James Smith Leads Rebels in Second Straight Norwood Shutout

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The Rebels huddle in between innings later in the game.

Bobby Rabaioli

The Rebels huddle in between innings later in the game.
The Rebels congratulate runners after they cross home plate (Photo/ Julia Adams).

A select group of seniors get the chance to be on the varsity baseball team.  Even a smaller group get to actually play. But as the season winds down, there are a group of individuals who do play and try to do what many Rebel teams could not – win on Norwood’s Balch Field.

Last year, the Rebels went into the game looking to hold onto a slim lead for the Herget title.  Even with Boston College star Johnny Adams, the Rebels would not only lose 2-1, but they ended up giving away their share of the title by losing to Braintree in their next game.

This is a new year and the Rebels have some new faces leading the team.  In their first meeting this year, Walpole displayed good pitching and enough offense to win.  This philosophy  resulted in a 1-0 victory at home earlier in the year led by senior James Smith, who pitched a complete-game shutout and continued his tremendous year.

Last night against Norwood on May 22, Smith repeated his shutout performance, as the Rebels’ offense scored more than enough runs to win the game, with the final score at 5-0.

“I can’t remember the last time a Rebel team shutout Norwood twice in one season,” said Coach William Tompkins.

Throughout much of the season, the Rebel’s bats have been mediocre at best, only scoring a couple 0f runs in many of their games. Not only has it been hard for the Rebels to score all year, but it has been even harder to score runs when they play at Norwood.  “I think our recent struggles at Norwood really show how hard it is to win there,” said senior Captain Nick Cordopatri. “We lost a big game last year, and hopefully we can come out on top this time around.”

On a sunny and humid Wednesday night, the offensive struggle for both teams were at full focus in the beginning as both starting pitchers shut down the opposing offenses.  Smith and John Galvin cruised through six innings with the one highlight being a tag play at the plate by the Rebels.  Senior Connor Moriarty missed a diving attempt on a bloop single with a runner on first.  Luckily, right fielder Pat Quinn backed up the play and relayed the ball all the way to Catcher Bobby Rabaioli for the out.  “That was a big out.  No one likes to play from behind and if we did not get that out, the game could have gone in a complete different direction” said Smith.

In the 7th inning, the bats would finally come through on an Ian Fair double which scored Quinn.  The success would not stop there, as with the bases loaded, Smith would triple over the center fielders head clearing the bases. Eventually Newman squeezed him in to score, and the Rebels had gone from a deadlock to blowing the game wide open with a 5-0 lead.  One inning of offense would be plenty for Smith who continued to shutdown the Mustangs for the rest of the game.

For this group of seniors, it would be their last time playing at Balch Field.  But as they move on to postseason ball and eventually college, they can always remember the silence at Balch Field for the last two innings.