Warriors rally in sixth for 5-3 triumph over Watertown
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — For the Warrior baseball team, its offense came alive late. But as the old saying goes, it was better late than never.
Wakefield rallied from a 3-1 deficit with a four-run sixth inning as it posted a 5-3 triumph over Watertown yesterday at Walsh Field.
The Warriors are now 8-3 overall and 7-3 in the Middlesex League Freedom division.
Wakefield had just two hits prior to the bottom of the sixth when it snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a four-run rally.
Tighe Beck led off the sixth with a single to right-center field and stole second base. Matt Mercurio walked and Beck advanced to third base on a wild pitch on ball four to put runners at the corners. Anthony Cecere smashed a triple to right field to score Beck and pinch-runner Zach Kane all the way from first base.
The Red Raiders changed pitchers after that but Andrew Patti singled to left field to plate Cecere to give Wakefield a 4-3 lead. Patti stole second base and took third on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Andrew Auld lifted a sacrifice fly ball to center field as Patti tagged up and scored an insurance run.
Watertown mounted a threat in the top of the seventh but reliever Mike Guanci worked his way out of the jam and earned his fourth victory of the season. This one was the first that came in a relief appearance.
Guanci pitched two innings giving up one hit while striking out two and walking one.
Alex Martinos doubled down the left field line with one out in the top of the seventh inning. Brendan Berkeley was then hit by a pitch. On a ground ball to shortstop, Martinos was called out for runner’s interference for the second out of the inning. A fly ball to right field ended the game.
“We were sleepwalking through the game until the sixth inning,” said Coach Keith Forbes. “Watertown is a good team. I would have like to have seen us more focused. In the sixth inning we put it together. We weren’t having quality at bats. We were swinging at bad pitches.”
Before the sixth, Wakefield had just two hits with Mercurio singling home a run in the first inning and Tim Hurley reaching on an infield single to second in the second inning.
Shawn Smeglin started the game for the Warriors and pitched five complete frames. The senior right-hander gave up three runs on five hits while striking out four and walking two. He threw two wild pitches as well.
“I thought Shawn did a nice job after the first inning and pitched well for us,” said Forbes.
The Red Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Berkeley walked. After a fly ball out, Andy Massarotti singled to left field to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch allowed the runners to move up a base. Kyle Foley walked to load the bases. A ground ball to first base brought in Berkeley before a strikeout ended the inning.
Wakefield got the run back in the bottom half of the first inning. Corey Imbriano walked and stole second. After two strikeouts, Mercurio came up with a clutch base hit with a single to left field to plate Imbriano.
Hurley singled to second base in the second with two outs and Neil Fitzgerald walked in the second. But a clutch hit eluded the Warriors that inning.
Mike Caraglia reached on an error and stole second in the third. But Watertown starter, Foley, retired three straight batters as the game remained tied 1-1. Those were the only base runners Wakefield had until the last of the sixth.
Foley pitched three and third innings giving up one run on two hits. The left-hander struck out five and walked two.
Massarotti pitched an inning and two-thirds of relief. He gave up three runs on two hits while striking out one and walking one. He also threw a wild pitch. The righty cruised until he ran into trouble in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Watertown, which had one hitter reach on an infield single in the fourth inning, wasn’t doing much offensively either after the first inning. That changed in the fifth when the Red Raiders strung three hits together and pushed two runs across to take a 3-1 lead.
Steve Mey singled to right field. Martinos tried to move the runner up with a bunt but was called out on the bunt attempt as the ball hit the bat a second time while he was in the batter’s box. Berkeley singled to left field and took second on the throw to third base. Massarotti found the hole between shortstop and third base as he sent a two-run single by the glove of Andrew Patti as Mey and Berkeley scored.
The lead stayed at 3-1 until the last of the sixth inning when Wakefield rallied.
“They sensed the urgency,” said Forbes. “We’re 8-3 now but there is no rest with games against Stoneham and Reading. We got a win against a good Watertown team and it’s a league win. We’ll build on that.”
The Warriors host Stoneham on Friday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at Walsh Field before playing a makeup game against Reading on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Morton Field.