DUXBURY — Make it four.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Whitman-Hanson Regional High baseball team is headed to the playoffs.
Powered by 6 2/3 frames of shutout ball from senior captain Rian Schwede and a timely run in the top of the seventh inning, the Panthers bested Duxbury, 1-0, clinching their spot in the Div. 2 South tournament.
“This was a big win,” said W-H skipper Pat Cronin. “Schwede does not throw a bad game. He’s as tough as nails.”
Schwede was locked in a pitchers’ duel with his former AAU teammate, Duxbury southpaw Charlie Coon all afternoon.
Scoreless with no outs seventh inning, Coon got sophomore Danny Kent to strike out swinging. However, Kent reached first on a wild pitch. Classmate Thomas Marshall then bunted a single over the third baseman’s head, making it two on with no outs. Senior Aidan Cafferty joined the wild inning with his own bunt single, loading the bases with no outs. Four balls later, senior captain Ethan Phelps pushed across the one and only run.
After getting the first two outs, one which came on a diving stab by Kent at short stop in the bottom of the seventh, Schwede was lifted with the tying run on third. Marshall took care of the rest, inducing a fly ball to right.
“I went out there and he was honest with me and said, ‘I’m toast,’” Cronin said of pulling Schwede. “I knew we were going to go with Tommy Marshall — he’s money. What a great game.”
The Panthers (10-1) had their chances to strike early, with two runners on in each the first, third and sixth inning. But they were unable to capitalize against Coon, who stuck out 12.
“We were out hit away,” Cronin said. “But good pitching will stop good hitting, just like Schwede stopped them.”
Schwede, who entered with a 3-1 record and 0.82 ERA, didn’t allow a runner on base until the fourth.
Phelps provided a spark on offense with two hits and two steals.
W-H travels to North Quincy tomorrow for a league tilt at 4 p.m.