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Needing a win to advance to the title game, starter Thomas Manty and slugger Danny Regan delivered in a big way on Saturday.
Manty provided an outstanding start, and Regan blasted a grand slam to lead Andover American to a 5-2 victory over Saugus American and a berth in the championship game of the District 4 tourney.
"Manty was huge for us," said Andover coach Dave Metzemaekers. "We were limited in pitching and we needed Thomas to come up big for us and he did. He was amazing tonight."
Manty was masterful over 5 2/3 innings. The youngster struck out eight and never faced any major trouble on the day. Caeden Dillman came on in relief and retired the final batter, needed just two pitches to earn the save.
"I told him we were going with only two pitches (fastball and curveball)," said Metzemaekers. "After he got the last out he came back to me and said, 'Coach, I only needed to throw two pitches.'"
The clutch-hitting Regan put Andover ahead to stay in the third inning.
Kyle Vumbaco opened the inning with a walk, followed by a Manty singe and a walk for John Metzemaekers. Regan then stepped to the plate and blasted a grand slam over the fence in right field, his second homer of the district tourney.
Regan delivered American's other run in the fourth. Dillman walked, moved to second on a Metzemaekers walk and scored on a Regan single to right-center field.
"We always seem to have runners on in front of Danny and that's always important," said Dave Metzemaekers. "He's been our sparkplug. Everyone has contributed, but when we have needed a big hit, Danny has delivered."
The defensive player of the day was Josh Gruenburg. Normally an outfielder, Gruenburg — who throws lefty — played very well at second base. Dillman also received rave reviews for his work at shortstop.