SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

June 11, 2013

TWO STEPS AWAY: Masconomet baseball faces Hingham in state semifinals tonight

The goal for the Masconomet baseball team heading into this afternoon’s state semifinal against Hingham is simple: make sure there is baseball practice for the Chieftains tomorrow.

By winning the Division 2 North title on Sunday, Masconomet (19-5) earned a spot in today’s Division 2 semifinal against South sectional champion Hingham (19-6), to be played at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium (4 p.m.).

The winner moves on to Saturday’s Division 2 state final against the winner of the Auburn/Greenfield semifinal pitting the Central and Western Massachusetts champions.

“All we keep saying is we just want to get back to practice. Let’s make sure we have practice (tomorrow),” said Masconomet head coach T.J. Baril. “We raked our field after practice (yesterday), we got it ready and we’re hoping to get back on it.”

The Chieftains have won 13 games in a row in Baril’s first season coaching the traditionally strong baseball program. Masconomet has actually won the Division 2 North crown three times in the last six years under three different coaches, but the state semis have been a stumbling block. They’re trying to get to the state final for the first time since 2000, when Masconomet won its only Massachusetts baseball crown.

None of that truly matters for this year’s squad, one that’s enjoying its first trip this deep into the postseason with the kind of spirit and enthusiasm you’d expect from a high school team. It’s an attitude that’s paid off; Masconomet has excelled in pressure situations this postseason, with scoring the winning runs in the seventh and final inning of the North final win over second-seeded Danvers standing as a prime example.

“It’s a team that gets along really well and they joke around with each other, so they don’t get overwhelmed in those big moments,” said Baril. “This time of year there’s a lot of pomp and circumstance stuff and they’re keeping it light, cracking smiles.”

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