Georgetown Royals Baseball '10

Tue, May 11, 2010 03:45 PM @ Georgetown
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Final
North Andover 0 3 0 3 0 0 2 8
Georgetown 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3

Knights' Patnaude won't back down

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Tuesday, May, 11 By Hector Longo

GEORGETOWN - Fractured vertebra forced North Andover High's Brad Patnaude to alter his game a bit.

"We had to discourage him from diving at ground balls ... in the gym," explained Knights coach Todd Dulin of his courageous senior captain. "I have had to yell at him about it. It's just the kind of kid he is."

Keeping the scrappy second-baseman off the hardwood back in March continues to reward both he and the Knights quite nicely.

Patnaude rapped three more hits yesterday, bumping the average up to a scalding .483, to help lead 10-1 North Andover past Georgetown, 8-3.

After the game, Patnaude scooped up his bag, changed out his cleats, bent over for the first-aid kit and all without a wince. It's about a million miles away from a year ago when all those chores might have inflicted some pain.

"We didn't know all season, and he gutted through it all," said Dulin. "He had a tough, tough year. One game the back would be fine, the next he'd swing and he'd be practically in tears. But he wanted to play."

Despite the agony, or at least the recurring threat of it, Patnaude hit a respectable .271 for the Division 2 North champs.

It just wasn't the real Brad Patnaude.

"I know I can hit the ball well," said Patnaude, whose 14 hits through 11 games are one more than he had all of 2009. "Last year, I felt like I was a little restricted and slower to the ball. I grounded out a lot."

Told it was a strain, Patnaude simply fought through the stiffness and the shooting torment.

After the season, a trip to Childrens Hospital uncovered a pair of fractures on the L-5 vertebra. Patnaude went to work immediately, readying himself for this spring and some redemption. He now wears a brace, stretches religiously and cares for the ailment with purpose.

The result?

"He's been, from Day 1 in the gym, hitting the ball hard," said Dulin. "He has a nice short, quick stroke. Everything is short and quick."

Patnaude's two-run double in the second put the Knights on the board, making it 14 RBIs in 11 games.

"I'm just getting ahead in counts, sitting on fastballs, finding it in the zone and going with the pitch," said Patnaude. "I'm just a little bit quicker. It's made all the difference. The confidence, with the health, is huge."

About the only thing that can seize up the works is the cold, and thus far, it's been a merciful spring in that aspect.

Next year, Patnaude will make the move to take the chill out of the equation as he heads to Division 2 national power Tampa.

Making such an elite program is a longshot. Patnaude sees it as another challenge.

"I'd love to play down there. They have a JV team, that would be my goal," said Patnaude. "If I keep progressing, keep hitting the ball well, I'd like to make the varsity."

Weisman improves to 5-1

Knights junior lefty Mike Weisman delivered five solid innings, helping his own cause with a two-run homer, to move to 5-1 on the year.

Weisman, who was touched up for three runs in the Georgetown third inning, dominated the four other frames he worked, yielding to Brandon Walsh for the final scoreless pair.

Georgetown, which dropped its second game in as many days, fell to 9-3.

Obviously, with No. 7 Masconomet and No. 10 North Andover on successive days, Royals coach Mark Rowe knew his reigning Division 3 North champs would be tested.

"Whenever I look at the schedule, with back-to-back Masco and North Andover, you know it's going to be tough," said Rowe.

For the second straight day, defensive miscues doomed the Royals, who got a solid mound effort out of No. 3 man Chris L'Italien, only to be foiled by three errors (four unearned runs).

Rowe had wanted to run his horse, Andrew Sinkewicz, to the hill, only to think better of it for the good of the entire season.

"He was psyched to pitch against (North Andover)," said Rowe of the big right-hander. "But his arm has been a little tight. I made a decision last week that the long run is most important to us. I wanted to give him a full week, and he'll go Thursday (vs. Wilmington)."

Dean Nemeroff, Marco Luisi and Chris Esposito all had RBI singles for the Royals, who remain atop the CAL small division at 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the league.

Game Statistics:

North Andover (8):  David Foote cf 3-2-1, Brad Patnaude 2b 4-1-3, Connor Walsh 3b 2-1-0, Mike Weisman p/1b 4-1-1, Alec Jillson rf 3-0-0, Brandon Walsh c/p 4-0-0, Dan Daley dh 2-0-0, Tyler Leavitt dh 2-0-0, Cam Couillard ss 3-2-1, Matt Hogan lf 2-1-0, Dan Laorenza 1b 0-0-0, Jon Swanton c 0-0-0, Totals 29-8-6

Georgetown (3):  Ryan Browner ss 2-1-0, Dean Nemeroff lf 3-1-1, Chris Esposito c 4-0-1, Marco Luisi 1b 4-0-1, Danyer Fabian cf 3-0-1, Chris L'Italien p 2-0-0, Will Ingraham 3b 2-0-0, Adam Dillon dh 2-1-1, Adam Johnson 2b 1-0-0, Totals 23-3-5

RBI:  NA - Foote, Patnaude 3, Weisman 2, Couillard; G - Nemeroff, Esposito, Luisi

WP: Weisman (5 ip, 3er, 4h, 4bb, 6k); LP:  L'Italien (6 ip, 4er, 6h, 5bb, 11k); S: Brandon Walsh (2 ip, 0r, 1h, 1bb, 3k)

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