BROCKTON — Equal parts heartbreaker and headscratcher, Masco’s 2-1 loss to Hingham in the Division 2 baseball semifinals last night came down to mixed signals and missed opportunities by the Chieftains.
Masco (19-6) twice failed to get the suicide squeeze down and both times had runners thrown out while the Chieftains failed to get the timely hit with runners in scoring position. Greg Jain was gunned down at home in the top of the first inning on a failed squeeze and then Joe Klingensmith was caught in a rundown on the third baseline.
“We were thinking squeeze and I didn’t communicate it well enough,” said Masco head coach TJ Baril. “We went with more verbal signs than the physical signs we normally use because of the bigger crowd, there were more eyes on us, and I didn’t do a good job communicating that. It’s my fault.”
The miscues on offense and a few whacky plays on the defensive side ultimately sealed the Chieftains fate at Campanelli Stadium. The defeat squandering what was a superb pitching performance from senior righthander Speros Varinos., who went six innings allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out 11.
The Harbormen (20-6) made the most of their opportunities. Back-to-back catcher interference calls put two men on for Hingham in the bottom of the second and after an infield single, Varinos walked Stephan White with the bases loaded scoring David Hutchins, who was put on with the first catcher’s interference call.
Masco surrendered the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth after Evan Flanagan lined a single to right field and then took second base when Varinos was called for a balk. Flanagan would score on a two-out single by John Carlson.
“I can’t rightfully explain what happened,” said Hingham coach Frank Niles. “The kid (Varinos) pitched like Tom Seaver and somehow it happened. It doesn’t feel like we found a way (to win), it feels like it just fell on us. There were some wild plays.”