Baseball Starts Season On Right Foot

Walpole+infielder+makes+contact+against+Natick.+

Walpole infielder makes contact against Natick.

Peter Hoegler

Walpole infielder makes contact against Natick.
Walpole infielder makes contact against Natick.

 

Despite the frigid weather, the entire lineup for the Walpole High’s Baseball team was on fire against Natick on April 2. Walpole — led by the formidable senior Captains of Johnny Adams and Cam Hanley — scored in every inning Tuesday afternoon to defeat the Natick Red & Blue 14-3 to open the year in a mercy-rule shortened seven innings. The Rebels racked up 15 hits and a strong six innings from Rollins College (Fl.) committ Mike Gaughan who could be considered one of the most dominating pitchers in the Bay State League.  Although the game had originally been scheduled to be in Walpole and was moved because of better field conditions in Natick, Walpole felt comfortable in the unexpected setting and truly made a loud statement to the rest of the conference.

Both the Rebels and the Red & Blue had sloppy starts to begin the game, and after three innings, the score was tied at 3-3. But in the fourth inning, the tide turned in favor for Walpole as Adams roped a double 320 feet that two-hopped the wall to bring in senior Mike Rando to take the lead 4-3; after that, Walpole never looked back. Hanley followed with an RBI single back through the middle, plating Adams.

In the top of the sixth, Adams and Hanley continued to kill the ball into outfield, reeling in a total of three RBI. Senior Rick Ordway also contributed two hits and a RBI in the lader half of the game, scoring junior James Smith who started at DH for the Rebels on Tuesday.

“Hopefully, we can continue the success at the plate for the entire season,” said Adams. “But each day we are going to face a different pitcher, so we have to prove ourselves day in and day out. Tuesday we got timely hits by people up and down the lineup, couple good two-out hits, and we’re hoping it’s going to continue, but it’s day-by-day.”

On the mound, Gaughan settled down nicely after allowing three runs in the first three innings. From the fourth inning on, Gaughan was virtually hitlessmowing down Red & Blue hitters with ease and finishing with 12 strikeouts. On Tuesday afternoon, Mike was especially proficient with his curveball that froze Natick’s best hitter Brian Dunlap. Despite the fast that the temperature was in the low 40s, Gaughan was still able to get a solid a good grip on the ball and utilize his breaking ball effectively.

Out of the bullpen, junior Nick Cordopatri, who has assumed the role of closer on the team, came in for Gaughan. Tompkins said junior Jimmy Smith and senior Tom Farrow figure to have spots in the rotation, and there is a comfort level of giving a few others a chance to get some meaningful outs over the course of the season.

“I truly feel that pitching is one of our strengths,” said Adams. “I feel confident that our pitchers will keep us in the game every time.”

Many people believe, however, that the true strength for the Rebels this season is their corner infielders: Adams and Hanley. Bother seniors have commited to Division 1 baseball programs: Adams, BC; Hanley, Northeastern. Tompkins is counting on these athletes to lead the Rebels to a Bay State Championship and even a run in the State Tournament.

After Walpole Baseball’s 2012 campaign ended abruptly and disappointingly in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 Tournament, the boys are looking to take out last year’s postseason frustrations on opposing pitching.Thuesday’s dominating win against Natick has set a precedent for the remainder of the season as the Rebels are capable of mercy-ruling teams on any given afternoon. With the pitching, power, and leadership the Rebels have this year, Walpole Baseball could have another exciting season.