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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two arch rivals fighting for their playoff lives met on the baseball diamond on Friday afternoon as the DS Raiders (8-12) hosted the Medfield Warriors (8-9) on Dover-Sherborn’s senior day.
In what can only be described as an instant classic of back-and-forth momentum swings and rallies, the Raiders gutted out a 10-9 walk-off victory in extra innings, thanks to a two-RBI single by senior Trevor Bowman in the bottom of the eighth.
“After a season that didn’t start how we wanted to, the last few games and especially this game the kids definitely showed what they are made of,” said DS head coach Steve Ryan following the win. “A lot of character involved in that game.”
Holden Ferrari singled to left to lead off the home half of the first for the Raiders and gave DS a 1-0 lead after taking home on a throw to second on a steal attempt with one out.
Ferrari induced a groundout to short, struck out a man looking, and forced a groundout back to the mound to get out of the top of the second unscathed. Graham Campbell led off the bottom of the second for DS by slamming a single into left before Patrick Wright drew a walk. Kirby Ryan singled to left to load the bases and forced a pitching change. Py Johnson came on in relief and struck out the first batter he faced to make it two outs in the inning, but three consecutive walks issued to Ferrari, Musgrave, and Cole Condon forced home three runs to extend DS’s lead to 4-0. Johnson settled down and struck out Bowman to end the inning and limited the damage to just three.
Just like DS did the previous half-inning, Medfield put together a rally in the top of the third, beginning with an infield single by Liam O’Toole. Max Goodman laid down a sacrifice bunt to move O’Toole over to second before a groundout to short by Johnson made it two outs in the inning. Senior captain Ben Adams then cracked a single to center to plate O’Toole from second to get Medfield on the board before Christopher Schworer slammed a double into the right-center field gap to score Adams and cut the deficit to a pair of runs at 4-2. Senior captain Mason Giunta then roped a single to right to plate Schworer and make it a one-run game at 4-3. Ferrari was able to induce a pop-out to short to end the inning and preserve the lead for DS heading into the bottom half of the third.
Medfield was able to escape a first-and-second jam with one-out in the bottom of the third to get to the fourth inning still down just a run. Shawn MacTavish led off the top of the fourth for Medfield with a single to center before Liam O’Toole drew a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs. A throwing error to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Max Goodman allowed the tying run to be awarded home as the runners advanced to second and third with still nobody out in the inning. A nice flick of the wrists on a suicide squeeze attempt by Johnson on an inside pitch brought in the go-ahead run for Medfield. Ben Adams drew a walk to put runners at the corners with one away and later stole second. Schworer drew a walk to load them up for Giunta, and the senior captain then drew a walk to extend Medfield’s lead to 6-4. Ben Leonard cracked a single to left field on the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat to plate a pair of runs and extend Medfield’s lead to 8-4 after 3 1/2.
The game remained 8-4 in favor of Medfield heading into the bottom of the seventh, but the DS bats came alive, starting with a two-run home run by Cole Condon to cut the deficit to 8-6. Nick Marken launched a double into the right-center field gap and came around to score following a single by Ferrari. A throwing error to first base two at-bats later with two outs in the inning then allowed the tying run, Marken, to come in. The game headed to extra inning tied at eight.
Liam O’Toole singled to lead off the top of the eighth for Medfield. O’Toole advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third on a pitch in the dirt, then came in to score on a throwing error to third to reclaim the lead for Medfield at 9-8.
Ferrari led off the bottom of the eighth for DS with a single to center and a stolen base, before a bunt single by Musgrave put runners at the corners with no outs. Musgrave stole second to put runners on second and third, and on the third pitch of the ensuing at-bat, Bowman launched a single to left field to plate the tying and winning runs, walking it off for DS in dramatic fashion on senior day.
“Trev’s been a guy in this program for four years and he hits the ball and does all the right things,” said an emotional Ryan as he praised the walk-off hero, Trevor Bowman. “When he comes up in a big situation like that, we have so much confidence in him, and he pulled through again.”
Ryan also gave praise to the aggressive base-running of Nick Marken and the resilience of his group for battling back multiple times throughout the game.
“We talk about character all the time. We say don’t flinch no matter what happens to us and these guys just did such a great job with all of that,” said Ryan. “Cole Condon hitting that huge home run to get us going. And, we talk about playing aggressive baseball, Nicky [Nick Marken] gets in that rundown with two outs and fights his way out of it and gets to third. There’s no way we tie that game up unless we have second and third and he made that happen. We end up getting the infield single [by John Musgrave] and Trev came through from there in extra innings.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.