NORTH READING — The coach refuses to go away. And so do his players.
Frank Carey’s retirement tour extended at least one more afternoon as he and the North Reading Hornets doused Shawsheen Tech, 4-0, in the Division 3 North quarterfinals yesterday. The state’s all-time winningest coach now leads his club into the North semis, tomorrow, 4 p.m., against Austin Prep at Endicott College in Beverly.
“I’d say it’s pretty even, the desperation we have with this being our last year together and also the fact that it’s Coach’s last season,” said winning pitcher Ryan Boucher, one of a dozen seniors on the squad.
Either way, the immediacy of the situation brought out the best in Boucher, who came in struggling on the mound.
“I really have had a tough time with my curve ball,” said Boucher. “But this time early, I went to my changeup, and that worked. Later, I found the curve ball.”
Boucher unleashed an occasional hanger, but with Shawsheen runners on base, the hook was biting, and he created ways to escape.
On the day, Boucher allowed five hits with a pair of walks, one of which was intentional.
Meanwhile, the Hornets did just enough at the plate against Ram righty Dan McCreaven.
North Reading gave Boucher all the runs he’d need in the fourth on a walk, a hit batter, one Ram error and some aggressive base-running from Colby Maiola.
Shawsheen’s second error of the game set up the insurance runs when Scott Leslie singled in a pair in the sixth.
With the lead, Boucher just kept pounding the zone, mowing down the final seven batters he faced.
Sectional quarterfinalists last year and state champs in 2012, the Hornet seniors have been there before and know the difference between trophy presentations and early exits.