successful season. Cam LaFleur was named the Division II Player of the Year, while Coulter earned Coach of the Year. LaFleur, Devlin, Shea Whalen and Austin Piggott also earned All-State honors.

“We had a great year,” Coulter said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”