Wellesley captures South baseball title
The Wellesley baseball team qualified for the Division 1 South tournament as the 13th seed with an 11-9 record.
On Sunday afternoon, the Raiders knocked off No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham, 3-1, at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton to capture program’s first sectional title in Division 1.
“We’ve been in the tournament now 11 years in a row, year one we were the 25th seed,” Wellesley coach Rob Kane said. “Seeding to us means nothing. It’s a whole new season.”
Wellesley (15-9) will meet North champion Lowell (17-7) in a state semifinal on Tuesday at Fraser Field in Lynn.
Five pitchers took the mound for Wellesley, but only three recorded outs. Sophomore Henry Weycker got the start and lasted an inning before being relieved by freshman Jay Driver, who walked two batters and was yanked.
Freshman Max Zajec made a brief appearance, but allowed two hits without recording an out before sophomores Michael Kenney and Teddy Goss combined to work the last six innings, limiting Bridgewater-Raynham (16-8) to just one run.
“We came into the game with our approach that this was going to be a committee game,” Kane said. “Whether that was going to take five, six, or seven pitchers . . . and if a guy doesn’t have it we just move on, turn the page.”
Junior John Ciolfi delivered the winning hit, breaking a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh with an RBI double to deep left center. Senior Brendan Dolan followed with a triple to extend the lead before Goss finished off B-R.
“I’ve been telling these guys that we have a chance every single game that we’re in,” Kane said. “These guys have found a way over the last three weeks of the season. We’re a completely different team than we were at the beginning of the season.”
Division 4 South
Archbishop Williams 7, Upper Cape 3 — The Bishops earned their first sectional title in 22 years, riding a strong start from freshman starter Myles McDermott along with clutch two-out hits to defeat the Rams at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
“This is like a dream,” Archbishop Williams coach Jim Dolan said. “This is unbelievable. Our kids are so close and they work so hard that they deserve everything they get.”
The Bishops (19-5) will play North champion Lowell Catholic (19-4) in a state semifinal early this week (TBA).
Two factors fueled the victory: the efficient work of freshman Myles McDermott on the mound, coupled with his team’s ability to score in two-out situations.
The 6-foot-2-inch McDermott blanked the Rams (17-8) on two hits and fanned seven over the first five innings before tiring in the sixth, when he was tagged for three runs. In his five complete frames, he threw 47 of 67 pitches for strikes.
“He’s worked hard and was in a position where we gave him the ball in the biggest game of the year,” Dolan said. “We expect him to give us a chance. If you have a chance who knows what can happen?”
Each of the Bishops’ seven runs came across the plate with two outs.
“We talk a lot about having runs with two [outs],” Dolan said. “We get in a lot of swings at the Braintree Baseball Club. We’re in the cages trying to get better knowing that if there are two outs we still have a chance.”
In the second, the Bishops plated three runs on a two-run triple by Sam Hamer and a wild pitch.
The next inning, the Archies scored three more. James Dolan doubled in a run, John Rega had a run-scoring single and he eventually came around to score on a double steal.
The Rams (17-8) scored all three of their runs in the sixth: a double by Nick Gagnon, followed by singles from Riley Thornhill and Hunter Maloney.
Division 2 South
Greater New Bedford 5, Westwood 3 — Stepping to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and the bases loaded in a 3-3 game at Braintree High, James Estrella poked a two-run single up the middle, locking up the program’s first trip to a state championship game.
Greater New Bedford (18-6) will play Danvers (20-4) in the Division 2 state final later this week.
Prior to delivering the winning hit, Estrella was 0 for 2 with a walk. He thought of his late teammate, A.J. DaSilva, who died of cancer last year. And another former Bear, Andrew McCann, who was killed in a car crash five years ago.
“No one ever gives up,” said Estrella, a senior who was sporting a “Team AJ” shirt and bracelet after the game. “Best group of guys I have ever played with.”
“When two strikes come up, I always talk to [A.J.]. Tell him to get me through this one and it happens every time. He’s with us, Andrew’s with us.”
Coach Rick Avila pulled Estrella aside before the at-bat to give one last piece of advice to his center fielder.
“[Estrella] got the A.J. Scholarship Award so I said ‘Let’s do this for him.’ So that was kind of a big moment for us.”
GNB tied the game in the fifth when Tylor Arruda provided a two-out, two-run triple. A batter earlier, Noah Rivera reached on an infield single to extend the inning.
In seven innings, Darryl Lopes scattered three hits, struck out four and walked seven.
“These kids have been great,” said Avila. “Thirteen seniors, can’t say enough. These kids battled all the way.”
Division 3 South
Dover-Sherborn 7, Norton 5 — The Raiders lost to their Tri-Valley League rival twice during the regular season. But Sunday at Braintree High, senior Ryan Sliwinski socked a two-double to close out a four-run fifth and senior Jack Scurrah struck out the final three Norton hitters in the seventh to nail down the South crown.
Advancing to the state semifinals for the first time in program history, D-S (16-8) will play North champion Austin Prep early this week.
“This team has faced one-run games all season long,” said Dover-Sherborn coach Steve Ryan. “We keep our composure and always battle until the very end. I’m so proud of these kids.”
D-S took a 6-2 lead with its four-run fifth, but Norton answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Raiders added an insurance run in the seventh before Scurrah closed it out with his his second inning of relief for starter Owen Webb. Scurrah was also 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
“It means a ton, it means a ton,” said Webb. “We got to bring back baseball to this town.”
Division 3 North
Austin Prep 8, Lynnfield 2 — On a 90-degree day in Lynn, Cougars sophomore Cameron Seguin was cool under fire, limiting the Pioneers to two runs and three hits over five innings to lead Prep to the North title.
His biggest inning was the third when Lynnfield had runners at second and third with one out and their top hitters coming to the plate in shortstop Justin Juliano and third baseman Mike Stellato. Seguin struck out Juliano and retired Stellato on a fly ball to center.
“Phenomenal,” said AP coach Steve Busby. “He’s been a horse for us, especially the second half of the year. Just really huge innings for us on three days’ rest.”
The Cougars (20-4) will play the Dover-Sherborn/Norton winner in the state final later this week.
AP had 10 hits, scored runs in each of the first five innings, and took advantage of three Lynnfield errors. Junior shortstop Logan Bravo had a home run in the first inning, and ended the game by snaring a sharp grounder and flipping it from his glove to second baseman Jonathan Gilbride for the final out.
Patrick Burke and Alex Martinez each had two hits for the Cougars, who lost to Lynnfield (21-3) in last year’s sectional semifinals and in 2015 lost in the final to St. Mary’s.
Bob Holmes reported from Lynn, Brian Mozey and Dan Shulman from Braintree, and Mike Scandura from Brockton.