Adams, Rebels make statement against Delano, Wamps


Walpole’s starting pitcher made quick work of the Braintree lineup. (Photo/James Cullinane)

James Cullinane

Walpole's starting pitcher made quick work of the Braintree lineup. (Photo/James Cullinane)


Because of New England’s unfavorable weather conditions, which prohibit baseball players from taking part in year round competition, it is very seldom that a Bay State League match up contains two Division I-committed players.  However, for the Rebels and the Braintree Wamps on Thursday, April 4, to begin the bottom of the first, the stage was set for a marquee at-bat as Rebel junior shortstop and Boston College commit, Johnny Adams, stepped into the batter’s box against Braintree senior Pat Delano, who will be heading to Vanderbilt in the fall.

For Rebel fans, this at-bat was somewhat anticlimactic, ending with Adams grounding out to third base.  Seniors Captains Matt Lavanchy and Craig Hanley would be retired soon after, leaving the game scoreless entering the second.

Rebel junior Mike Gaughan, who got the nod for the Rebels on the mound, outdueled Delano in the second inning, striking out the side in order.  Unwilling to allow the Rebels to jump out in front of his squad’s struggling offense, retiring junior Cam Hanley, senior Captain Dan King, and senior left fielder Tim Sullivan in order.

The Rebels broke the game open in the third inning; following a one-two-three top of the third by Gaughan, Rebel junior first baseman Tom Farrow recorded Walpole’s first hit of the afternoon, a line drive between second and shortstop.  Delano would then strike out Rebel nine-hitter, junior Mike Rando, bringing Adams to the dish once again, this time with two outs and a runner on first.  Epitomizing Adams’s equanimity, which was largely compiled during his freshman and sophomore campaigns, both spent as the starting Rebel shortstop, the third year starter smacked a double into right center, setting the table for Lavanchy with two outs and two in scoring position.  Lavanchy delivered with a single up the middle, driving in two runs, with Adams sliding in safe in a bang-bang play at the plate.

Already leading by a score of 2-0, Craig Hanley stole the show from the Vanderbilt-bound Delano, hitting an opposite field blast over the right fielder’s head.  As the ball bounced onto the hill in right field, Hanley motored around the bases, scoring easily with his first homerun of the season.  In regards to this game changing plan, Hanley said, “I knew I got a piece of it and that I needed to score.  I just ran as hard as I could the whole way.  I was pretty tired after, but it was definitely well worth it.”  Following a walk by Hanley’s younger brother Cam, Delano worked his way out of this damaging jam, striking out senior Captain Dan King to end the inning.

With a four run lead supporting him, Gaughan walked Delano to begin the fourth, before making quick work of the next three batters.  The bottom of the fourth also proved frustrating for the Wamps, as Sullivan reached on an error before stealing second base. After a walk to Farrow, Braintree Head Coach Bill O’Connell pulled his ace; the Division I bound Delano’s inability to last over 3 1/3 against the Rebels is a testament to Walpole’s relentless offensive attack, which forced Delano to throw a lot of pitches and tagged almost every poor pitch that came out of his hand.  Against Braintree’s reliever, a crafty left, the polar opposite of Delano, Lavanchy flew out with the bases loaded, keeping the score at 4-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Rebels would expand their lead behind an errant throw by the Wamp shortstop, which allowed Cam Hanley to advance from second base to the plate.

Trailing 5-0 in the top of the sixth, Braintree was finally able to get to Gaughan, as he loaded the bases after surrendering an RBI double.  With the bases loaded and one out, Tompkins and pitching coach Chris Costello made a pitching change, replacing Gaughan with sophomore Nick Cordopatri.  The combination of Cordopatri, Craig Hanley, and King saved a run in Cordopatri’s first match up; Cordopatri induced a fairly shallow fly ball, which Hanley caught with ease before firing a missile to King behind the plate, holding the Wamp base runner at third.  Keeping his composure, Cordopatri then forced an inning-ending groundout to Lavanchy at second base.

The Rebels would add another run to their lead in the eighth inning of a past ball that allowed Sullivan to scamper in safely to the plate.  Cordopatri, in his first varsity experience, held strong for the remainder of the game, shutting down the talented Wamps lineup in impressive fashion.

Following the game, King said, “Today was definitely a big day for us.  Everytime we face Delano it’s a statement game.  We’re all glad we came out on top today, but we all know this is only the first step.  We need to play with that much intensity or the entire season to reach our goal.”

For Tompkins, King, and the remainder of the Rebel squad, they will be under pressure for the remainder of the year, as Boston Herald columnist Danny Ventura tweeted following the game: “Rebels are the team to beat in the BSC.”