TOWNSEND -- Sophomore first baseman Richie Sharp blasted a three-run home run over the left center field fence to spark a five-run third-inning, as the Patriots topped Nashoba, 5-4.
North Middlesex senior righty Tony Sylvester was rock-solid over six innings, scattering seven hits with four strikeouts.
After coming out sluggish in a 5-2 loss to border-rival Groton-Dunstable Saturday, the Patriots realized the importance of a strong start.
"The guys came in today knowing that they would be in for a fight and played up to the potential of the team they played," said North Middlesex head coach Tom Bartelson. "After that big third inning, the guys really got a taste for taking a big lead and holding onto it. Richie's home run really got the guys up, and they started to really hit the ball well after that."
Nashoba rallied back in the top of the seventh for three runs on four hits, but it could not make amends for stranding eight base-runners in the game.
"We had six guys thrown out on the bases that could have been avoided," Nashoba head coach Chuck Schoolcraft said. "But, I liked how Charlie Ramsland came in and pitched very well and got a base-hit and a walk in the end. You have to give credit to their pitcher -- he did pretty good for six innings. We had plenty of baserunners on, but you can't make mistakes on the bases. That's what put us in that position in the seventh inning.
Sylvester surrendered a pair of two-out singles to Noah Milliard and Nick Campana in the top of the first. Milliard advanced to third on the hit by Campana, but he was left 90 feet away, as Sylvester jammed John Hannon inside to cause a squib shot back to the mound for the easy putout at first to end the inning. Sharp took Cavioli deep to right center field, but Militano made the diving nab for the second out of the inning.
Nashoba put two on the paths in the second. Right-fielder Nick Borsari reached on a walk, but he was later gunned down by North Middlesex senior catcher Ben Wright attempting to swipe third for the second out.
North Middlesex's woes at the plate continued in the second as it went down 1-2-3 for the second time. After starting the game 0-for-6, the Patriot bats came to life in the third.
Nashoba left-handed starter Greg Cavioli walked Jake Ovaska and Tyler MacDonald to set the stage for Sharp. The swift-swinging sophomore feasted on a letter-high fastball and muscled it over the 320-foot marker left center to put the Patriots on top, 3-0. The Patriots added two more in the inning on back-to-back doubles from Wright and Logan Kuzmitch.
Nashoba collected one run in the fourth when Campana, who tripled to right earlier in the inning, came around to score on a fielder's choice by Borsari. The Chieftains chased Sylvester in the seventh after allowing the first two batters to reach. Pinch-hitter Ben Sousa came in and socked a clutch RBI single past the diving John Boutwell at third to score Borsari. Two more runs came across in the inning on a Milliard RBI single and a sacrifice-fly by Kevin Connelly, but second baseman Jay Cobleigh made a stellar play as he flipped to Kuzmitch to get lead runner Milliard to end the game.
"Ben has really been hitting the ball well for us and he has really progressed into a strong leader behind the plate for us. " Bartelson said.