Baseball 2024

THE WAKEFIELD baseball seniors and their families were honored before the team’s 5-4, walk-off win over Wilmington on Friday at Walsh Field. Pictured with their families from left to right are seniors Jack Stromski, Joe LaMonica, Frank Leone, Tylor Roycroft and Steven Woish. (Courtesy Photo)

Wakefield wins second straight Freedom Division title 


WAKEFIELD — Last Friday afternoon was Senior Day for Tylor Roycroft, Steven Woish, Frank Leone, Jack Stromski and Joe LaMonica, attracting many friends, family and Wakefield baseball fans who were treated to a walk-off win by the Warriors. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Warriors beat the Wilmington Wildcats 5-4.

Before the game started, a ceremony was held to honor the seniors, during which, teammates stood on the third base line and applauded as each senior walked out of the dugout to meet his family and take a picture.

A special moment came when Little League player, Tyler Fabiano, who had thrown a perfect game with 16 strikeouts two nights before, came onto the field to join Woish, who had done the exact same thing six years ago for his Little League team.

Additional Little League players and families were there to watch the festivities and game, making it a nice event for the Wakefield community. Banners for each senior hung behind home plate along with poster boards showing the seniors’ Little League days and current action shots. Balloons and other decorations made the scene festive, and just prior to the game starting, the National Anthem was sung by two students from the high school while Fabiano held the flag.

About the seniors, coach Kevin Canty said, “Overall, these seniors have been through a lot of baseball with me over the last three seasons. Tylor, Steve, Jack and Frank have really elevated their game since their sophomore year, all becoming impact players who have really brought us back to where we want to be. Their leadership has been outstanding this year and with the addition of Joe to the mix, it’s been a very fun team to coach.”

The game started out in Wakefield’s favor, as starting pitcher, Jack Pennacchia, sat the Wildcats down in the top of the 1st inning, and Wakefield got on the scoreboard early in the bottom of the 1st. Andrew Nemec hit a single, and, when Charles Gagne came in to pinch run for Nemec, he stole a base to advance to second. Next up was Aidan Bligh, who reached base with a walk. Roycroft then knocked in the first run with a single, scoring Gagne from second.

Wilmington responded with two runs in the top of the 2nd off three hits. Wakefield kept their offense going too in the 2nd. Nik Dhingra began the inning by slamming a double to deep center field. This was followed by a single from Cam DePrizio, who stole second base to put two runners in scoring position. Woish walked to load the bases, then Nemec scored Dhingra on a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.

Wilmington responded yet again in the top of the 3rd with a lead-off double. After that player stole third, he was able to score on a fielder’s choice. Wakefield wasn’t able to put anything together in the 3rd or 4th but they also put Wilmington away with no runs in the 4th.

The scoring returned in the 5th inning with another double from Wilmington. This runner scored on a sacrifice fly after he had stolen third base. Stromski then entered the game to relieve Pennacchia and finished out the inning without allowing any runs.

With the score 4-2 in favor of Wilmington, Wakefield was looking to get some hits in the bottom of the 6th inning and get back in the game. Roycroft reached first and soon stole second base to start off the inning. Jayvith Chea walked and Leone secured an infield single to load the bases. Two outs were made by the Wilmington defense, so it was down to Charles Gagne who worked a full count. With the full count and two outs, the runners took off, and Gagne hit a single up the middle that scored Roycroft and Chea to tie the game. Fans, coaches and players cheered now that the Warriors had a chance.

Wakefield was looking to shut out Wilmington in the top of the 7th inning and that’s exactly what they did. Wilmington runners reached first and second on a single and a walk. With one out, a ground ball was hit to third baseman Bligh, who stepped on the bag and threw to first for a clutch, double play.

Roycroft and Pennacchia started off the bottom of the 7th hot with two singles, looking to prevent another extra inning game for the Warriors. Chea stepped up to the plate with a chance to win the game. He hit a ground ball to the shortstop, who was forced to make a play to keep the game going, but his throw in the dirt got by the Wilmington first baseman and allowed Roycroft to score and start the walk-off celebration.

“This Senior Day game was one of our better performances of the year against a very talented Wilmington pitcher,” coach Canty commented on the win. “I thought the team put together very strong at bats, especially when we saw him the second and third time through the lineup. We forced him to throw a lot of pitches in the 5th and 6th innings that allowed us to get into hitters’ counts and tie it up. Once he was out, I felt like we held the advantage with ‘Strom’ on the mound, and our hitters against their reliever.”
The next day, the Warriors beat Stoneham 13-3 and captured the Freedom Division title for the second consecutive season. They rolled past Northeast Metro Tech 11-1 yesterday for their 4th straight win and 12th victory in their last 13 games. 

A Memorial Day weekend tournament will close out the regular season for the Warriors. They will play Peabody on Saturday at 4 p.m. and one more opponent on Sunday. Wakefield will then get to work on preparing for the Div. 3 state tournament. They were ranked No. 7 in the latest rankings that were published yesterday.