Gloucester baseball claims outright NEC North crown, beats Swampscott

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photoJake MacKillop had a pair of hits in a win over Swampscott on Wednesday night.

SWAMPSCOTT-- The Gloucester baseball team received some big news before it even took the field on Wednesday night at Swampscott. 

With a Peabody win over Saugus earlier in the afternoon, Gloucester clinched the Northeastern Conference North championship outright, its first conference title since 2014.

The news, however, didn't stop Gloucester from turning in another strong performance on the field as it rode a complete game from Zach Abbott and timely hitting to win, 6-1, sweeping the season series from the Big Blue.

The Fishermen, who improve to 13-3 with the win, jumped out to a 1-0 lead before Swampscott even got up to bat with a Daylon Lark sacrifice fly scoring Marcus Montagnino, who singled.

Jake Lucido extended that lead to 3-0 in the second when he singled in Jake MacKillop, who doubled, and E.J. Field, who singled. 

Dylan January followed with a solo shot to put Swampscott on the board, but Abbott would not give up another run as he fanned nine, scattered five hits and walked just one in the complete game.

The sophomore righty got into a big jam in the fourth as the Big Blue loaded the bases with nobody out on a single, a walk and a mishandled bunt. But Abbott started a 1-2-5 double-play and then induced a pop up to get out of the jam unscathed. He cruised through the final three innings.

A Marcus Montagnino two-run homer and an Abbott sacrifice fly scoring Matt Montagnino (walk) extended the lead to 6-1 in the seventh.

MacKillop, Field and Marcus Montagnino all had two hits to lead the Gloucester bats.

The Fishermen have four games remaining in the regular season and wrap up their NEC schedule on Friday at home against Winthrop (3 p.m.). The team then has a home and home series with Melrose over the weekend with a home game on Saturday (4 p.m.) and a road game on Sunday (4 p.m.) before finishing up the regular season next Saturday at Dracut.