Baseball team edges Woburn in eight

TIM HURLEY, a junior, scored the winning run as the Warriors edged Woburn 1-0 in eight innings yesterday at Walsh Field to clinch a state tournament berth. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

TIM HURLEY, a junior, scored the winning run as the Warriors edged Woburn 1-0 in eight innings yesterday at Walsh Field to clinch a state tournament berth. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the May 10, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Warrior baseball team clinched a state tournament berth yesterday but that 10th victory sure didn’t come easy.

A bases loaded walk forcing across the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Wakefield prevailed over Woburn 1-0 in a scintillating pitchers’ duel at Walsh Field.

Wakefield is now 10-2 overall and 8-2 in the Middlesex League Freedom division. The Warriors are tournament bound for the second straight year, a feat that has not been accomplished in recent years if ever in the history of the program.

The game was 0-0 headed into the bottom of the eighth inning. Woburn starter Graham Bolster pitched a sensational game for seven innings, but the right-hander was relieved by Marc Gatcomb to begin the extra frame.

The righty hit junior Tim Hurley with a pitch with one out then committed a balk which advanced Hurley to second base. Senior Corey Imbriano walked and then another balk put runners on second and third. Senior Paul McGunigle, who walked four times in the contest, drew a free pass to load the bases with one out.

A called third strike resulted in the second out of the inning. Senior Andrew Auld stepped to the plate and drew the bases loaded walk which scored Hurley with the winning run.

“Bolster was excellent. He was the best pitcher we’ve seen with the way he mixed up his pitches,” said Coach Keith Forbes. “He did a nice job and kept us off balance. We had way too many strikeouts. We’ve been hitting the ball better than we did today. We need to get back to work.”

The Warriors were held to just two hits with Imbriano smashing a line drive back to Bolster which went off his glove in the fourth inning and senior Tighe Beck singling to right field in the fifth inning.

Bolster pitched seven shutout innings giving up two hits while striking out eight and walking four.

Gatcomb went two-thirds of an inning and struggled with his control giving up one run on no hits while walking three, hitting a batter and called for a balk twice.

While Woburn’s pitching was very good, Wakefield’s was even better.

Junior right-hander Ben Coccoluto went the first five and two-thirds innings giving up one hit while striking out eight and walking three.

Adam Chanley, a senior right-hander, earned the win in relief. Chanley hurled two and one-third innings giving no runs or hits while striking out four batters.

“Ben Coccoluto pitched a fantastic game,” said Forbes. “It’s too bad that we couldn’t get a win for him. Adam Chanley has been awesome in relief all season for us. He throws strikes.”

McGunigle drew a one out walk in the first inning but was thrown out trying to steal second base.

The Warriors went in order in the second and third innings. But in the fourth, Wakefield mounted its first threat of the game.

Imbriano crushed a line drive back to Bolster which went off the glove for a base hit. Imbriano then stole second and took third on the same play because of a wild pitch. McGunigle then walked and stole second with no outs. But a shallow fly ball to center field and two strikeouts resulted in the runners being left stranded.

Beck singled to right field with one out in the fifth inning. But he was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Wakefield got two runners in scoring position in the sixth inning. With one out, Imbriano walked and stole second. McGunigle walked and both runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. But an infield fly ball and a fly ball to deep center resulted in the game remaining scoreless.

The Tanners (7-6 overall, 3-6 in the M.L. Liberty division) went in order through the first three innings. In the top of the fourth, Connor Power drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. After a strikeout, Power advanced to third on a ground ball to second base. But a called a third strike resulted in the final out of the inning.

Christian Brinkley drew a one out walk in the fifth but Coccoluto had three strikeouts in the fame as no damage was done.

Woburn had its best chance to score a run in the top of the sixth inning.

Joe Reynolds broke up the no-hit bid with a single to center field. Power reached on a fielder’s choice with both runners being safe on the play. Shawn Murphy laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Coccoluto struck out the next batter then walked Nick Patti to load the bases.

Chanley came in to pitch and induced a fly ball to right field to end the threat. Chanley then retired the next six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings until Wakefield drew the bases loaded free pass in the home half of the eighth inning to walk-off with the victory.

“That gives us our 10th win and we’re in the tournament for the second year in a row,” said Forbes. “We want to finish out the regular season strong and be peaking at the right time.”

The Warriors have a makeup game against Winchester this afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at McDonald Field in Winchester.