Adams Delivers Walk Off Against Norwood

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Senior Outfielder slides into home safely for a grand slam.

Peter Hoegler

Senior Outfielder slides into home safely for a grand slam.
Senior outfielder slides into home safely for a grand slam.

The much anticipated Walpole-Norwood clash had everything an animated fan could have wanted: a grand slam, a nine-run comeback, and even a grille-out led by Walpole’s own William Bolster. The only thing that had not happened over the first three hours of this latest rivalry game was Rebels’ senior Captain Johnny Adams getting a hit.

However, in the final inning on Friday April 26, with the score tied at 10, the long overdue Boston College-signee shot a 1-2 curveball through the middle, plating senior Mike Rando to give the Walpole Rebels a thrilling 11-10 victory over their arch-rival Norwood Mustangs at Eldracher Field.

“I had really been struggling to get the bat on the ball,” said Adams. “But, I try to stay confident in my swing every time I go up to bat. I just made the most out of the situation.”

The Rebels, now winners of nine straight games, are alone at the top of the Herget Division and have clinched a tournament berth after defeating Needham 13-0 (Final/ 7). Arch-Rival Norwood falls back to 5-3 on the season and is now a longshot to claim another Herget Title.

It did not take long for Walpole to gain that 8-1 lead against starter Dan Flahive and reliever Tyler Gover. The Rebels scored three runs in the first and five in the second, highlighted by Matt Bender ripping a grand slam to left. If you have any idea of the landscape of Eldracher field, Bender’s home run reached the Walpole Softball right-fielder; the ball was absolutely crushed.

“A 1-0 fastball. I was looking for it and I got it,” said Bender, who was 2-for-5 with five RBI’s. “I was sitting on it and it was right in my wheelhouse, up.”

Nevertheless, Norwood had a big inning of its own to get right back into the game, knotting it at eight-all with a seven-run fourth inning against junior Nick Cordopatri, who made his first career start after being the closer out of the bullpen for more than a year, and  senior Brendan Donovan.

The Mustangs tied the game after Donovan threw a wild pitch that got away from senior catcher Rick Ordway. Ordway’s flip got away from Donovan, allowing Norwood’s Rourke Flynn to score.

In the sixth inning with two outs, Ordway—who was 4-4 on the day—laced a double, scoring Bender to give the Rebels a 9-8 lead. Yet, in the very next inning, Norwood’s Mark Saulnier hit a two-run home run to left, giving the Mustang’s their first lead of the game, 10-9.

Norwood’s Kenny Michael was called on to get nine outs for the second time this week, but the Rebels managed to tie the game, 10-all, in the eighth as junior James Smith hit a slicing triple to left with two outs and Ordway hustled all the way around to score from first.

In the ninth, Rando picked up his fourth hit of the day, singling up the middle; and junior Bobby Ivatts walked to put two on for Adams with one out. He lined a 2-2 curve into center to give Walpole its second straight walk-off win following Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Dedham.

The Rebels play Natick next on Wednesday, May 1.