Harlan went the distance, surrendering just five hits and one walk while striking out ten. He also went 1-for-3 at the plate, delivering the biggest hit of the day, a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth that put Lawrence up 5-2.
“This is hopefully the way it goes for him,” Lawrence head coach Chris Margraf said. “He had a good year for us last year, he was our no. 2 guy, he threw 40 innings and had an ERA under 2. That’s why schools like BC, Duke, and Dartmouth are very interested in him.”
Groton looked to set the pace in the first inning both in the field and at the plate. They strung together three consecutive base runners with two outs in the top of the first to score the first run of the game when junior catcher Ejaaz Jiu (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 SB) singled home Joe Gentile (1-for-3, 1 R, 1 SB). In the bottom half, junior pitcher Johnny Lamont needed just ten pitches to record three outs. The first two runners reached base, but were erased on a fielder’s choice and a failed stolen base attempt.
That would be as easy as it would get for Lamont, as the Lawrence batters worked his pitch count into the twenties in each of his next four innings. He would end up going five innings, allowing six hits and five walks while striking out eight on 103 pitches.
“It’s early in the year,” Groton head coach Glenn DiSarcina said. “Johnny struggled with his control in the middle innings, and they capitalized on pitches that were up in the zone.”
Harlan’s day went in the opposite direction from Lamont. He threw 29 of his 102 pitches in the first inning, but settled down and didn’t throw more than seventeen in any other inning the rest of the way, including two innings of single-digit pitches.Groton would extend its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third thanks to picture-perfect small ball. Two infield singles and two sacrifice hits and a sacrifice bunt allowed Ward Betts to score on a sacrifice fly by Jiu.
After two quiet innings, the Lawrence offense got going in the bottom of the third and tied the game at 2 with an RBI single by Sean Winthrop, plating Jake Cassidy; and a groundout off the bat of Rocco Daigneault that scored Luke Benoit.
“We’re a very young team,” Margraf said. “The bats are usually the last to come, so we focus more on teamwork and work ethic.”