Warriors push across winning run in ninth inning in 3-2 victory
Published in the April 20, 2017 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
ARLINGTON — The Wakefield Memorial High baseball team certainly had its chances, but it wasn’t until the ninth inning that the Warriors capitalized on one of their opportunities in a 3-2 triumph over Arlington yesterday at Spy Pond Field.
The Warriors, who are 2-0 on the season, trailed 2-0 until the fifth inning when they tallied their first run. Wakefield tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh and had several chances to take the lead.
However it wasn’t until two were out in the top of the ninth that Wakefield pushed across what turned out to be the winning run.
Mike Guanci, a senior captain, tapped a grounder to third base and reached safely on a throwing error by Spy Ponder third baseman Jeff MacDonald. On ball four to senior Brett Maloney, Guanci scored on a wild pitch. Guanci hesitated coming down the line and that may have resulted in relief pitcher Jay Masol being slow to cover the plate.
Ben Coccoluto, a senior, was hit by a pitch. Then pinch-runner Kyle Grossi and Coccoluto stole second and third. Brendan Coughlin, a junior walked to load the bases. But a pop up to first base resulted in Wakefield not adding to its advantage.
Arlington then mounted a threat in the bottom of the ninth as Tom O’Rourke and Jack Kelley drew one out walks from junior left-hander Robert Shaw. Maloney relieved Shaw on the rubber and fanned the first batter he faced. Then a grounder to shortstop appeared like it was going to end the game. But Kelly beat senior captain Tim Hurley to the bag. But Hurley was alert enough to see that O’Rourke had rounded third and was trying to score. Hurley fired a strike to Coughlin who tagged the Arlington base runner out to end the contest.
“That was a nice win,” said coach Keith Forbes. “This is what kind of team we are. We’re going to have to grind games out and just keep working hard. We want to play good defense, which we did, and our pitchers threw strikes.”
John Evangelista, a senior right-hander, hurled the first five innings giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out four and walking three.
Shaw pitched three and a third innings and earned the victory in relief. The southpaw gave up no runs on three hits while walking two and striking out one.
Maloney earned the save going two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout.
“John Evangelista struggled a little in the first inning, but got stronger as the game went on. We took him out after pitching into the low 80s to see what Shaw could do,” said Forbes. “This was his first time pitching for the varsity and he got his first win. Brett Maloney came in and got the save.”
Wakefield collected nine hits with Maloney and junior Tyler Pugsley getting two hits apiece. Pugsley also scored one of the three Wakefield runs.
Hurley, senior Will Shea, Guanci, Ben Coccoluto, and senior TJ Sellers each had one hit.
Arlington took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first inning. Kelly drew a leadoff walk and scored a double down the right field line by John Pigott. Pigott advanced to third base on a wild pitch and Kevin Oullette walked. But Evangelista struck out two batters and induced a grounder to third base for the final out.
The Spy Ponders added another run in the last of the third inning. Kelly walked, but was forced at second base on a grounder to shortstop. Peter Scheschareg reached an error at third base by Guanci to put runners at the corners. After a strikeout, an infield hit to Evangelista on the third base side of the pitcher’s mound brought in Pigott to make it 2-0.
Meanwhile, Wakefield had four hits over the first four innings against Pigott, Arlington’s starting pitcher. Coccoluto had a two out single to left field in the second, Pugsley reached on an infield hit to shortstop in the third, and both Guanci and Maloney singled to left field and right-center field with one out in the fourth inning. Guanci even went to third on a wild pitch.
It wasn’t until the fifth that Wakefield got on the scoreboard with a run. With one out, Pugsley reached on infield dribbler to third base and reached third base on a two-base error by the first baseman, Scheschareg. A grounder to short by Hurley brought in Pugsley to make it a 2-1 game.
Shea also singled to center field in the fifth, but was picked off first base as he was caught leaning toward second.
The Warriors mounted a two out threat in the top of the sixth inning. Maloney singled to center field and Coccoluto reached on an error by Dara Conneely at shortstop. A strikeout, however, ended the half inning.
Wakefield pushed across the tying run in the top of the seventh, but also had a chance for more.
Sellers reached on an error by Anthony Santosuosso at second base. Sellers stole second base, but a strikeout resulted in the first out of the inning. Hurley reached on slow roller to shortstop to put runners at the corners. Hurley took off for second, but catcher Zach Goodhue made an errant throw which hit Sellers and rolled into left field. Sellers scored the tying run to make it 2-2.
After a hard hit grounder to shortstop for the second out, both Jake Nardone and Guanci were intentionally walked to load the basses. But a strikeout ended the half inning.
That was it for Pigott who hurled seven innings for the Spy Ponders giving up two runs (both unearned) on eight hits while striking out eight and walking two.
Arlington which had a pair of base hits by Scheschareg in the fifth and MacDonald in the sixth, did get the potential winning run on base in the last of the seventh. With one out, Kelly singled to left field. But two fly ball outs resulted in the contest going into extra frames.
Wakefield, which left a total of 14 runners stranded for the game, had a runner in scoring position in the top of the eighth. Coughlin drew a one out walk, but was picked off first base for the second out. Sellers then reached on an infield hit to shortstop and stole second base. Pugsley walked, but a fly ball to right field resulted in the third out.
Arlington had a terrific chance to plate the game-winner in the last of the eighth inning. Conneely led off the frame with a well struck single to left field. Conneely then stole second. A fly ball to center resulted in the first out. The Spy Ponder base runner moved up to third base on a grounder shortstop. But a ground ball to third base ended the frame as the score remained deadlocked at 2-2.
That was until the ninth when Wakefield plated the go ahead run and held on to win the contest.
“We have to grind out games and get some timely hits,” said Forbes. “We were aggressive on the base paths,” said Forbes. “It’s still high school baseball and you have to force the other team to make the plays. They made some errors and we were able to take advantage to go to 2-0.”
Wakefield played Stoneham this morning and will face Lexington on Saturday at Walsh Field. The time of the game has been changed to a 12 p.m. start.