Warriors edge Woburn in thriller, 7-6

JAKE NARDONE, a junior, had a double and scored a run in Wakefield’s 7-6 victory over Woburn yesterday afternoon. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

JAKE NARDONE, a junior, had a double and scored a run in Wakefield’s 7-6 victory over Woburn yesterday afternoon. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the May 9, 2017 edition.


WOBURN — Entering yesterday’s game at Woburn High School, the Wakefield Memorial High and Woburn High baseball teams had pretty similar records and that is exactly how the Middlesex League crossover game played out.

In a back-and-forth contest, the Warriors plated a run in the top of the seventh which wound up being the difference in a 7-6 victory over the Tanners.

Wakefield increased its record to 5-6 overall and 4-6 in the M.L. Freedom division, while the Tanners fell to 5-6 overall and 3-6 in the league.

The Warriors jumped out quickly against the Tanners taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning. But Woburn came back with a run in the second and then tallied three runs in the third to take a 4-3 advantage. Wakefield answered with three runs in the fourth only to see Woburn rally to tie the game at 6-6 in the fifth inning.

The game remained deadlocked at 6-all headed into the seventh inning. That’s when the Warriors came through with the go ahead and eventual winning run.

With one out, senior captain Mike Guanci (two hits) doubled to right field as the wind carried the ball out of the reach of the Tanner right fielder. T.J. Sellers, a senior, recorded his third hit of the game and knocked in his second run with an RBI single up the middle against Tanner reliever Kevin Vasapolli.

Sellers then stole second base. After two were out, senior John Evangelista put in a terrific at bat, fouling off many pitches, before drawing a walk. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, but Wakefield was unable to add an insurance run or two as a pop up to shortstop ended the frame.

Vasapolli singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Woburn’s coach then called for a hit-and-run. But Shawn Murphy tapped a grounder right to shortstop Tim Hurley who easily stepped on second base and fired a perfect throw to first base for a 6-3 double play. Christian Brinkley had a two out base hit to right field, but relief pitcher Brett Maloney induced a grounder back to himself to end the game.

“That was a very important win for us,” said coach Keith Forbes. “Woburn was close to us in record and it was an even matchup. This is the best game we’ve played with adversity this season.”

Maloney earned the win in relief as the right-hander pitched two innings giving up no runs on two hits.

Ben Coccoluto, a senior righty, started the game and hurled four and a third-innings giving up six runs on six hits while walking five batters and striking out one.

Junior left-hander Pat Roche pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief giving up one hit.

Meanwhile, Woburn starter Dan Haverty pitched six innings for the Tanners. The right-hander gave up six runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking two. He also threw two wild pitches.

Sellers led the way with three hits while Guanci had two hits. Senior Tim Hurley, junior Jake Nardone, junior Brendan Coughlin, Maloney, senior Will Shea, and Evangelista each had a hit as Wakefield banged out 11 hits total.

The Warriors scored three runs in the first inning. Hurley lined a single to right field and Nardone doubled to right field to put runners on second and third. Coughlin delivered with a base hit to right-center field plating both Hurley and Nardone. Coughlin stole second and came home on a RBI single to right field by Guanci.

The Tanners got on the scoreboard in the home half of the second inning. Darren Sanderson singled to left field. Two outs later, Sanderson scored from third base on a two out base hit to left field by Bryan Govostes.

Woburn rallied for three runs in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead.

Dyllan Koster singled up the middle and stole second base. Koster took third on a fly ball, but eventually was picked off the bag for the second out. Murphy walked and stole second and Brinkley walked as well. Sanderson lifted a fly ball to right field which was misplayed into an RBI double as Murphy crossed the plate. Nick D’Antuno then blooped a two-run single into right-center field as two more runs scored.

“We had a tough inning and I lit into them said ‘Guys, it’s time to compete,’” said Forbes. “We came back with three runs the next inning which was big. Woburn came back to tie the game at 6-6, but we were able to get the job done.”

The Warriors sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the fourth inning and tallied three runs to regain the lead, 6-4.

Maloney singled into right field and took second on a wild pitch. After a ground ball out to third, Sellers laced a base hit to right field to plate Maloney. Shea then tapped a single into field and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Evangelista tapped a grounder to second base as the throw went to the plate. But the throw was low and Sellers scored as runners were on second and third. With two outs, Nardone and Coughlin drew back-to-back walks forcing in another run.

The Tanners pushed two runs across in the fifth inning to tie the game at 6-6. Vasapolli singled to right field, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a grounder to shortstop. Brinkley walked and stole second before Sanderson walked. With two outs, Graham Bolster laced a base hit to left field as pinch-runner Jesse Stocker slid in safely at the plate.

Wakefield had an answer in the final inning as it is halfway to clinching a state tournament berth. The Warriors have three more games this week and would like get at least two if not three more victories to get closer to a postseason spot. First up is Stoneham tomorrow afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at Walsh Field.