LYNN – Joe Abt got one more chance to end his high school baseball career in style, and he certainly made the most of it.
At Sunday’s Agganis All-Star game, the recently graduated Triton star went 2-on-3 with one run scored and two RBI and was named North All-Stars MVP after the game. He hit a double in the first inning and attempted to fuel a comeback with an RBI single in the seventh, but the North lost 7-5 to all-star South rivals.
“The experience was great,” said Abt. “I was happy to be there and happy that I got the invitation. It was a great group of guys and some great coaches and overall it turned out to be a pretty good game.”
Abt had a great spring season, hitting a team-high .446 on one home run, 14 runs scored and 17 RBI. He helped lead the team to a share of the CAL Kinney title, but the Vikings were upset by Southeastern in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs.
“You know, our high school team, we didn’t really get as far as we wanted,” Abt said. “So that means a lot. Just because of the importance of the game, to get the MVP award and go down in the history books with some of the guys that took part in that game is special. It was a great finish to my high school career.”
Abt will play with both the Newburyport Senior Legion Team and the Northeast Tides of the North Shore Baseball League this summer before leaving for Endicott next year.
Peabody’s Krouse becomes South MVP
Donning a blue cap with Peabody High’s white “P” again in a meaningful game meant a lot for recent grad Michael Krouse, who showed off all five of his tools in an MVP effort at the 27th Agganis All-Star Baseball game on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Field.
Krouse went 4-for-4 to the plate, clubbing three singles and a double. He showed his speed by stealing four bases and scoring two goals, then flashed the leather with a run-saving belly play in the sixth plus two outstanding line drive catches at shortstop, the latter of which was the South All-Stars’ final 7-5 victory over the North.
“It’s one last hooray and it feels really good to be playing for Peabody and with my teammate one last time,” Krouse said, gesturing toward Justin Powers, his fellow Tanner and Agganis All-Star.
A full-time pitcher, Powers only needed seven pitches to pitch a perfect fifth inning with two strikeouts. Powers admittedly scored cleanly for the first time since Little League and threw in with two hits, one run scored and three RBI, leading Krouse to tease him that it was time to hit a few runs home.
“I guess I’m just RBI in All-Star games,” Powers quipped. “It was a lot of fun playing out here and a great honor to be a part of this game.”
It was a similar experience at the other dugout, where Swampscott High teammates John Cuttle, Matt Schroeder and Pierce Friedman shared the field one last time with North coach Joe Caponigro and his assistants. Each of them made some positive contributions to this annual all-star classic: Friedman (who will serve at Stonehill) threw a scoreless seventh, Schroeder hit the side in the fourth and hit base twice, and Cuttle walked twice and threw a goalless frame .
“We hated the thought that the (state) tournament game could be our last time with Coach Cap. We loved being able to play for him one last time,” said Schroder, who made some outstanding defensive plays on hops off Fraser Field’s turf throughout the game.
Played in honor of former Red Sox player Harry Agganis, the game features some of the best senior talent from the Greater North Shore region and beyond. The North took an early 2-0 lead when Abt doubled and scored from a brace from Andover’s Tyler Walles. Gloucester’s Dan Hafey added an RBI single, but Lynn English pitcher Victor Calderon stopped the bleeding there.
Calderon threw two more frames and then four pitchers combined to keep the North to just one hit the rest of the way.
South immediately took the lead as Krouse, who will continue to the defending MASCAC Champions at Bridgewater State, took a singles lead. English’s Ray Contreras hit an infield single, Powers delivered a bloop RBI single, Northeast’s Brody McNair worked with a bases loaded walk and Powers hit with a dropped third strike.
It remained a 3-2 game until the fifth when Krouse took the lead again with a single. Contreras doubled it home, Greater Boston League MVP Tyler Wilson followed with a hard single and Powers lost with a two-run single to make it 6-3.
Lynn Tech’s Dom Giordano had the loudest hit of the day, a solo homer well over the left field fence at the bottom of the sixth. The bomb was one of 11 hits for South, who held an 11–4 advantage over North in that department.
“It was a hot day so I was surprised there were so many hits. I thought we were going to get tired,” said Krouse. “I saw the pitches today and the ball came off the bat pretty well.”
Abt (2-for-3) added an RBI single for North, which put the tie run on base at the top of seventh by capitalizing on three walks and an error. Andover’s Evan Brenner had an RBI fielder choice and Gloucester’s Zach Oliver scored on a wild field, but England’s Contreras landed the tie in goal position with a wicked off-speed bid.
“I think we missed each other,” Friedman said of reuniting with his Big Blue teammates. “It was a team mentality on the coaching bench, even if it was more reserved and relaxed. We had a lot of fun today.”