WESTFORD -- It had been a painfully quiet morning at the plate for the Lowell High baseball team. Extra-base hits were nowhere to be found. In fact, hardly any balls were even well struck.
For 6 1/3 innings, that's how it went down for the Red Raiders. Until, with one mighty swing, junior Conor Callery changed Lowell's fortunes.
With one out in the top of the seventh, and the bases loaded thanks to two hit-batsmen and a single, the right-handed hitting Callery smashed an opposite-field double that cleared the bases and put the Red Raiders ahead.
His line-drive blast into right field ignited a nine-run inning for Lowell and gave the visitors a 12-4 come-from-behind, non-league victory at Westford Academy.
"I just wanted to get the guy in from third and tie the game to get us to extras," said Callery, who also scored a pair of runs. "I saw a ball away, and decided to go that way with it. Fortunately, it got over the fielder's head and we got three instead of one. My teammates just kept going after that. Once one kid gets a hit, everyone else follows."
Callery also pitched the final two innings and earned the win in relief of sophomore starter Matt Smith. In his first appearance on the mound this season, the hard-throwing Callery struck out four in his two scoreless frames.
Lowell improved to 5-5, while Westford dropped to 2-5.
Lowell had been held to just two hits through the first six innings and trailed 4-3.
Senior Brian Dolan had a two-run double in the seventh, while junior catcher Chris Mansour (2-for-3) and senior center fielder Keagan Latta had RBI singles in the rally.
"They come in bunches, I guess," said Lowell head coach Dan Graham. "We played Thursday -- same thing. We were being no-hit through five, then the bats came alive late in the game. It would be OK with me if we wanted to get some runs out of the way a little earlier. Conor really drove that ball out there, and that was the big hit of the game, for sure."
Lowell also took advantage of five Westford errors. The Red Raiders plated two runs in the first after the inning was extended due to a Grey Ghosts' defensive miscue.
It was symbolic of the type of season it has been for struggling WA.
"(LeBleu) pitched great, he kept us in the game. Those hit-batters kind of led things off in the seventh for them," said Westford head coach Cory Roman. "It put lots of pressure on us, and they took advantage of it. Lowell is an aggressive-swinging team.
"This doesn't look close, but it was a game that could've gone either way. We haven't been able to get the big hit all year. We haven't been able to find a way to win those close games."
The Grey Ghosts got three runs in the second to take the lead. Stephen O'Brien and Shane Wright had RBI singles, while Cam MacDonald knocked in a run by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Lowell evened things up with a run in the third. Tyler Schermerhorn (2-for-5, two runs) scored on a sacrifice fly from Santo Cordero. Westford answered right back in the bottom of the third. Senior shortstop Dan Bodi singled, was sacrificed to second, tagged to third and scored on a wild pitch. That made it 4-3.
Westford was limited to just six hits as a team. Smith made his first varsity start for Lowell, and was solid in his five innings (4r, 4er, 5h, 2k, 3bb).
Four of Lowell's five losses have been by one run. Graham is hoping the momentum from the nine-run seventh carries over.
"It's just a matter of getting over the hump," he said. "We're playing better. What's really encouraging is we've yet to click on all cylinders. At some point, you know it's going to come. But we have no relief on our schedule. That was a little bit better on my ticker to have an eight-run lead going into the last half-inning."
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