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May 14, 2014

Around the Horn: Chase for the Championship: It's crunch time for teams looking to sew up tourney berths, win leagues

(Continued)

“It’s a playoff game for us. That’s the only way to look at it,” said Big Blue coach Jason Calichman. “We don’t want to jump too far ahead because we have a game against (NEC South leader) Gloucester (today). We’re looking at every game as a possible playoff for us, Sullivan Rule or not.”

Freshman Gavin Sullivan has been a game changer for Swampscott, with wins in his last three starts. Many of the Big Blue’s young players like Adrian Espinal are playing better than they did at the start of the year, and veterans like Greg Collier, Al Wallach and Ryan Cresta have rounded into form.

“It was a rough start for us,” said Calichman. “It took some time to gel and everybody’s been picking it up, but we still have some work to do. We lost to two very good teams last week, both by a 4-1 score. We made nine errors combined in those games and that’s not where we want to be.”

The bottom line for the Big Blue is that they’re not content to play well and lose. They’re setting a high standard for themselves and if they can get by Fenwick Sunday and get back in the tourney, they’ll be setting up a strong foundation for the future.

“We feel like we’re improving. Our approach at the plate has been a lot better,” said Calichman. “This is the kind of game that can be a real measuring stick of how far we’ve come.”

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One team that punched its ticket yesterday was North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie. The Hawks have won six in a row to move to 9-6 on the season and they’re in the postseason because they only play 18 games. It’ll be the first state tournament appearance since 2012 for the program, which is looking to close the North Shore Tech school with a bang.

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