Kelley throws gem; Morrisey delivers a walk-off

Published May 17, 2019


MELROSE—The Red Raider baseball team picked up two critical wins last week to improve their record to 6-5 and increase their chances of clinching a postseason nod this spring. As Melrose approaches the last stretch of the season, they no doubt know there are no days off, and returning to another postseason means they will need to win at least half of their next 8 games. Fortunately, there’s lots of baseball left and right now the Red Raiders are firing on all cylinders. Bats have come alive, helping Melrose clinch two close victories against Middlesex Large opponents Reading and Winchester, including a thrilling 9 inning walk-off victory.

Melrose began their winning streak on May 8 when they prevailed in a 3-2 victory over Reading. Senior captain Harry Kelley took the win on the mound in 5 and a third innings and senior Dillon Kaliris picked up the save in relief. Red Raiders Zach Maguire, Pat Coen, and Matt Morrisey all drove in runs against a competitive Rocket squad. 

HARRY KELLEY had 8 strikeouts against Reading in Melrose’s 3-2 victory over the Rockets. (Donna Larsson photo)

“Reading is always a good team,” says Melrose coach Scott Searles. “They are probably down a little bit this year as far as pitching goes. No matter what, those guys can usually swing it, and this year is no different.”

So limiting Reading to two runs was a feat for Melrose. Kelley, with 8 strikeouts on the mound, set the tone. “Harry pitched excellent,” says Searles. “He was in deep counts but man did he battle and come out on top each time. He did a great job at limiting those guys all day. Offensively, it was a team effort.”

Melrose bats have been hot, which is just the way it should be. “Everyone is contributing,” says the coach. “Liam [Crovo] and Harry have been great. Harry has really been driving the ball hitting with power. The scariest part is, I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. We have been working on some swing specific stuff that I think could make him an even bigger nightmare for opposing pitchers. Cam Gorman get his money’s worth. I love how he competes in big situations. The same could be said for Cole Lepler. He has been an unexpected surprise coming out of the shoot. One thing that I really liked seeing was how well Matty Mo [Morrisey] has been hitting over the last two games.”

Fueled by the win, just one day later Melrose followed that win up with their most satisfying victory of the year in a 9 inning showdown against Winchester at Morelli Field. Melrose prevailed 8-7 in 9 innings thanks to a walk-off single by Matt Morrisey (2-4) who scored both the tying and winning run over the day. It was an offensive onslaught by Melrose, lead by Liam Crovo (3 hits) Harry Kelley (2 hits) and Cam Gorman (2 hits). 

Brandon McSorley got the nod and pitched solidly for Melrose, with 3 of the 5 Reading runs unearned. “He pitched well,” says Searles. “Brandon had to work way too hard to pitch his way out of some jams that were created by fielding mistakes. We really need to clean that up a bit so our guys can conserve some pitches and be more efficient.” 

Melrose overcame a 5-3 deficit in the 5th when Cole Lepler drove in Crovo and Kelley (who both reached on singles) to tie the game up. In the sixth, Reading would score again to take a 6-5 lead. But in the 7th Melrose tied it up again when Cam Gorman hit a double and was next knocked in by Matt Morrisey’s double to make it a 6-6 game.  

Pitcher Colby Moss had taken the mound in the 5th for Melrose. “He really worked hard and kept us in it,” said Searles. “He gave us a chance and that all you can really ask of a kid. Colby was put in a tough spot being asked to go 4-5 innings. He really battled and kept us in there. By the 9th I could see he was really getting fatigued. Dillon Kaliris came in to shut it down, pitching on back to back days. He’s been phenomenal out of the pen. It might not be the role he envisioned, but it’s the one piece we really needed, someone to step in, and without Dillon, some of these games would have definitely taken a different turn. He’s been what the team needed in that role he’s been great.”

After Reading scored in the top of the 9th, Melrose ended it at the bottom. Harry Kelley advanced to first after being hit by a pitch and Cam Gorman beat out a beautiful bunt he laid down to advance Kelley. Kelley then scored on a Rocket throwing error that advanced Gorman to third. Tied at 7-7, Melrose would look to Morrisey to come up big again and he did, driving in Gorman with a hit to the outfield for the 8-7 victory, prompting the team to celebrate onfield after a marathon effort. 

Melrose faces some Freedom league action this week. They began a game with Wilmington on Monday that was called for rain and will resume at a later date. And on Wednesday (post-deadline) Melrose will get another crack against a competitive Stoneham squad, whom they previously beat earlier in the season.