TMHS Baseball Team Draws Marblehead In State Tournament
Redmen, seeded 11th, will visit No. 6 seed Marblehead on Thursday.
The eight seniors on the Tewksbury High baseball team have had their traveling shoes on this week, with a harbor cruise in Boston, the senior prom in Windham, N.H. and a day at Crane's Beach in Ipswich all on the senior week agenda.
So a short jaunt down to Marblehead to play in the MIAA state tournament on Thursday afternoon will be nothing new to the Redmen.
"We'll have a long bus ride and we'll have to overcome that," TMHS coach Ron Drouin said. "But we're excited about playing in the state tournament and we've been playing some pretty good baseball lately, so we're looking forward to it."
Tewksbury won four of its last five games during the final week of the season to even its overall record at 10-10 and qualify for the state tournament. At 7-7 in the Merrimack Valley Conference, the Redmen finished second in the MVC's Divison 2. Tewksbury is seeded No. 11 in Division 2 North. Marblehead is seeded No. 6.
The complete bracket can be found in a printable PDF attached to this story.
"I like the direction were going in," Drouin said. "I like the momentum we've created. The kids are feeling pretty good about themselves."
The Redmen beat Austin Prep 5-1 and Dracut 9-1 last Monday and Tuesday, and topped Methuen twice, 9-4 and 3-2, over the weekend. Their only loss over that stretch was to the Division 2 North Sectional's No. 1 seed, North Andover.
Seniors Matt Luppi and Sean McCarthy have handled the hot bats lately, with Luppi cracking a home run and a long ground rule double in his final two games, and McCarthy hitting a grand slam and knocking in eight runs over the final four games.
"The kids who are supposed to produce runs for us are getting hot," Drouin said. "Hopefully we're starting to play good baseball at the right time."
Luppi will be Tewksbury's starting pitcher on Thursday, after finishing the season with a 5-2 record. If the University of Connecticut-bound senior is on his game, Drouin likes his team's chances.
"Matt has had moments where he's been real good this year and moments where he's been average," Drouin said. "When he's on his best game we can beat anybody."
Marblehead finished second to Danvers in the Northeastern conference's South Division with a 13-7 overall record and a 9-2 home record. The Magicians are the No. 6 seed in the Division 2 North Sectional bracket, and have qualified for state tournment play for three consecutive years. The Redmen are seeded 11th.
Marblehead has not won a state tournament game since 2003.
The Marblehead pitching staff does not feature an ace pitcher, but the Magicians are athletic and run the bases well, according to Drouin.
"I watched them for a few innings on Saturday and they'll put pressure on you," Drouin said. "But we like to play that way, too. It should be a real good match-up."
In addition to Luppi and McCarthy, seniors Ryan White, Joe Hulme, Chris Andella, Jeff Rauseo, Rob Wallace and Sean Connolly will be wrapping up their THMS baseball careers at this month's state tournament.