Wakefield trails 1-0 in opening round of ICL playoffs
Published in the August 11, 2017 edition.
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
LEXINGTON — The Merchants and Somerville Royals kicked off the Intercity League’s postseason with a marathon game last night at Lexington High School in game one of the first round series.
It took 11 innings, two hours and 58 minutes to decide this one.
Joe Maguire pitched another phenomenal game for the Merchants as he went nine innings and struck out six while giving up only one earned run.
Maguire’s only mistake came in the first inning when Somerville’s Brian Campbell tagged a home run, giving the Royals a quick 1-0 lead. After an ensuing double and Merchants’ error, Maguire got a big strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
Maguire sat down the Royals in order in the top of the second, creating the momentum for the offense to get on the board. Chris Butler hit a double to lead-off the inning. Butler continued his hot streak at Lexington High as he picked up two hits including his first home run of the year on this same field on Tuesday in the Merchants regular season finale against the Blue Sox. Two outs later, and with Butler still on second, Ryan Collins sliced an RBI double to right, tying the game 1-1.
Maguire continued to roll and after the first, pitched four straight no-hit innings.
While Maguire was doing his thing, the Merchants offense stalled until the bottom of the sixth inning. Mike Sorrentino hit an RBI single to get on base, Butler put down a bunt to send Sorrentino to second base, and later with two outs again, Paul McGunigle roped an RBI double giving the Merchants a huge run and a great opportunity to close out game one.
The Merchants were one out away from the win after Maguire picked up two quick outs, but after a walk and a base hit, Mark Webber’s throw to third base from right field got by Collins and the Royals tied the game at two.
Wakefield couldn’t get anything going in the seventh, as the game went into extra innings. It was only just beginning.
Maguire got a huge strikeout to end the eighth with Royals runners on second and third.
The Merchants went down in order again in the eighth and once again found themselves staring down a defecit when Maguire finally began to slow down in the ninth. After a Royals’ double, Bobby Losanno made the catch of the season in center field as he dove for a fast-sinking line drive. He made the catch, got up and zipped it into second base for the double play, bringing the Merchants bench to their feet.
The Merchants threatened to end it in the ninth after base hits from Dillon Koster and Joe Barry, but it wasn’t enough as Losanno flew out to end the inning.
Spencer Meyer came in to pitch for Wakefield and picked up two strikeouts in the 10th, giving the Merchants offense yet another chance to get out of Lexington with a win. Scott Searles led off with a hit, Webber flew out, Sorrentino’s single sent Searles to third base, Butler struck out, Koster was hit it by a pitch and McGunigle struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Royals finally got a run across in the top of the 11th, and tacked on two more to make sure there was finally no more doubts in this one.
In the end, it was a long and exciting although ultimatley disappointing journey for the Merchants who now find themselves down 1-0 in the opening round of the ICL playoffs.
Wakefield and Somerville will play game two tonight, 8 p.m. at Morelli Field in Melrose. If the Merchants win, the decisive game three will take place on Sunday, 3 p.m. at Walsh Field.