Start with Speros Varinos, the Chieftains’ heart and soul No. 3 hitter and mound ace who can beat an opponent in a myriad of ways: with his bat, arm, legs, and glove. Center fielder Tom Budrewicz, third baseman Greg Jain, catcher Mike Manni, Will Twiss, first baseman Eddie Thayer, Josh Griffin, Chris Rich and even freshman Elias Varinos are just some of the Chieftains who can make game-changing plays in the field or the batters box.
“We know they’re aggressive: he likes to run, likes to bunt, likes to pressure. They like the play the same game we do,” Danvers head coach Roger Day said of Masconomet. “We know what T.J. likes to do, and we know they’ve got athletes.”
Like Masconomet, Danvers will turn to a junior righty tomorrow afternoon when Raffy Tylus takes the hill. He came on in relief in Danvers’ 7-6 comeback win over Reading in the quarterfinals and shut down the Rockets on just three hits and no runs over seven full innings as the Falcons prevailed in 9 innings.
Danvers has a pair of playoff shutouts (5-0 over Tewksbury and 6-0 in the North semifinals over Belmont) and has turned four double plays in their three postseason games, bumping their season total to over 20. “I haven’t seen in all the years I’ve been here us turn more double plays,” said Day. “With Eldridge and (senior second baseman Dan Connors), they’re unbelievable in doing that.”
Offensively, leadoff man A.J. Couto is hitting .444 in the playoffs with four runs scored while Joe Strangie has gotten on base via hit or walk in seven of his dozen plate appearances, scoring five times. Outfielder Ray Arocho has driven in a team-high four runs in the postseason; Connors has a .429 average and three RBI; and Tylus is hitting at a .444 clip with three runs and a pair of ribbies.