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Red Hawks edge Panthers, 4-2

Boston Red Sox's Mike Napoli, right, celebrates his two-run home run with teammate Dustin Pedroia, left, while playing against the Toronto Blue Jays during fifth-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Boston Red Sox's Mike Napoli, right, celebrates his two-run home run with teammate Dustin Pedroia, left, while playing against the Toronto Blue Jays during fifth-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

First-year coach Chuck Holt and his Frontier Regional School baseball team got off to a good start.

The Red Hawks mixed in plenty of small ball to go along with a seven-hit attack and a strong pitching performance from Peter Watroba to knock off Palmer High School, 4-2, in an independent game Friday afternoon at Valiton Field in South Deerfield.

Watroba pitched the first five innings and did not yield a run, striking out one and walking one in the performance. Holt, wanting to get Ben Ruddock some time on the mound, removed Watroba after the fifth, and Ruddock gave up two runs in the sixth, but according to the coach remained strong in the face of adversity and shut the door on Palmer’s comeback bid.

“Peter was throwing really well, but I really wanted to get Ruddock into the game,” Holt said of the move. “I have a lot of confidence in Ben, and I could be biased as his coach, but he got squeezed on a couple calls and he gave up some scratch hits. The wheels could have come off, but Ben stayed tough in a tough situation.”

The Red Hawks staked Watroba to a 3-0 lead before he left to make him the winner. Frontier struck for one run in the first and it came on some heads up play that left Holt jubilant. Leadoff hitter Eddie Tsai worked a seven-pitch walk and then stole second with Niko Ames at the dish. During Ames’ at-bat, he got two strikes on him, but managed to make a productive out when he grounded to first to move Tsai to third. Tsai then scored when Rylan Baronas reached on a one-out error. The same thing happened again in the fifth. In that inning, Tsai singled to leadoff and again stole second. Ames again found himself in a two-strike count, but once again he managed to hit a grounder to the right side of the infield to advance Tsai, who scored the insurance run when Baronas singled.

Holt was pleased with the defense, including outfielders Jared Allis and Billy Barrington, who both battled a strong wind to come up with some good catches. Allis also had a heads up play in the second inning when he charged a bloop single with a runner on second and fired the ball to cutoff man Sam Tillona, who fired a strike to Ames at the plate to cut down Palmer baserunner Jacob Shattuck.

Frontier scored twice in the fourth as Ryan Hoar led off with a single and scored on a Tillona double. Tillona later moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sean Doyle before scoring on a wild pitch.

Matt Byrne also had a strong offensive day in the opener with three hits.

Frontier hosts Mahar Regional School on Wednesday.

Athol 16, Sci-Tech 4 — Athol High School was dominant in all facets of the game as it opened the season with a 16-4 drubbing of Springfield School of Science & Technology in an independent baseball game Friday afternoon in Springfield.

Coming into the season the talk around the Red Raiders was that of its pitching and Dakota Melanson and Garrett Hall did nothing to disappoint that in the opener. Melanson worked the first three innings, striking out six and allowing one run on one hit and no walks, before giving way to Hall, who pitched the next three innings, allowing one run himself on two hits and one walk, while striking out five. Javier Morales came on in the seventh and walked three, allowing the final two runs.

While the pitching was doing its job, the Athol bats showed they would not be overshadowed in the opener as the Red Raiders piled up 14 hits en route to the 16 runs. Jamie Posk collected two of those hits and drove in a game-high four runs, while Tyler Guerin added a pair of hits himself, and drove home three runs. Bradley Bousquet tripled twice and plated a pair of runs, Jerry Parker singled twice and drove in two runs, and Joey Adams collected three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.

“We definitely hit the ball well,” Athol coach Josh Talbot said. “Some of those key guys in our lineup had a couple of hits and a couple RBIs, and it’s those kids that we need to step up and hit well if we are to have a successful season. ... Today was a good step in the right direction.”

FC Tech 15, Nashoba V-T 2 — Franklin County Technical School took advantage of plenty of wildness from Nashoba Valley Technical High School pitching to get first-year head coach Brian Winslow his first varsity win with a 15-2 independent baseball victory Friday afternoon in Turners Falls.

The Eagles (1-1) needed just seven hits to score the 15 runs as the team benefitted from 10 walks and a number of wild pitches to score many of their runs. The pitching struggles by Nashoba were highlighted in the second inning when the Eagles sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight runs on just one hit.

“They executed the game plan,” Winslow said. “They had good at bats, and they made the Nashoba pitchers work. When they saw good pitches, they took advantage of them, otherwise, they just took what was given to them.”

Cody Booska finished with two hits, three RBIs and four stolen bases on the afternoon for the Eagles, while Alec Milton notched three hits, including one double, to go along with one RBI and one stolen base. Booska also earned the win with eight strikeouts and one walk in three innings. Ethan Wickline and Jake Earl each pitched two innings of relief, striking out eight and walking two combined.

Softball

Westfield V-T 23, FC Tech 17 — Nikki Valeski had to make an emergency pitching start for Franklin Tech and it did not go well as she did not record an out in the first inning. Westfield Vocational-Technical High School took advantage with 13 runs in the frame and the Eagles were unable to come back from the deficit as they dropped a 23-17 TCL softball decision Friday in Westfield.

Katie Newell came on in relief of Valeski and allowed 10 runs in the final five innings as the Eagles attempted to claw back into the game. The closest the Eagles could get was 18-16 before Westfield Voke scored five times in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.

Mykayla Coburn finished with four hits and four RBIs in the loss, including a three-run home run and a triple. Sam Scope finished with three hits, including a double, and Brooke Meuse added three hits. Haylee Keene doubled and drove in three runs, Alyssa Andrews finished with two hits and one RBI, Mackenzie Coburn tripled and drove in a run, and Valeski added one hit and two RBIs.

Brandi Vangelder led the Tigers’ attack with four hits, including a double and two triples, and three RBIs. Megan Ilnicky finished with two hits and one RBI in support of herself, as she struck out five and walked five in seven innings to earn the win.

Boys’ volleyball

Athol 3, Sci-Tech 2 — Athol High School cleaned up its serving after a first-game loss and came back to win three of the final four games to even its record at 2-2 on the season with a 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 12-25, 15-12 victory over Sci-Tech in independent boys’ volleyball action Friday afternoon in Athol.

The Red Raiders missed five serves in the first game alone and fell behind 1-0 but missed just five more serves the rest of the match to earn the win.

Brandon Thomas finished with six kills, 11 digs and two blocks for the Red Raiders, while Jose Sierra racked up 21 digs. Lorenzo Carra added 13 assists and eight digs, Wyatt Doiron-LaRue tallied seven kills, 14 digs and three blocks, Tyler Lajoie finished with 13 assists and three kills, and Erik Aikey chipped in seven kills and two blocks.

Boys’ ultimate

Four Rivers 15, St. Johnsbury 2 — Four Rivers Charter School built an 8-0 lead and never looked back en route to a 15-2 boys’ ultimate victory over St. Johnsbury Academy Friday afternoon in Greenfield.

The Otters used a tight, zone defense to force several turnovers, which they turned into quick transition goals in the win. Jack Conant had a strong game offensively.

Girls’ ultimate

Four Rivers 9, St. Johnsbury 7 — Lucia Mason caught the winning point for Four Rivers on Friday and the Otters edged St. Johnsbury, 9-7, in a girls’ ultimate match in Greenfield.

Luci Sweitzer was strong defensively for Four Rivers, while Lea Sweeney and Juliana Blodgett played well on both ends of the field.

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