By Max Clifford
Hometown Weekly Reporter
With an opportunity to advance to the state finals, Walpole Little League’s age-11 baseball team battled their opponents from Hingam to a scoreless tie through the first four innings, eventually falling by a final score of 4-0 at Milton High School on Saturday afternoon.
With elimination on the line, Walpole head coach Steve McMann turned to his top arm in starting pitcher Henry Henjes. “Henry’s been doing it for us all year. He’s been the guy we go to. We keep the hitters off balance with his off-speed stuff and he slots the fastball,” said McMann.
With the support of his infielders, who turned double plays in each of the first two frames, Henjes held Hingham scoreless on just two hits through four innings of work. On the other side of each inning, however, the Walpole offense was stifled by a similarly dominant performance from the Hingham staff.
Earning the start for Hingham, pitcher Dean Fulgoni struck out the first eight batters he faced and worked out of a jam with Walpole runners of first and second to keep the score tied at zero in the fourth.
The bottom of the fifth saw the Hingham offense finally break through against the arm of Henjes. Hingham added insurance, pushing the score to 4-0 as the teams headed into the sixth and final inning.
Fulgoni finished the game as strongly as he had started it, inducing a groundout to cap off an outing of eleven strikeouts in six scoreless innings of work.
The loss, while disappointing for the Walpole squad, marked the end of a remarkable
postseason run. “In both the districts and the sectionals, which are the first two rounds to get here, we lost the first game. Then we won five in a row and three in a row against a lot of good teams,” said McMann. “I’m going to miss coaching them, but hopefully they’ll be right back here next year as 12-year-olds.”