By James Albert
WORCESTER — When you’re going up against a southpaw pitcher who is 8-0, has given up one run all season, and has good control of his off-speed pitches, you know you have to scratch and claw every inch to score a run and, more importantly, win the game.
Last Saturday afternoon, the Littleton High baseball team had the very tough chore of going up against David Meech. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior changed speeds and location, which kept the Tigers’ batters off-balance and helped lead Oxford to a 1-0 victory over Littleton to capture the Division 4 Central championship.
The game, played at Tivnan Field, took just 95 minutes to be completed.
Littleton, which advanced to the sectional finals for the first time since 1995 and ’96, ends its successful season at 16-4.
“I actually thought we played great, we really did,” said Littleton head coach Mike DiPietro, now in his second season. “This is a real good (Oxford) team. They have been blowing everyone out all year long and they were the consensus pick. We knew that if we were going to beat them today that we had to shut them down somehow offensively. I thought we had the right plan and I thought we went at them pretty good. We did some good things too, but just one run early on in the game was the difference. We just couldn’t scrape enough hits together. They are well coached and this was just a great game all-around.”
Littleton managed just four hits, with one double and three singles. The Tigers did have chances to score, mostly in the first two innings, but left runners at first and second both times. In all, six runners were left on base, with three at second.
“It looked like early in the first couple of innings, (Meech) had a hard time locating (his curveball) early, so we had the approach of trying to lay off of it,” said DiPietro. “Then right around the third inning he started to get (the curveball) over. Then he started to get ahead in counts. He was behind on counts early in the game, but once he started to get ahead, he started to bury that curveball in the dirt a little bit. Later in the game around the sixth inning, he seemed to get away from the curveball a little bit and his fastball had more pop to it.”
Oxford scored the lone run in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Michael Bordeaux walked. Two batters later he stole second. Littleton then intentionally walked Meech, only to see Littleton catcher Kevin Girardin pick him off at first base for the second out.
Noah Buckley followed with a hit to the opposite field, between first and second, to drive in Bordeaux with the game’s only run.