LEOMINSTER — The second-seeded Leominster American Legion Post 151 baseball team was able to spoil Shrewsbury pitcher Nick McDonald’s no-hit bid with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but that was the only bright spot in a difficult 9-0 loss to No. 3 Shrewsbury Post 397 Friday night at Pin Cannavino Field in the Zone 4 postseason tournament.

Leominster drops to the losers’ bracket in the double-elimination tournament to face the winner of Friday’s late game between Framingham and Northboro on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Tivnan Field in Worcester. If Leominster wins it will get a rematch with Shrewsbury directly following the game, at 7:30 p.m. A loss would end Leominster’s season.

A decisive third game would be played Sunday in Leominster if Post 151 can accumulate two victories Saturday.

“We’re going to make sure all of our arms are ready for tomorrow,” Leominster manager Jeff Dedeian said. “McDonald was great today. He kept us off-balance. We took some poor swings at times, good swings at other times, and they made some outs. They beat us pretty good today.”

McDonald was in complete control throughout the duration of the game. The only baserunner he allowed through the first six innings came in the first inning, on an error. In the seventh, he induced two ground-outs to the shortstop for the first two outs of the inning.

Leominster’s Matt Dupuis then broke up the no-hit bid with a single to left field. A walk during the next at-bat to Anthony Silverio marked the end of the game for McDonald, who went 6 2/3 innings, with one hit, one walk, and five strikeouts.

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Post 151 would load the bases later in the inning, but a strikeout swinging ended their only big threat of the game.

“It’s tough to get a no-hitter against Leominster on this field,” Shrewsbury Post 397 manager Frank Vaccaro said. “He gave it all he had, on a hot day, and ran out of gas in the end there. Outstanding game, and we made a lot of defensive plays, too.”

Shrewsbury struck first, with a Matt Livingston RBI single in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. In the third, Post 397 benefited from a T.J. Morgera infield hit and balk, which put him in scoring position. John West, a Boston College commit, then singled to left field to make it a 2-0 game.

Leominster was hanging tough, as starting pitcher Alan Hyatt wasn’t quite matching McDonald pitch-for-pitch, but coming pretty close, to keep Post 151 in the game.

In the fifth inning, however, disaster struck. On a play on a hard-hit ball in the infield, Hyatt appeared to injure his shoulder.

Clearly in pain, he took a couple of practice pitches, but could not continue. That marked the end of the day for him, as Hyatt went four innings, allowing just the two runs.

Without ample time to warm up, Josh Proctor entered the game with two on, and West made him pay, taking the first pitch over the fence on a line-drive homer to left field, which made it 5-0 in the blink of an eye. The hit marked the fourth RBI of the day for West.

“(West) has had a big bat all year long,” Vaccaro said. “He’s a good hitter, you give him a pitch, he’s a big boy and is going to drive it. He got it down the left-field line, which is lucky here, at another field it might not go out.”

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Four batters later Christian Siciliano drove in a run, one of his three RBIs of the day, on a base hit to left field, which upped the lead to 6-0.

“It was a good game,” Dedeian said. “Then Hyatt got hurt and West hit the three-run homer, then it was out of reach the way McDonald was throwing the ball.”

Siciliano added a two-run single in the seventh, and an error on the play would allow for a ninth run to score, which capped off the scoring.

“We have three games in 24 hours, and we just have to be better, it’s just that simple,” Dedeian said. “Shrewsbury is the three-time defending champion for a reason.”



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