Baseball Beat Barnstable; Falls Short to Bridgewater-Raynham

Michael Fortin

Throughout the spring season, Walpole High School’s athletics have been far superior then any other school in the Bay State.  However, as you walk through the halls of Walpole High School you only hear about one thing:  the dominance of the Baseball team.  After finishing the regular season with a record of 17-3 and the number 1 overall seed in Division 1 South, everyone—from the players to the community—had high hopes for this team.  After a few disappointing playoff appearances the last few years, the Rebels were hoping to turn this around and achieve one of the few things a Coach Bill Tompkins’ team has never done: win a state championship.  However, these dreams were crushed when they lost to Bridgewater-Raynham on June 5 after rattling off two playoff wins to get to the South Sectional semifinal.

After defeating North Attleborough in the first round of the playoffs 7-4, Baseball once again got to play at home, taking on a tough Barnstable team.  The Rebels would not let this oppurtunity slip from them as they refused to give up as they came back from an early 3 run deficit to beat Barnstable 8-4 to advance to the 3rd round of the playoffs where they would eventually be defeated 13-9 to BridgeWater-Raynham

The Barnstable game started off similar to the North Attleborough game, as the Rebels fell behind early 3-0.  Deja vu started to set in as senior Captain John Adams, as he sparked Walpole’s offense once again as he belted a leadoff triple in the 4th inning as he eventually came around to get Walpole on the board to end the inning at 3-1. This was his third triple in two games, smashing two in the North Attleborough game.

After a pair of runs in the 6th inning for the Rebels to tie the score at 3, Coach Tompkins decided to pull starter senior Tom Farrow to bring in reliever junior Nick Cordoparti.  After Barnstable’s offense managed to get a run off a Cordopatri wild pitch, the Walpole offense matched them and more as they went to work. After three straight singles to load the bases, the Rebels now had the heart of the line up due up in the most critical part of the game, and they did not disappoint. With the combination of sloppy defense from Barnstabke and senior Captain Cam Hanley belting a single the Rebels left the 7th inning with a 7-4 lead, only to add another run in the 8th inning as they closed out Barnstable to advance to the 3rd round against Bridgewater-Raynham.

Junior Bobby Rabaioli stated, “The Barnstable game was big for us because it showed the resilency we have on this team as we once again came back from a deficit.” Just as the game before it, the Rebels stormed back after an early deficit and came up with sound defense and pitching to preserve the win.

The Bridgewater-Raynham game, however, was the complete opposite of the two prior games for the Rebels.  The Rebels jumped ahead to a 6-0 lead in the first inning after good hitting from the start of the lineup.  However, this lead did not last long as BR managed to get four runs off the usually unhittable senior Mike Gaughan as the Rebels left the second inning with only a mere 2 run lead.  This did not silence the Rebels’ bats though as they once again managed to score, as senior Mike Rando hit into a fielder’s choice as he scored Rabaioli to give the Rebels a 7-4 lead.

However, the Trojans would not give up, continuing to pound Gaughan to score runs, as they would tie the game at 7 through 5 innings.  This proved too much for Gaughan—he let up a season high 7 runs in just 5 innings—and he would be replaced by senior Brendan Donovan on the mound.  Donovan would also struggle against the potent BR hitting, as he failed to record an out after allowing three straight singles.  To get the Rebels out of this jam, Coach Tompkins turned to junior James Smith, not known for his relief pitching, to help stop the bleeding.  As Smith managed to get Walpole out of any further damage, the Rebels left the inning down 10-7 as BR controlled all the momentum.  Walpole, however, would came right back as they got good hitting from seniors Cam Hanley and Matt Bender as they helped close the gap to a 1 run deficit.

BR would answer right back as they got three more runs to end the scoring at 13-9 as they would eventually close the door on the Rebels and thier state championship dreams.  Some would say this was a disspointing playoff run as they once again had high playoff hopes, but this team showed their recilency in the playoffs as they managed to get to the sectional semifinals, a feat Walpole Baseball has not accomplished in some time. The year, which was mired by the bad news of Coach Tompkins’ cancer, undoubtedly ended on a sour note for the Rebels; however, ability to battle back on the field and off it should translate into a continuation of success on the diamond for the Rebels in the future.