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  • The Standard-Times

    Apponequet baseball team's historic year comes to a close

    By Laurie Los Lee, The Standard-Times,

    2024-06-12

    HAVERHILL — Just moments after falling to top-seeded Oakmont Regional 5-1 in the MIAA Div. 3 state semifinal on Wednesday night, longtime Apponequet baseball coach Jim Cabucio stood in front of his players at Haverhill Stadium and told them to hold their heads up high.

    “Getting here is hard to do,” he said. “You should be proud.”

    The No. 4 Lakers made history this year, becoming just the second team in the program’s 65-year history to reach a state semifinal and the first since 2011.

    “It just didn’t work out for us today, but it doesn’t take anything away from this particular group as a team and how proud we are of them, especially our eight seniors,” Cabucio said. “We’re extremely proud of them.”

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    Apponequet’s chemistry was a driving force behind the team’s success that included winning a share of the South Coast Conference Blue Division championship and earning a top four spot in the Div. 3 playoffs.

    “This is a very special group,” said Apponequet senior Dylan Bradley, who started on the mound against Oakmont. “I’ve been playing with 90% of them since I was 5. I’ve grown up with these kids and they’re my best friends.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3XP6NN_0toMhO6b00

    “We had all played together before, growing up, so we all had chemistry together and I felt like we were going to have a strong year.”

    Apponequet junior first baseman Lucas Tremblay added, “It was one last year together so it was huge for us to make it this far and make history for Apponequet. The last team to make it this far was 2011. It was very special and we should be proud of ourselves.”

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    HOW IT HAPPENED

    After two scoreless innings, the Spartans got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning when sophomore JJ Walker singled and then scored on an error.

    “JJ has been swinging a great bat the last two or three games,” said Oakmont Regional head coach Tim Cauotte. “Today he really sparked us and got us going. He’s just tremendous.”

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=434Hf9_0toMhO6b00

    Oakmont added four runs in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of singles from Ben Forbes and Ty Curtis, an RBI double from Johnny Losordo and a few errors by the Lakers.

    “They’re a great team. At this point every team is great,” Cauotte said. “They just had one inning where we took advantage of some things, but obviously they’re a tremendous team. They used three pitchers and they threw hard and they threw strikes. It’s an honor to play the game against such a worthy opponent.”

    Apponequet answered with a run in the top of the fifth inning when junior Brody Joly singled and scored on a passed ball to make it 5-1.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0okim5_0toMhO6b00

    Oakmont shut the door on any kind of comeback from Apponequet with back-to-back scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh innings to get the opportunity to defend the Spartans' state title from a year ago.

    “We lost to a team that earned it,” Cabucio said. “They did a great job. Oakmont is a great team. They’re the defending state champs for a reason. For them to be in this position two years in a row, it just shows the excellence they have over there.”

    The Spartans (21-3) will take on No. 2 St. Mary’s (20-4) at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Div. 3 state final at Polar Park in Worcester.

    “We talked about it at the first practice and we said, ‘It was a different year, but it’s ours until it’s not,’” said Cauotte. “We really hoped this would happen and we battled and worked hard every day and now we get a chance to defend it at Polar. It’s beautiful.”

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0GFnwL_0toMhO6b00

    WHAT IT MEANS

    Despite a challenging schedule, the Lakers finished the year with an overall record of 19-6. "We had a lot of grit," said senior Nathan Levesque. "We had been down worse than we were today and to be able to come back and compete for as long as we did was nice."

    Cabucio added, "They were resilient. We have a lot of games where we were down and we came back. We had at least three or four late inning wins and some walk-off wins. They were very resilient. They played until the game was over."

    COACHES CORNER

    “We’re extremely proud of them. All of our games were tight and tough during the year. They hung in there. It was a mix of our eight seniors and some underclassmen that were making contributions. We had some underclassmen that we brought up for the ride to see what this is like and to experience this because it’s hard to get here. Each one of our games in the tournament were difficult.” – Cabucio

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1DZEfh_0toMhO6b00

    SENIOR SENDOFF

    It was the final game for Apponequet’s eight seniors — Bradley, Levesque, Seth Richards, Peter Rubini, Justin Serrecchia, Caiden Cyr, Conor Tripp and Kasey Hrenko.

    STATS

    Forbes went 6 ⅔ innings for Oakmont, allowing one run on three hits while walking two, hitting one batter and striking out three. … Bradley started for Apponequet and went three innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out two. ... Joly (double), Tripp and Cyr each had a hit for the Lakers.

    Oakmont 5, Apponequet 1

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    Oakmont;001;40;x—5

    WP: Ben Forbes; LP: Dylan Bradley

    This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Apponequet baseball team's historic year comes to a close

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