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Scanlan pitches in for Lincoln-Sudbury

LOWELL -- As Lincoln-Sudbury took infield practice, the video screen in left-center field at LeLacheur Park was showing yesterday's Red Sox-Giants game.

In all probability, the 10 seniors on the Warriors' roster will never play at Fenway Park. They'll probably never play at a stadium like LeLacheur Park, home to the Single A Lowell Spinners and site of last night's Division 1 state championship game against Algonquin.

Some will play college baseball. Some might even play after college. But no matter how far they go in their baseball careers, they might never again experience what they did after beating Algonquin, 3-2, a remarkably low score in this metal-bat tournament, to win the Division 1 state title. It capped a 26-1 season and gave Lincoln-Sudbury its first championship since winning the Division 2 crown two years ago.

Kevin Scanlan, the lefthanded ace who isn't overpowering but has peerless command, hurled a complete game on 129 pitches to earn the win, his fourth of the post season.

The final pitch was Scanlan's finest. There were two outs in the top of ninth, and Algonquin's Zack Siska was on third representing the tying run. At bat was leadoff hitter Kevin Brown, who had doubled earlier. Scanlan was ahead in the count, 0 and 2. He had thrown three straight curveballs to the previous batter, so he decided to mix it up. He reached back and fired an 87-mile-per-hour fastball down the heart of the plate for a called third strike. It was his fastest pitch of the night.

"The exclamation point," said L-S coach Kirk Fredericks. "He's the best pitcher in the state."

Scanlan finished with eight strikeouts and one earned run allowed on seven hits. He will continue his baseball career at the University of Maine next year.

Mike Wilson might not continue his baseball career. But if he doesn't play another game, he can be more than satisfied with how it ended. Wilson drove in the winning run in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly to deep center off Algonquin starter Neil Hesek (seven innings, two earned runs) that scored Jack Laurendeau.

"It's the climax," said Wilson, who will attend the University of Wisconsin. "I've been playing since T-Ball to get to this point."

Laurendeau will play outfield at Holy Cross in the fall. He, too, realized last night might've been the pinnacle.

"I won't experience anything like this in college," said Laurendeau, who went 1 for 4 with an RBI and two runs. With Algonquin ahead, 1-0, in the third, Laurendeau hit a triple over the head of center fielder Robbie Nichols that scored Matt Miller. Laurendeau later came around on an error.

For Scanlan, Laurendeau, Wilson, Miller, and the rest of the L-S seniors, last night was for yearbooks, family photo albums, and "Remember when?" stories years down the road. It was the end of their high school athletic careers. Today is the beginning of a new era. But they'll always be able to look back on one night in June, and say they were champions.