LEOMINSTER — Absolutely solid — and gutsy, too.
Leominster starter Colman Dyer went 5 2/3 innings of scoreless ball Tuesday, fanning 10 Northbridge Post 343 hitters while stranding six on four hits, before Ryan Beaulac mopped up to help Post 151 reach the Chairman’s Cup Final thanks to a 7-0 win at Pin Cannavino Field.
The win lifts Leominster to 17-5 overall, with a visit from either Cherry Valley or Milford slated for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Northbridge’s season ended at 11-10.
Longtime Orange Crush skipper Jeff Dedeian noted the gutsy effort by Dyer, who has effectively slid into Post 151’s No. 2 role despite limited innings in high school play earlier this spring.
“He kind of struggled in the first inning to get in a groove and the feel of his pitches, but he popped the mitt a couple of times, and the way he got out of the fifth, that was huge,” Dedeian said.
Dyer’s work in the fifth was rather imperative: after getting the first two hitters in the frame to go back to the dugout scratching their heads, the wheels nearly fell off with Leominster ahead, 3-0, at that point. Dyer plunked Matt Landry, the No. 9 hitter in the Post 343 lineup, before a two-out infield hit by Jackson Haker put runners at first and second.
Derek Angell then drew a walk to load the bases full of runners from the Blackstone Valley, while Beaulac started loosening in the bullpen.
Dedeian went out to the mound to address a few things with Dyer while Jon Cray waited in the batter’s box.
“He had struggled a bit to find it, then got the hitter; he had him all night with the off-speed stuff,” Dedeian said. “(The visit) was more or less, his last time up, you, Ryan (Kolakowski), and Dylan (Poulin, the pitching coach) were on him and screwed him into the ground. He had to re-focus.”
Cray worked the count full in what was a rather heroic at-bat, fouling off a number of pitches before Dyer finally got him to chase high and away for strike three.
Leominster got some insurance in the home half of the fifth.
Tyler Smith found himself plunked to lead off the frame before he stole second with Tom Halliwell up. Halliwell battled Northbridge starter Mason Consigli full before he walked just as Smith took off for third.
The Northbridge catcher rose and fired, but the throw was offline and into left, allowing Smith (three runs) to score the coveted fourth run.
Two hitters and an out later, Sean Dutton (two doubles) doubled to a spacious right field, moving Halliwell to third.
Then with the Post 343 infield drawn in, Ryan Kolakowski found space in the diving shortstop’s glove as he squeezed a base hit through.
Both Halliwell and Dutton scored on the hit.
Leominster took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, as Dutton, who doubled, scored on a throwing error off the bat of Michael Cooper, the two-out throw from third offline.
Halliwell, who recorded three RBI, plated two in the third.
“Tommy had a good day at the plate,” Dedeian said.
Tony Salvatelli had singled to right, going to second on a fielding error before he went to third on Smith’s single. Smith took second before Halliwell pulled the ball into the left field corner for a stand-up, two-run double.
Smith scored his third and final run in the sixth off a Halliwell hot shot single through the box.
Beaulac came in relief and went 1 1/3, walking one and giving up a two-out infield single in the top of the seventh.