Warriors win sixth straight, top Red Devils 6-4
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
BURLINGTON — At the end of the third inning, Warrior head coach Keith Forbes joked that the fence at Francis Wyman School Field needed to be moved back 30 feet after his left fielder, Joe Greer, made a catch on a high fly ball that nearly made it over for a home run.
Forbes probably felt a little different an inning later, especially after junior Tighe Beck smashed a two-run home run over the short porch in right field.
That roundtripper wound up being the difference as the Wakefield Memorial High baseball team held on for a 6-4 win over Burlington yesterday afternoon in a Middlesex League Freedom division contest.
Wakefield won its sixth straight game as it increased its record to 6-1 overall. The Warriors are 5-1 in the league.
The Warriors plated two runs in the third, three in the fourth and one in the sixth to take a 6-0 lead. As it turned out, Wakefield needed nearly every one of those runs as it had one bad inning in the bottom of the sixth which led to four unearned runs.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said Forbes. “We had the one bad inning. Up until then we pitched well, played good defense and had some timely hits like we have during out streak. But in the sixth, we made a couple of errors and that put the pressure on us. Burlington is a good team and they’re resilient. This is Middlesex League baseball and a bad inning can make a game close which really wasn’t that close.”
The Warriors emerged with the victory as starter Andrew Auld earned the win on the mound and reliever Joe Stackhouse made the save.
Auld, a junior right-hander went five and a third innings giving up four runs (all unearned) on three hits. Auld struck out four batters, hit two batters and walked one.
Stackhouse, who has two wins and two saves on the year, pitched the final inning and two-thirds. The senior left-hander struck out one batter and walked one batter. He also threw threw wild pitches.
“Stackhouse has two wins and two saves,” said Forbes. “He’s been a stud for us since the beginning of the season.”
Beck, in addition to his home run, led the way at the plate as he had three hits with a double and a single as well. The junior scored two runs and knocked in two runs.
The rest of the hits were by Corey Imbriano, Andrew Patti, Paul McGunigle, Greer and Shawn Smeglin.
The Warriors had several base runners over the first two innings.
In the first, Imbriano walked and stole second. Beck also drew a walk but was forced at second base for the second out of the inning. Matt Mercurio, who had reached on the fielder’s choice, moved up to second base on a wild pitch. With runners on second and third, a strikeout ended the inning.
In the second, McGunigle led off with a sharply lined base hit to center field. But the junior was thrown out trying to steal second base as Burlington starter Pat O’Halloran faced the minimum three batters.
Wakefield took 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning as it rallied with two outs. Beck doubled to the gap in right-center field and took third on a wild pitch. Anthony Cecere walked and another wild pitch brought in Beck and Cecere made it all the way to third base. Mercurio reached on an error at first base and Patti singled to left field to plate Cecere.
The Warriors gave themselves a bigger cushion in the top of the fourth inning as they pushed three runs across to take a 5-0 lead. Greer reached on a ground-rule double as the ball bounced over the fence. Smeglin singled to left field to score Greer but was thrown out trying to stretch the base hit into a double. With two outs, Imbriano dropped a single into left field and stole second base. Beck then sent a two-run shot over the right field fence.
O’Halloran pitched four complete innings for the Red Devils giving up five runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out one. The right-hander threw three wild pitches.
Pat Cassidy hurled the final three frames for the home team and gave up one run on one hit while walking five and striking out one. He also threw a wild pitch.
The Warriors had base runners in the fifth on a pair of errors at third base and fielder’s choice. But they didn’t score any runs and left two runners stranded (Wakefield stranded 11 runners in the contest).
Wakefield added a run in the top of the sixth which wound up being an insurance run as it turned out. Imbriano walked and Beck singled to left field to put runners on first and second. Beck was forced at second base as Imbriano rounded third and scored from second base while Burlington was attempting to turn an inning ending double play. Cecere, who reached on the fielder’s choice, stole second base and Mercurio walked. But a strikeout ended the inning.
Over the first five innings, Auld gave up a second inning single to O’Halloran, hit two batters, and walked a batter as the Red Devils had four base runners over those frames. The Warriors also turned a 3-6 double play.
But things certainly didn’t go Wakefield’s way in the bottom of the sixth inning as a pair of errors, two base hits, three wild pitches and a passed ball resulted in Burlington cutting the lead to 6-4.
Dan Piotti singled to right field and Drew Matzdorf reached on an error at third base. After a fly ball to right field, an error by Tim Hurley on a throw to second by Auld on a ground ball resulted in an error as Piotti scored. A passed ball allowed the two base runners to advance to second and third. An infield single to third base brought in Matzdorf. Three wild pitches brought in two more Burlington runs.
The Warriors loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning with two outs. Smeglin walked and pinch-runner Will Shea stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Hurley walked and stole second before Imbriano reached base for the fourth time as he walked to load the bases. But a ground ball to first ended the half frame.
The Red Devils went in order in the last of the seventh as the Warriors increased their winning streak to six games.
Wakefield takes on Arlington tomorrow afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at Spy Pond.