By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
MARLBOROUGH – The Advanced Math and Science Academy baseball team claimed its first district championship in school history, June 28, defeating Oakmont to prolong a historic season.
After the game, head coach Jon Gendron was ecstatic.
“This means the world to be able to watch these guys get their first championship,” he told reporters.
After scoring 18 runs over their previous two games, AMSA settled into a defensive stalemate with Oakmont for much of their matchup.
The score remained knotted at 0-0 through five innings as neither team advanced a runner past second base. Oakmont notched two hits in the game’s first five frames. Meanwhile, AMSA drew walks and stole bases to get runners in scoring position. But they entered the sixth inning without a hit.
With both AMSA’s Cam Hunt and Oakmont’s Brady Aubuchon dealing strong pitching performances, Hunt’s fielders helped him effectively negate Oakmont’s limited batting success.
The Eagles caught one runner stealing second base in the third inning. An inning later, they did it again, denying an attempt to steal third base.
“That was big time,” Gendron said of those fielding plays. “That’s all the work these guys have put in over the years.”
Gendron had particular praise for Hunt, who finished the game with eight strikeouts and a complete game shutout.
“That kid is the most clutch kid on our team,” Gendron said. “He’s cool, calm and collected every time there’s a big moment on our team.”
As Hunt and the defense helped AMSA stay neck and neck with Oakmont, he was also the one kickstarting a scrappy sixth inning offensive performance that gave the Eagles the lead.
Hunt shattered Aubuchon’s no-hitter bid with a first-pitch double to center field. Hunt advanced to third base on a wild pitch, remaining there as Aubuchon walked Braden Deckers.
The very next Oakmont pitch snuck past catcher Colby Gouldrup, allowing Hunt to score what would be the game winning run from third base. Deckers advanced to third only to score, himself, on another wild pitch two batters later.
Running for teammate William Forte after Forte drew a walk, AMSA’s Joseph Skowronek stole second base before scoring on the same wild pitch that brought Deckers home.
Ahead 3-0 after the sixth inning, though, AMSA was not done.
Oakmont mustered a double in the bottom of the inning, but could not score, giving the bats back to the Eagles in time for Andrew Cash to drive a solo home run over the center-field fence and onto an adjoining football field.
That marked Cash’s second home run in three games in the MIAA postseason tournament after he helped cement the Eagles’ quarterfinals victory over Blackstone Valley Technical High School with a three run home run.
These hits, in turn, brought Cash’s total number of home runs this year to nine.
“He’s hit a couple bombs,” Gendron said.
AMSA only opened its doors in 2005. It then did not graduate its first high school class until 2011.
In the years since that start, the school has had strong sports teams. But the baseball program had never done what this year’s team just did.
After they notched their final out under scalding heat-wave sunlight, players celebrated on the field. Two then peeled off to dump a cooler of water over Gendron’s head in an extension of the celebration.
“These kids really deserve it,” Gendron later told the Community Advocate.
With an eye towards the future, he further noted that the season is far from complete. From their win in Oakmont on June 28, AMSA will head to Taconic High School on June 30 to play for a spot in the state championship on July 2.
“I hope we’re not done yet,” Gendron said. “We can go get a bigger title if we play our game and if we do what we do.”