Solid Pitching, Timely Hitting Propels Belmont Baseball Past Masco in Playoff Opener

Photo: David Pergamo (front) and Martin Marintchev score on Mike Brown’s single in the first inning.

With solid defense and riding the steady right arm of senior Martin Marintchev, Belmont High School secured a 7-1 victory over Masconomet Regional in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 North sectional playoffs on Thursday, June 6.

Marintchev held the Chieftains (11-10) to six singles and one earned run while striking out four as he went the distance for the complete game victory. Marintchev helped his own cause by driving in a pair of runs, joining teammates junior DH Mike Brown and third base Dave Pergamo who totaled two RBIs each.

Belmont High’s Martin Marintchev.

Belmont, the tournament’s 7th seed, will next play second seed St. Mary’s School of Lynn on Monday, June 10, at 4 p.m. at Fraser Field in Lynn.

“We got out on front early and that made a great deal of difference,” said long-time Belmont Head Coach Jim Brown. “That let our pitcher throw strikes and when [Masco] started hitting, our fielders did a great job.”

Evidence of Belmont’s defensive prowess started early in the top half of the first when a base on balls and a bloop single resulted in Chieftains on second and third and no outs. But Masco couldn’t push a run across the plate as first shortstop Joe Carey and then second base Matt Brody cut down runners at the plate before third base Pergamo got the final out on a long throw from third to first.

For its part, Belmont did not waste its first opportunity, putting two up in the bottom of the inning. A walk to Pergamo followed by a deep double from Marintchev set up Brown who whacked a two-run single to give the Marauders the early lead.

After the fast start, the pitchers took over for the next four innings. And while Masco was hitting the ball, Marintchev was forcing the Chieftains to lift the ball, keeping center fielder Joe LaFaudi and right fielder Joe Destefano busy during that stretch.

Belmont finally got the insurance runs it had been barking about since the first inning in the bottom of the sixth, coming from the bottom of the lineup. With one out, number 6 batter catcher Mike Giangregorio was hit by a pitch followed by left fielder Justin Rocha lacing a single down the third base line.

It was here Brown relied on “small ball” tactics with a bunt laid down by LaFauci scoring Giangregorio. A second bunt by Destefano loaded the bases after an attempted putout at third saw Rocha scrambling back to the bag. A pair of singles from Pergamo and Marintchev scored a pair each and that was the game as Belmont ran off to a 7-0 lead.

Brown said St. Mary’s which had a bye in the opening round, has all star pitcher Lee Pacheco waiting in the wings while Belmont will likely send out its top dog, Mike Brown.

“We’ll have to have a similar game in the field, with no errors, to stay in the game,” said Brown.

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