By Carson Butler, ’21
It had been 700 days – and a new school mascot – since Hanover Baseball had said the words “Play Ball!” Since that day, ten spots had opened on the varsity team, which meant that one thing this year’s squad would not have was experience. The team’s four captains – Ryan Pelish, Brendan Poirier, Carson Butler, and Ian Kirby – all have some varsity time under their belt. And one thing this team has shown in practice is the ability to compete for their jobs and bring the energy day in and day out. The boys had not yet played together on a team for the high school, but had developed a great chemistry throughout the summer and fall seasons of 2020. That chemistry and energy would be tested as the Hawks took the trip up north to Quincy for the season opener May 7.
Adams Field is a great venue for any fan to catch a game and is player-friendly with the well-prepared infield ready to go on game day. In years past, Hanover has enjoyed playing Quincy, ensuring they reach the top of the Patriot League by winning the games they need to win and beating the teams they need to beat. The same situation would need to occur Friday. Pelish pitched five strong innings, allowing only two earned runs with plenty of support from his offense. Poirier, Wes Bryan, Jack Fish, Tim Porter and Carter Zielinski all added hits to the box score. The players with no varsity experience stepped up, an encouraging sign for games to come as the captains’ bats will heat up as well.
With a 5-2 lead heading into the 6th inning, Hanover sent out Butler to shut the door and attempt a six-out save. Coming in from shortstop, Butler struck out two of the three batters faced to make it a 1-2-3 inning. While still holding a comfortable 5-2 lead heading into the 7th inning, the wheels started to fall off. With Butler unable to get ahead in the count as he faced the 7th, 8th, and 9th batters in the lineup, the base runners snowballed into four runs in dramatic fashion. Quincy walked it off and won by a score of 6-5.
Butler reflected on his outing. “I need to be better out there. I owe it to my teammates and especially to Pelish after a 5-inning gem,” he said. “It sure is a tough pill to swallow, but with all of the work I have put in this offseason mentally and physically, I can live with the results knowing my teammates have my back. Believe me, I will be back. The commitment and the understanding of being all in will be prevalent in games to come.”
Surely a disappointing loss, the team looks to move on as the Hawks take on North Quincy, Scituate, and Plymouth South in the week ahead.