LEOMINSTER — North Middlesex right-hander Tony Sylvester does not waste any time on the mound. The hard-throwing senior, who is bound for Southern New Hampshire University in the fall, threw a masterful complete game to lead his team to a 12-3 victory over Midland B border rival, Groton-Dunstable, Monday under the lights at Pin Canavino Field in Leominster.
Sylvester allowed only two hits and did not allow an earned run in the contest, all while only striking out three.
Senior shortstop Kyle Priest and Aidan Ward had the only two hits for Groton-Dunstable.
Perhaps, the more telling story of the night was Sylvester’s cat-quick reflexes off the mound. The senior pitcher recorded a total of nine assists — something that North Middlesex head coach Tom Bartelson was very impressed with.
“Tony played absolutely out of his mind today,” Bartelson said convincingly. “His slider was really biting today, even in the cold weather. It was really weird that it did that with how cold it was.”
Sylvester had a strong day at the dish as well, going 3 for 5 with 2 RBI.
Junior right fielder Richie Sharp was a perfect 4 for 4 with an RBI for North Middlesex.
The road does not get any easier for North Middlesex, as it enters the meat of its schedule with four games in five days against the likes of Hudson, Nashoba and Quabbin.
“We knocked down one game in the division already,” Bartelson said. “It is a good way to start the week winning one in the league. This is the important week with a lot of games in a short window.”
Sylvester made quick work of the top of the Groton-Dunstable order in the first, inducing three groundouts on just 12 pitches.
North Middlesex struck first in the bottom half of the inning on a one-out sacrifice fly to left field by senior third baseman John Boutwell, which plated leadoff man Jay Cobleigh from third. Groton-Dunstable pitcher Joe Simeone worked his way out of the inning with a pop out to Sylvester and a strikeout to Brendan Twomey.
Sylvester picked up where he left off in the second, retiring the Crusader bats in order for the second straight time.
North Middlesex plated two more runs in the third inning on a sacrifice fly from Twomey and a looping one-run double by Sylvester.
The Patriots added three their next go-around in the fifth to push its lead out to 6-1. Groton-Dunstable’s scoring drought mercifully ended in the top of the fifth. Crusader catcher Jacob Barnes came across with his team’s first run of the day, when Pat Keating reached safely on a fielder’s choice.
North Middlesex blew the game wide open in the home half of the inning as it chalked up file runs to take an 11-1 lead. A squeeze bunt executed by Cobleigh scored Twomey from third early in the inning.
Patriot catcher Brandon Borneman sprayed an opposite field hit into right field.
Trailing big heading into the sixth inning, Groton-Dunstable scored its final two runs on an error and a fielder’s choice.
“He is one of the better pitchers in our league,” Groton-Dunstable head coach Matt LeBlanc said of Sylvester. “I feel like he kept the pace going. We weren’t good in any aspect of the game. We have to play a better brand of baseball to win the game. Not to take anything away from NM, they did what it took to win. We’ll get better as the season goes along.”