HAVERHILL — It was a good night for the Thibault duo Tuesday at Trinity Stadium.
Andrew and Jake Thibault are in no way related, other than in baseball talent, but they were like brothers trying to outdo each other for the Kingston Night Owls in their 5-1 victory over the North Shore Phillies in the opening game of the best-of-5 North Shore Baseball League semifinals.
Andrew Thibault, from Nashua, was 2 for 4 with a triple and three RBIs from the leadoff position while Methuen’s Jake Thibault was brilliant in relief, allowing no hits or runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Methuen lefty Andrew Hamel started for the Night Owls and was strong for three shutout innings. But he ran into trouble in the fourth, giving up a run on a hit and two walks. At that point, with runners on first and third, head coach Paul Sartori went to Jake Thibaullt, who has given up just one earned run all summer.
After hitting the first batter to load the bases, the hard-throwing Methuen reliever induced a weak grounder to second base to end the inning, And he was just getting started, retiring the next nine batters with two strikeouts along the way. It was his longest outing of the summer.
“Yeah, I think that is the longest I’ve gone,” said Methuen’s Thibault. “But my arm feels good. I could go again tomorrow if they need me.”
That would be good news for Sartori, who was impressed with both of his pitchers.
“We put it in the pitchers’ hands and they both did a great job,” said Santori. “Andrew (Hamel) was laboring a little and Jake was itching to pitch so I made the move. In fairness to Andrew, that’s as long as he’s gone all summer so he was getting tired.”
Andrew Thibault, meanwhile, provided much of the offense. He knocked in the Night Owls’ first run in the second, driving home Christian Allaire, who reached on a bunt single and stole second, and drove in two key insurance runs in the fourth with a triple to right-center.
The Night Owls scored their fifth and final run when league-leading hitter Joe Morin of Salem then drove home Andrew Thibault with a single. Morin has been struggling with back issues the last couple of weeks, but is still hitting over .500.
Haverhill’s Nick Comei was 1 for 4 and made a nifty defensive play at shortstop on a slow grounder in the fifth.
The Night Owls are scheduled to play the Phillies again tonight at 8 p.m. at Breed Field in Lynn but heavy rain could either move the game back to the turf surface at Trinity Stadium or push the game to Thursday.
“We put it in the pitchers’ hands and they both did a great job.”
Night Owls coach Paul Sartori