Published in the May 19, 2017 edition

THE MELROSE Red Raider baseball team fell just short to Wilmington on Tuesday, 5-3. Pictured batting is senior Nick Cordeau. (Donna Larsson photo) 

THE MELROSE Red Raider baseball team fell just short to Wilmington on Tuesday, 5-3. Pictured batting is senior Nick Cordeau. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider baseball team fought to a 5-3 loss against Wilmington on Tuesday afternoon at a sunny Morelli Field in Melrose. Despite Melrose taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Wilmington bats proved hard to stop as they pecked away at Melrose hurler Mike Muscarella, who is having an otherwise excellent season for Melrose, undefeated at 5-0 with 1.32 ERA.

With the win, Wilmington (11-2) proved why the Wildcats sit at the top of the Middlesex Freedom League. Wildcat pitcher Chris Stokes got the win and Melrose drops to  6-7 on the season. With five games left, Melrose hopes to launch a winning streak that will keep playoff hopes alive.

At the start of the first, Muscarella retired the side, and Melrose got on base when Nick Cordeau walked and advanced on a steal. However, Cordeau was left stranded on a fly out that ended the first inning.   Muscarella once again retired the side in the second, keeping it a scoreless game and Melrose got on board first at the bottom of the second when Muscarella scored a base hit off of Stokes. With Charlie Stanton at the plate, Muscarella stole both second and third. A Wilmington infield error caused Muscarella to score and gave Melrose a 1-0 lead.

Wilmington’s Stokes kicked into high gear on the mound in the third, striking out 2 of the 3 Melrose batters to retire the Red Raiders. Then Wilmington delivered at the plate, taking advantage of a walk and delivering a single that put two men on. Muscarella caught the next Wilmington batter looking on a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Another walk loaded bases and then two more scored WIlmington’s first runs of the game. Muscarella ended the inning with a strikeout and Wilmington held a 2-1 lead. Stokes retired the side in the fourth and Melrose bats fell quiet as Wilmington padded on runs in the fifth, with an RBI single, while Melrose’s Cal MacDonald prevented damage at second with an impressive play to end the inning.

Melrose bats came alive in the fifth inning with Charlie Stanton and Max Watson hitting to the outfield and advancing on wild pitches that placed men on second and third. Jack Sullivan hit a shot to center that was caught by Wilmington’s center fielder. Stanton attempted to tag but was thrown out at home after an impressive toss from the Wilmington center fielder. A fly out ended the inning and Melrose’s momentum. In the sixth Wilmington scored twice more, and Melrose added two runs in the seventh but ultimately fell short in the 5-3 loss.

At 6-7 Melrose has plenty of games on the schedule to secure a spot in post season. That includes Stoneham, whom they travel to on Friday at 3:45 p.m.

Remaining schedule

Friday, May 17  @ Stoneham 3:45

Monday, May 22  @ Malden, Pine Banks, 6:30

Wed., May 24  v. Wakefield, 3:45

Thursday, May 25 @ Gloucester, 7

Friday, May 26 @Wayland, 4

Middlesex Freedom League Standings

               League   Overall

Wilmington  9-2     11-2

Burlington   6-6      7-6

Melrose      4-5       6-7

Stoneham   2-7      3-9

Wakefield    2-8      3-8

Watertown   1-8      3-9