DANVERS — Play hard and focused for all 21 outs.
Such a simple concept when it comes to high school baseball, but one that can be difficult to execute. A miscue here, a momentary lack of focus there, and everything you’ve worked toward for the majority of a particular game can be gone in a cloud of dust.
That’s how Bishop Fenwick head coach Kevin Canty summed it up after his Crusaders suffered their second one-run loss of the season to Danvers, 3-2, last night on the road on a perfect night for baseball at Twi-Field.
In a battle of left-handers, Danvers’ Brandon Hyde spun a three-hitter with a like number of strikeouts in improving to 7-1 on the season and 24-2 for his career, adding to his school record for career victories. While he wasn’t on top of his game all night — Hyde uncharacteristically walked three batters and hit another during his 83-pitch outing — he was deadly when the Crusaders got men on first base, picking off three runners.
It made a tough luck loser out of Tommy Parsons, the Fenwick southpaw who used a plus fastball with good movement to strike out eight Falcons while giving up just six hits. He also stranded a half-dozen baserunners.
“Good teams like them,” said Canty, looking over at the Danvers sidelines after the game, “will put you away when you make mental mistakes. That’s why you have to stay focused for all 21 outs. We shouldn’t be getting picked off like that; we weren’t focused.”
As they’ve done for the better part of two decades now, Danvers (13-4) pounced when its opponents made a mistake. Not only did the three pickoffs help them escape trouble, but the Falcons plated all three of their runs by using aggressive baserunning and taking advantage of three Fenwick errors.