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August 27, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: 1993 Swampscott, 2001 Danvers battle for NEC best bragging rights

Swampscott and Danvers: the standard bearers for high school baseball in the Northeastern Conference over the last two decades.

Staying within the NEC over the last 25 years, there aren’t many programs that define excellence the way these two have. Each team has won at an incredible clip, both in the regular season and postseason, and they’ve often been battling each other for the league’s top spot.

Both programs enjoyed undisputed decades of dominance: Swamspcott owned NEC baseball for much of the 1990s and Danvers carried that torch for much of the 2000s. Both programs had dynamic head coaches with cache and attention to detail: Swamspcott’s Frank DeFelice (who won 465 games in 25 seasons) and Danvers’ Roger Day (413 career wins and counting).

In the 1990s, Swampscott won 180 games with nine postseason appearances, five trips to North finals, two sectional titles and one state championship. In the 2000s, Danvers racked up 185 wins, similarly with nine postseason berths, two North finals trips and one crown.

Among all those winners, it’s fairly difficult to pick out one team, and one season, that best defines these programs. Both the Falcons and Big Blue seem to reload each spring without missing a beat.

So we let the banners do the talking.

Each program had one team go all the way: Swampscott won the Division 3 state title in 1993, and Danvers took the Division 2 state championship in 2001. In fact, these are the only NEC teams to win state titles in baseball since 1993 (the others in the modern era are Marblehead in 1985 and 1992, Salem in 1989 and Lynn English in 1980).

How do these two all-time greats stack up against each other?

Pitching

Momentum in baseball is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. If you look at Swampscott’s record in 1993, a sterling 24-1, and Danvers’ overall mark in 2001, an sparkling 26-1, it’s clear momentum remained on the side of both clubs for the majority of the season.

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