WILMINGTON — Nearly a year has passed since the last time the Northeast Wilmington baseball team squared off against mighty North Reading. The memory of that embarrassing finish, a 9-0 drubbing handed down by the Hornets in a playoff elimination game, was still fresh in many of the Wilmington player’s minds when they took to the field Tuesday night to face their nemesis.
Yet again, the difference was 9-runs except this time around, it was Wilmington exacting sweet revenge on North Reading. Through the first two innings, the previously undefeated Hornets dug a deep 9-run hole and didn’t have the offensive means to climb out of it. Wilmington went on to claim a 9-1 triumph and moved to 3-1 on the season.
“They beat us four times last year and swept us in the playoffs,” said Wilmington coach Mark Dynan, who failed to fully conceal his smile beneath a face mask. “North Reading is always a good team and they were our measuring stick. We circled this game on the calendar.”
Wilmington went with Joey Dynan, who last pitched long relief in a season-opening 6-2 win over Dracut. The dynamic Dynan carved out a gem, not allowing a hit until midway through the game. By then, the Wilmington offense had compiled a half-dozen hits and an insurmountable lead over the visitors. Dynan went wire-to-wire, fanning ten and allowing only a pair of hits in all.
“I like it when Joey pitches to contact so keeps his pitch count down,” Dynan explained. “That happened tonight – he pitched to contact and with Tyler Fenton at second base and Tristan Ciampa making plays at shortstop, it got him off the field and saved some pitches. I told him just throw strikes – the boys are playing behind you.”
At the outset, North Reading struggled on the mound and defensively, particularly in the outfield. Both the center and left fielders dropped routine fly balls, extending the first inning. And the Hornets starter, Justin Bailey, was unable to find his control, hitting three batters before he was relieved of duty early in the second inning.
Nico Piazza led off with a deep drive to center and was safe on a dropped ball. Ciampa followed with a basehit and soon, there was a runner on every base when Brendon George took one for the team between the shoulder blades. Harry Serounian, batting cleanup, drove in Piazza who was followed home by Ciampa when Jimmy McCarron’s fly to left was also dropped.
The Hornets suffered their third miscue of the inning on a botched throw to the plate, allowing George to make it 3-0. Marcello Misuraca drilled a double to bring home Serounian and McCarron and later, Dynan helped himself by scoring the sixth run before North Reading finally escaped the chaotic inning.
Dynan needed only a handful of pitches to retire the side in the second inning. The North Reading hitters could not find an answer.
“Once we got up big, Joey was in the zone and the players felt good,” said coach Dynan, who recently suffered his first loss, a 3-0 shutout in Lynnfield. “I was happy to see the boys come out swinging the bats tonight. They were swinging the bats early because in the last game, they got caught looking at times.”
In the bottom of the second inning, North Reading coach Marco Vittozzi went with reliever Sam Morelli who yielded three more Wilmington runs before he settled in.
As a light rain began to fall on Scanlon Field, Piazza doubled over the left field fence and later scored on a chopper from Serounian. Ciampa and George, both hit by the pitcher, were plated on ground ball forces to wrap up the Wilmington scoring for the night.
North Reading snapped the shutout, picking up a run in the fourth when Mike Vittozzi led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly. As the game wound down, coach Vittozzi subbed a number of bench players, which only added to Dynan’s strikeout tally. He struck out the side in the seventh and final inning.
“I think we were poised to put up thirteen or fourteen runs but North Reading made a number of decent defensive plays late in the game,” said coach Dynan. “We handled them tonight but I don’t expect the same thing if we meet them again. I’m sure it will be a tougher game. But we were ready for this one.”