'Top of the world'; Croteau, Halliday pitch Auburn to Div. 2 title.


Byline: Jim Wilson

LOWELL - It has been 10 years since Auburn's Jeff Croteau watched the 1998 Rockets capture a Division 2 state title. Now Croteau and his teammates have one of their own.

The Rockets got stellar pitching performances from Croteau and Chris Halliday and despite getting only two hits and a pair of first-inning runs, Auburn made it hold up for a 2-1 win over Plymouth North in the Division 2 state championship last night at LeLacheur Park.

"I'm on top of the world right now," Croteau said. "When I was just a little kid, I said I wanted to win it like they did. I want to go out as one of the best in Auburn history. I knew we had a great group of kids and we'd be successful, but never did I know it would become a reality (11) years later."

Auburn got its offense in early, as Nick Natoli led off the bottom of the first by advancing to second on an error and taking third on a wild pitch. After Steve Wallace struck out, Evan Pluff hit a hard shot that went under the glove of Plymouth North third baseman Mike Higgins and into left for an RBI single.

Jon Leroux followed with a double to the gap in right-center. Pluff never stopped running and scored when the Eagles tried to get Leroux at second to no avail, before throwing late to the plate. Plymouth North starter Joe Flynn recovered to strike out Brian Sullivan and Kyle Beede to end the inning.

It was the Rockets' last hit off Flynn, who allowed just one base runner - on a walk - the rest of the way. The Franklin Pierce-bound Flynn was 10-1 with 128 strikeouts and a 0.41 ERA this year as the rock of the Eagles' pitching staff, and showed it last night by striking out 13.

"Beating Joe Flynn is unbelievable," Leroux said. "He's a great pitcher and going to have a great career. Hats off to him, he threw a great game, but we got to him in one inning, and it worked out for us."

The Eagles came back in the fifth after a leadoff double to left-center by Zach Prifti. Pinch hitter Mike Cahill struck out swinging, but the ball got away from catcher Jon Leroux.

Leroux looked pinch runner Joe Brigida back to second, then fired to first to get Cahill. Brigida broke for third on the throw, but Tyler Beede made the throw to Shayne McNally in time to get him for the double play.

That play was key because Croteau gave up an infield single to Jameson Wood, then Tom MacInnes laced a double over the head of left fielder Connor Beach.

Wood beat the relay throw to the plate to cut the lead to one -...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT