Published in the July 20, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Merchants took to the diamond at Walsh Field last night looking for a statement win.

They got it.

Wakefield manager Dave Ellegood gave the ball to Joe Maguire (2-2), looking for his young starter to halt a Merchants’ four-game losing streak.

Maguire delivered with a complete game, scattering seven hits and two runs while striking out eight and walking nobody.

Maguire has arguably been the best starter for the Merchants this year, with a nod to Steve Xirinachs who has also been great. Maguire’s 2.84 ERA is the best among Wakefield’s starters, and his 26 strikeouts leads the team. Throw in the fact that Maguire has only walked 7 batters this year, and it is fair to say that he has been one of the top pitchers in the ICL.

The Merchants also swung the bats like they had something to prove. Wakefield hadn’t scored more than two runs in three games, a curious fact for a team that was leading the ICL in runs scored for the first half of the season. After the six runs from last night, the Merchants pulled back ahead of the Chiefs for second in the ICL in runs scored with 84. The Watertown Reds lead the league in that category with 93, thanks in large part to their 15-8 victory over the Melrose Americans last night.

The Trojans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st, but the Merchants tied it up in the bottom half of the inning. Scott Searles hit a double to set the table for Mark Webber.

Webber hit a towering shot to left centerfield that hit a tree just barely hanging over the fence at Walsh Field. An instant replay review might have called the Oak for fan interference, but Webber gladly took the RBI double instead.

Arlington took the lead again in the 3rd with three singles in a row to score a run. Maguire put a stop to that by striking out the next two batters to end the frame.

The Merchants offense made their statement in the bottom of the 3rd. The inning had an air of desperation surrounding a good offensive team going through a cold summer slump. Wakefield needed something to get their mojo back. Cue the ICL hits leader please.

Bobby Losanno crushed one over the left fielder’s head, and started hauling around the bases like a landscaper who just mowed over a wasp’s nest. The helmet flew off Wakefield’s leadoff man as he prepared to round second, getting a good look at the left fielder chasing the ball which was now all the way to the fence. In that moment, as he rounded the bag, and with all due respect to Ellegood calling the shots as the third base coach, Losanno made up his mind: He would score and get the team going once again. And that’s exactly how it turned out. Lossano made it home for an inside the park home run without even thinking about a slide at the plate.

Searles then reached on an error by the first baseman, stole second and was driven home by a Webber base hit up the middle. Webber ended up at third after a throw home sailed over the catcher. Webber then scored after Mike Sorrentino grounded out to third. Webber waited for the third baseman to look him back, then took off for home as the throw went to first. It was the kind of aggressive play that the Merchants needed to get back in the win column. Webber ended the game with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Maguire continued to cruise through the middle innings of the game, and the Merchants added some insurance in the 6th after a Sorrentino two-RBI double.

The 6-2 win was a complete performance in all phases of the game, and it was a much needed win for a Wakefield team looking to stay in the race at the top of the Intercity League. The Merchants jumped ahead of the reigning champion Lexington Blue Sox, and are now third behind the Reds and Andre Chiefs.

The Merchants next game is Friday night, 7:45 p.m. at Victory Field in Watertown against the Reds. After that they return to Walsh Field on Sunday to play the Andre Chiefs at 4 p.m.