Carrieri, Melrose ruins Wakefield’s perfect season

Published June 11, 2021


MELROSE—Just days after taking it on the chin from the undefeated Wakefield Warriors in a super competitive 3-2 loss, the Melrose Red Raider baseball team got revenge in an impressive 6-1 win at on Sunday at Walsh Field in Wakefield, spoiling the Warriors otherwise perfect season and improving their record to 5-5.  

Scoreless going into the third, Melrose took the lead over Wakefield (9-1) in that inning by scoring three runs and then never looked back. Melrose tacked on another run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

MELROSE SENIORS were a key part of their victory over previously unbeaten Wakefield. Pictured on Senior Day are (from left) Charlie Haggerty, capt. Mark Aylward, Luke Desmond, capt. Christian Carrieri, Liam Cohen, Mike Overlan and capt. Eric McGovern. (courtesy photo)

But it was a gem of a pitching job by senior captain Christian Carrieri, who carried the team to victory in his 7 innings of pitching. The hurler struck out 8 and gave up just two hits and 1 run. The adaptable catcher/pitcher came up big and so did his team, who is now preparing for ML Tournament play that begins this week. 

“Christian was phenomenal,” says Melrose coach Scott Searles. “He throws hard and has a really good arm. The last two times out he has really looked confident and been in control.” 

Carrieri previously started against Burlington last week and threw four, no-hit innings. “That game was getting a little out of hand and we knew we wanted to have him available for Sunday so we kept him under the pitch count we needed to,” says Searles. “That is very good Wakefield team and he went right after them and attack them from the first pitch.”

The win was a major morale booster for Melrose, who was stinging from their previous loss to Wakefield. That game on June 4 was Melrose’s most competitive game of the season. Melrose pitcher Ronan Donahue tossed a gem with 7 strikeouts and just three hits allowed. But an out of the park homer by Wakefield’s Mike Ianuzzi in the first put the Warriors up 3-0 early. While the Warriors wouldn’t score again, Melrose would chip away in the 4th inning behind hits from Christian Carrieri (2-2), Eric McGovern, Liam Coen, and Ronan Smith. Melrose nearly tied it up in the bottom of the seventh after a sac bunt and sac fly by Mark Aylward and Gavin Donahue but fell just shy in a 3-2 final. 

It hurt, yes. But it prepared them for the victory on Sunday. “This win gives the guys some confidence knowing that they are on that level and can compete when we execute our game plan,” says Searles. “After the game, we just tried to stress to our guys the importance of getting going right out of the shoot instead of waiting so late into the game.” 

Melrose will now compete in the ML tournament before embarking in the Div. 2 North playoffs slated to begin next Friday. 

“We’re coming together at the right time,” says Searles. “The guys are really starting to put together some good at bats and some good team at bats. The defense has been phenomenal all year and I’d put our defense up against any other team.”

He has much faith in starting pitchers Ronan Donahue and Christian Carrieri and with good reason. “If those guys throw their game and execute, we are in a really good place going forward and heading into the tournament,” says Searles. 

In the meantime, the team will tweak some things in order to prepare for high level competition. Says the coach, “The main thing we want to see them do over the next week is clean up some of the mental mistakes. A couple of missed signs, not executing on a bunt here or there, making sure we know where our play is when we come up with the ball. These guys have been working very hard and have really improved over the last two weeks.”

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