Wins keep 5-2 Melrose at top of league
Published in the April 29, 2016 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider baseball team is off to a flying start this season with five wins under their belt, currently sitting tied at the top of the Middlesex Freedom league with Wakefield (5-2). To date, Melrose has compiled wins against Lexington, Arlington, Wayland and Wilmington to remain a contender for a league title this spring.
According to Melrose coach Bill Hirschfeld, a blend of defense and pitching has been key in limiting opponents. “Our pitching has been solid, they have really stepped up,” he confirms. In fact, Melrose has only given up 10 runs in 6 games, which includes two shutouts thrown against Arlington and Lexington. Around the horn, Melrose’s defense has strongly held the fort. Melrose has seen Matt Cornelius and Justin McCarthy behind the plate in catcher, Alec Tauro at first, Cal MacDonald at second, Ryan Censullo at short, Justin Hori and Max Watson at third, Sean Connolly in left, Nick Cordeau in center and Drew McGuire in right. “Our pitchers are fortunate to have a good field behind them, they have cut down errors, made our pitchers’ jobs easier,” says their coach.
At the plate Melrose’s bats have delivered in some key wins, including a 14-4 thrashing over Wayland on April 23. Melrose bounced back from a 4-3 deficit for a late game rally behind the batting of Drew McGuire (3-4), Alec Tauro (3-4) and Nick Cordeau (3-4). The trio are frequently batting top of the order these days, along with Max Watson and Sean Connolly.
Prior to this victory Melrose shutout Lexington 1-0 on April 20 thanks to the pitching of senior Justin McCarthy who threw a three-hit complete game shutout, striking out six for Melrose. A third inning hit-fest by Melrose’s Drew McGuire and Nick Cordeau helped Melrose earn the one run they needed to seal a victory. “McCarthy’s been solid,” said Hirschfeld of his hurler. “He’s pitching nicely.”
Melrose pitcher John Casparriello has also been tough on the mound, throwing a complete game victory against Wilmington, 4-2, which included 6Ks and a scattering of three hits. Both Casparriello and McCarthy have two wins to the season and senior hurler Evan Darwin has one. In their game against the Wildcats, Melrose batters Ryan Censullo (2-4), Alec Tauro and Nick Cordeau (2-4) did the job at the plate for Melrose to edge their rivals in the 4-2 win.
A minor blip on the radar came on Monday, April 25 when the team fell in a heartbreaker to Burlington, 1-0, when Red Devil’s Shane O’Halloran hit the go-ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth. Burlington pitcher Evan Camilleri allowed just four hits to give the Red Devils (4-2) a victory. Despite the loss, Melrose remains above Burlington in Middlesex Freedom standings at 5-2.
This will be a telling week for Raider baseball with critical league games on the horizon, including a key match up against Wakefield (tied at the top with Melrose at 5-2) on Wednesday, April 27 (post deadline). On Friday afternoon Melrose will host another key league rival, Watertown, who are a solid 4-1. It’s the perfect opportunity for fans to see the team in action.
“This will be a telling week,” says their coach. The contest against Watertown begins at 3:45 p.m. at Morelli Field in Melrose.