NRHS Baseball Earns First District Title

The Nashoba Chieftains are the proud winners of the Division 1 Central Mass baseball championship after a 2-1 victory over Leominster.
Ellen Oliver

By Ellen Oliver

On Saturday June 8, the top seeded Nashoba Chieftains baseball team fought, battled, and clawed their way to a 2-1 victory over the Leominster Blue Devils (7-seed) to capture the team’s first ever Central Mass Division 1 title. Over the course of nine innings, Nashoba kept the Blue Devils in check, while their own hitters were kept in line by Leominster, a game scoreless into the fourth, then tied 1-1.

From Nashoba’s perspective, the win couldn’t have been scripted better: Bottom of the ninth, one out, Nashoba at bat with men on the corners. Leominster intentionally walked Nashoba’s lead off hitter, John Militano, to load the bases and bring up pitcher Drew Foster, who does just as much damage at the plate as on the mound. According to Nashoba catcher Dan Cacciatore, that was Leominster’s mistake. “You don’t want Drew up when you have the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning,” he said.

The Blue Devils realized their folly with the crack of Foster’s bat sending a catchable ball deep into right field, far back enough to allow Matt Sabourin to tag up from third and cross the plate to victorious cheers from the Chieftain fans.

For Nashoba, this was a milestone victory. “Our first D1 appearance and our first D1 victory, too,” said Coach Chuck Schoolcraft. “This was beautiful, they’re a great team. I probably won’t sleep tonight.”

The coach spread praise all around, starting with his battery. “Drew and Danny did a great job of calling the game today,” he said. “Drew is immense on

Catcher Dan Cacciatore
Ellen Oliver

the mound, nothing bothers him.” Foster’s line was one run, three hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts, plus he added two hits and an RBI to his stats. Sabourin went two for four with an RBI.

After losing 13 seniors last year and starting five juniors this year, Coach Schoolcraft wants to be sure his team gets the recognition it deserves. “People don’t realize what these kids have accomplished. They come every day, they practice, they work hard. Every day I get in my car and say ‘Where did I get these kids?’”

The D1 Division win propelled Nashoba (20-3) into the state bracket where they will meet Agawam/Westfield the Western Mass. champion in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Tivnan Field. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the game was postponed to Wednesday due to rain.