Published in the August 11, 2016 edition


NORTH READING — The season came to an end for the North Reading A’s on Aug. 1 as they lost, 5–2, at Swampscott. With the loss, the A’s lost the North Shore Baseball League best–of–three first-round playoff series two games to none.

This game was originally supposed to have been played at North Reading High but, due to a scheduling conflict, was moved to Phillips Park as the top–seeded Sox got to play both playoff games at home.

The Sox plated three runs in the first inning and the eighth-seeded A’s scored once in third to cut the lead to two. Both teams scored once run in the fifth inning and the Sox got their last run in the seventh (The A’s batted last since they were technically the home team).

“They had three hits in a row to start the game and that set the tone,” explained A’s player–manager Joe Dardeno. “That made it tough for us to get back into the game.”

Ben Harrow, who went 1 for 2, hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third to score Jon McQuarrie from third. McQuarrie reached base with a double.

Harrow, the team’s top hitter, then scored the second run as the A’s executed a double steal in the fifth.

North Reading had five hits overall.

Bob Berry was the losing pitcher ending the year at 2–3. He went all seven innings allowing five runs, five hits, five walks and striking out five as well. He also hit two batters.

“He started off slow but got better as the game went along,” said Dardeno.

The A’s went 8–17 overall as they were 8–15 in the regular season while the Sox improved to 22–3. They faced Peabody in the semifinal round (results unknown at press time).

“We won more games this year than we did last year,” pointed out Dardeno, as the A’s lost in the first round last summer as well. “Our next goal is to win a playoff series.”

Harrow, Kevin Rooney and Anthony Lupi were the three A’s named to the NSBL All-Star team this year. Harrow, a North Reading High graduate, finished second in the league in batting average at .500. He also led the team in RBI with 14. Rooney, who played right field, hit .313 even though he is one of the oldest players in the league at 38.

Lupi had a team-low earned run average of 2.35 and led the team in wins going 3–5 overall.