Believe it or not, folks in Swampscott and Danvers might tell you that they had better baseball teams that actually didn’t win it all. The 2000 Danvers team went undefeated in the regular season and lost in the North quarterfinals at home to Masconomet, but on balance had arguably the most talent ever for a Falcon club.
The Big Blue followed up 1993 with an undefeated regular season of their own in 1995, only to lose in the Division 2 North final (Swampscott was moved up from Division 3 after winning the title). DeFelice called the ‘95 club a “push button team” because it ran like such an automatic machine.
Why, then, did the ‘93 Swampscott and ‘01 Danvers teams break through and win it all?
It could simply be a product of baseball, arguably the most difficult sport to win in high school because of pitching and the small details that can throw off a result. An unusual strike zone, a ball falling just centimeters foul — even the location of a game can dramatically change the outcome.
Both the Big Blue and Falcon programs always have a sense of family and field teams that play for each other. It comes as no coincidence that the ‘93 and ‘01 entities embodied those traits.
“We loved playing together as a team,” said Swampscott’s Hayes. “We love playing baseball, we loved winning. Baseball is so streaky, and we realized we had a chance so we maintained that confidence and maintained playing hard.”
Players from both teams say today that their practices were among the most competitive, fun things they ever did in sports. That demonstrates the kind of competitive drive it takes to win.
“They were such great friends and they all played so well together. They played with such enthusiasm and emotion,” said Day. “Everything was crisp. Every day they got after it.”