LYNN — The most successful season in 41 years for the Woburn High baseball team came to an end, Saturday afternoon, as St. Mary’s of Lynn handed the Tanners their first shutout of the season, 5-0, in the MIAA Div. 2 North final, at Fraser Field.
The Tanners had their chances in the first four innings, but not convert any of them. The Spartans scored one in the first, three in the third, and one in the sixth, with two of the runs being unearned.
“We hit the ball hard all day, just at people,” said Woburn coach Joe Wells, whose squad finished the season with a record of 17-7. “Hats off to them (Spartans), they’re a good ball club, they made great plays over there and their pitcher did a nice job throwing strikes.”
Bobby Alcock was not un-hittable (the Tanners had six for the game) but he was effective while earning the complete-game shutout. The Spartans have allowed just one run in the tournament, thus far.
Woburn put two runners on in the top of the first. Kevin Vasapolli walked with one out, Nick D’Antuono singled with two outs, before Kohtaro ripped a long line drive to left on the first pitch he saw. Left fielder Terence Moynihan hesitated for an instant, but got back in time to run down the line drive just before the base of the fence.
St. Mary’s of Lynn manufactured a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Aidan Vining walked leadoff batter Colin Reddy, Kyle Ouellette sacrificed him to second, and Jared Coppola singled to drive Reddy in from second.
Alcock struck out the first two Woburn batters in the second before Julian Steed reached base on a bobble by the shortstop on a ground ball. Dane LeBert then lined a single to left, and Moynihan slipped and fell while approaching it. He managed to stick his arm up to deflect the ball sideways, and then he chased after it.
Steed had third base easily and Wells, coaching third base, waved him on home. The throw was there in time and Steed was tagged for the third out.
“We had something going with two outs and sent the guy going home,” said Wells. “That was my call to send him home. Like all year, we were trying to put pressure on the defense, and it didn’t work in our favor.”
In the top of the third, Vasapolli lined a single with one out. With a 3-2 count on Ryan Qualey, Wells sent the runner. Qualey was fooled by the pitch for a called strike three and catcher D.J. DiCenso nailed the runner at second for an inning-ending double play.
“We didn’t have our run game either,” said Wells. “The catcher did a nice job, he has a real strong arm.”
St. Mary’s added on three runs in the third to take a 4-0 lead. With one out, Reddy singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Vining struck out the next batter and was a strike away from getting out of the inning when Coppola struck again, this time with a double to right-center to score Reddy for a 2-0 lead.
John Mulready followed with a single to center. Outfielder Jesse Stocker, perhaps thinking about a throw home to get Coppola, had the ball bounce under his glove. The ball rolled a long way after that, enough for Mulready to circle the bases without a throw home.
Woburn had one last chance to get back in the game when they had two runners on with one out in the fourth. Shimada reached on an infield single with one out, and Matt Spolidoro followed with a single to left. But Alcock worked out of trouble once more, getting the last two batters on a fly ball to center and a ground ball to second.
The Spartans added another unearned run in the sixth when Lee Pacheco scored on an overthrow for the 5-0 final.
“I was very impressed with the way we played today,” said Wells. “We made a couple of mistakes, but that’s baseball. It was a great high school baseball game and hats off to them.”
The Tanner lineup will have whole new look, next year, as only four players return, and they will all be seniors. Vining and John Kyle will head up the pitching staff, Shimada will play either third base or catcher, and Zac Willis will play second base or shortstop. The outfield and batting order will be wide open.
Wells was impressed with this year’s freshman class, so expect to see a bunch of sophomores getting their first crack at varsity baseball come early, next April.