By Phil Stacey
---- — DANVERS — From his vantage point in center field, Anthony Garron knew that his Danvers High baseball teammate, junior right-hander Raffy Tylus, was on his game last night.
“I could see his ball was just moving across the table,” said Garron, referring to a roundhouse curve that worked well for Tylus all evening. “And when he went to the heater, he was bringing it pretty good. He was just on.”
Tylus threw a complete game four-hitter with seven strikeouts as his teammates played error-free baseball behind him in a compact 7-1 triumph over Gloucester under the lights at Twi Field.
Now 18-1 on the season with home games against St. John’s Prep (Saturday) and Bishop Fenwick (6:30) left before the playoffs start, the Falcons did what they always seem to be able to conjure up — strong pitching, air tight defense and opportunistic offensive play — into another win.
“That’s pretty much how it’s gone all season for us,” said head coach Roger Day, whose team took advantage of nine walks and a hit batsman. “We’ve thrown strikes, played defense and taken what other teams have given us. We’re not overpowering (offensively), but we find a way.”
Five of Danvers’ seven runs came from the bottom third of the order: shortstop Evan Eldridge, freshman third baseman Andrew Olszak and center fielder Anthony Garron (3 runs scored).
As so many of Danvers’ big innings tend to, the bottom of the second inning started out innocuously last night. After Gloucester starter Alex Webb struck out the first two batters, he walked Eldridge, then gave up a sinking liner to Andrew Olszak. Gloucester (11-8) right fielder Curtis Quinn dove for the ball but missed it, allowing it to roll for an RBI triple.
Garron followed with a walk before leadoff hitter A.J. Couto smashed a line single to left, plating Olszak to make it 2-0. Joe Strangie kept it going with an RBI single of his own to center, and Couto scampered home on a wild pitch.
Just like that, the Falcons had a 4-0 lead.
“They’re 18-1 for a reason,” said Gloucester head coach Joe Orlando. “It seems like they get good pitching year in and year out, but they’re more disciplined than most teams. And they get little scrappy hits here and there, and do the little tings right.”
A lanky right-hander, Tylus (now 6-0) had it working the entire night. Aside from an infield hit from Peter Clark that plated the Fishermen’s lone run in the third inning, he was tough on the visitors and their dangerous lineup, mixing his fastball and curve effectively. He only issued two walks and also induced 10 ground ball outs.
“I got into a good rhythm and just threw the ball to Joe (Olszak, his catcher),” said the 16-year-old Tylus, who threw 101 pitches. “I felt good out there.”
“That’s maybe the best he’s thrown,” added Day. “He’s been huge for us; he’s pitched so much better than we could have anticipated.”
Ray Arocho, Danvers’ No. 3 hitter, had two RBI on a fourth inning sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout in the sixth. Couto scored another run (off another wild pitch) in the sixth inning.
The Bridgton Academy-bound Garron, 18, walked and scored in all three of his at-bats. Eldridge had perhaps his team’s best defensive play of the night, coming home to cut down Gloucester’s Jordan Pallazola at the plate with one out and the infield in during the top of the fourth inning.
“That was Roger Day baseball we played tonight,” said Garron with a smile.