WILMINGTON/WOBURN — It has been quite the spring and summer for the Wilmington 14U Junior Select Baseball team, with the club already capturing one league title, with even bigger goals in mind in the days ahead.
Over the past couple of weeks, playing in the Massachusetts Little League Junior Select Baseball Tournament, the Wildcats went 2-1 against some outstanding competition to earn themselves a spot in the state semifinals this upcoming weekend in Oxford, Mass.
The Wildcats earned their spot in the semifinals by tying for first place in their division in the preliminary round, picking up wins over East Bridgewater and Hanson while suffering close a defeat to Walpole.
The Wildcats actually started their tournament with a 4-3 loss to Walpole back on July 11. Despite limiting Walpole to just two hits on the day, while picking up four base knocks of their own, they were unable to get the big hit when they needed it.
Ayden Balter was the hard luck loser for Wilmington in this one, pitching four strong innings, allowing four runs on only two hits while striking out seven batters. Brennan Walsh led the way offensively for the Wildcats with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Bad weather conspired to keep the Wildcats off the field for a few days after the loss to Walpole, but when they did return to the diamond, they made the most of the opportunity, puling out a thrilling 1-0 win over East Bridgewater last Wednesday in East Bridgewater.
The Wildcats were led to victory by an outstanding performance from pitcher Cameron Kelley, who tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits over seven innings, while striking out four and not walking a single batter.
The Wildcats were stifled for the most part at the plate, striking out 14 times in the game, while picking up only two hits, with Ayden Balter and William Trach picking up their only hits of the game. But it was enough pick up the key victory and set up an even more important matchup this past Saturday at Robinson Field in Hanson.
There was no drama this time around, as the Wildcats rolled to an 11-0 victory over Hanson, banging out nine hits on their way to the victory, coasting to victory after a seven run second inning, improving their record to 2-1 for the tournament, and clinching a spot in the semifinals.
Wilmington was powered in their big seventh inning by Ayden Balter, William Trach, Jake Carr, Ryan Quamme, Trevor Sullivan and Cameron Kelley, each of whom had an RBI in the inning. Balter had gotten the Wildcats off to a good start in the first inning as well, tripling home a run to give them an early 1-0 lead. And while the Wildcats didn’t exactly need it, because their offense was so tremendous, they got a second straight outstanding pitching performance, with William Trach throwing a complete game shutout of his own, allowing only one hit in the game, while striking out 11 batters and walking only one.
With the win, the Wildcats secured a spot in the state semifinals this weekend in Oxford, where they will take on a yet to be determined opponent on Saturday. With a win in that game, they will advance to the state championship game on Sunday afternoon, also in Oxford.
Middlesex Big Diamond League
Winning a state championship would obviously be an incredible accomplishment for the Junior Select team, but regardless of what happens this weekend, the club has already had plenty of success, and is quite familiar with winning tournaments, having recently taken home the Spring Season championship of the Middlesex Big Diamond League.
The Wildcats had a tremendous spring season, going 16-4 overall, and clinching the league championship with a 4-1 win over Woburn on June 24 at Wilmington High School. Wilmington had defeated Woburn the day before as well, but had to win this one to clinch the title.
And win it they did, dominating from start to finish on their way to the 4-1 victory. Wilmington jumped on top early in this one, scoring a run in the top of the first inning on an RBI groundout by William Trach. Wilmington also got key hits on the day from Cameron Kelley, Jake Carr, Ryan Quamme, Ayden Balter, Luca Gabardi, Lukas Poirier and Brennan Walsh. Kelley also added three stolen bases to his outstanding performance.
In addition to his offensive prowess, Poirier also had a big day on the mound, lasting 6 1/3 innings, while allowing only three hits and one run, while striking out eight. Kelley also got the job done on the mound, throwing two thirds of an inning to pick up the save.