Four wins in a row punches Melrose (12-10) into post season
Published in the June 2, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—Thanks to a massive late season surge the Melrose Red Raider baseball team has qualified for a post season after winning 7 of of their last 8 games and four straight contests last week. It had come down to the wire for Melrose but now it’s mission accomplished for the team, who beat Wakefield, Gloucester, Wayland and Marblehead in a matter of four days to earn the 12 victories needed to enter the Div. 2 North playoff field.
Melrose, at press time, is slated to travel to Reading on Thursday, June 1 (post deadline) to take on the 15-4 Rockets. The winner will advance to play in quarterfinals on June 5.
Wakefield proved a pivotal game for Melrose on Wednesday, May 24 at Fred Green Field. Melrose hurler John Casparriello earned the win on the mound for the Red Raiders, while teammate Mike Dreske picked up a save. Casparriello went 6 innings and had 7 strikeouts and gave up 6 hits and 3 runs.
Melrose and Wakefield were deadlocked at 0-0 going into the sixth when Liam Crovo and Connor Crovo drew walks off of Wakefield hurler John Evangelista. A Wakefield error at third scored Liam Crovo and an RBI single by Cal MacDonald scored Connor Crovo. Max Watson and John Sullivan added to the action, reaching on base and scoring MacDonald and Nick Cordeau. Adding to hits overall for Melrose were MacDonald, Watson, Sullivan, Charlie Stanton and Casparriello.
Casparriello, meanwhile, retired his first 14 batters until Wakefield’s Mike Guanci hit a double in center in the fifth. Casparriello kept the Warriors scoreless until the sixth when Brett Maloney, Nick Porter and Gaunci crossed the plate to make it a 4-3 game. He was relieved by Dreske in the sixth, who kept the Warriors hitless and scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Rockport Memorial Tournament
Melrose needed three more wins to secure a post season and earned two of those competing at the Rockport Memorial Baseball Tournament at Parisi Field in Rockport on Saturday. Melrose prevailed in a 12 inning marathon, 5-4, behind the pitching of junior Will Dolaher, who took the victory in relief and gave up no runs in 5+ innings.
Gloucester trailed 4-1 heading into the top of the seventh inning but rallied to tie it up on RBIs from Sal Costanzo and Matt Heckmann. In the bottom of the 12th inning Melrose took the 5-4 win thanks to a rally started by Rob Mele, who pinched hit for Max Watson and was advanced on a bunt by Cam MacKenzie. A hit by Charlie Stanton and walk by Will Dolaher helped load the bases and then Mike Koytikh hit the game winner – a base hit to left – to score Mele.
Hirschfeld credited Dolaher for his late game heroics. “Will stepped up for us and pitched a great game.” Offensively, Melrose delivered at the plate with the bats of Drew McGuire (2-4), Max Watson (2-4) and Charlie Stanton (2-5).
Melrose then advanced to face Marblehead (11-9) in the finals on Saturday and prevailed 7-0 at Evans Field in Rockport. Melrose’s variety of pitchers shined once more as Joe Stanton took the win when he threw a shutout in a relief appearance. Melrose’s bats were hot and backed Stanton up thanks to Nick Cordeau (2-4) Cal MacDonald (2-3) Charlie Stanton (2-3) and Jack Sullivan (1-3) who helped Melrose to combine for ten hits.
Melrose also traveled to Wayland on Friday, May 24 and took a 14-4 victory. Mike Dreske went the distance for Melrose to pick up a win and senior Nick Cordeau contributed with a solo shot home run.
According to coach Bill Hirschfeld, Melrose is playing how they should be at this point in the season. “We’re heading in the right direction. Our pitchers have come into their own and are playing with confidence. We have to keep this up because teams in our league, like Reading, are tough. We have to continue playing strong.”
Fans are encouraged to visit www.miaa.net for up to date tournament information.