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Donato’s gem lifts Walpole Legion

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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

District Six Legion baseball rivals Walpole Post 104 and Medfield Post 110 met last Wednesday night at Curt Schilling Field.

Walpole’s Matt Donato, who will play at Tufts in the fall, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and was perfect after three. On a day where Walpole’s bats were only able to muster up a pair of runs, Donato picked the perfect time to bring his A-game.

Jack Magane singled with one out in the top of the first, but Medfield’s Drew Baacke settled in and got Jackson Walonis to pop to short before striking out Chris McLean to end the inning. Donato worked a quick 1-2-3 bottom half, inducing a groundout and striking out a pair as the game remained scoreless after one.

John Brady led off the top of the second for Walpole with a single to left. The Walpole catcher stole second base and later advanced to third on a ball in the dirt. An RBI sacrifice fly by Drew Von Klock brought in Brady on a close play at the plate and Walpole seized a 1-0 lead after an inning and a half.

Donato again worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half by getting Ben Leonard to line out to right, with Nick Sheehan lining out to third and Drew Cookson grounding out to short. Baacke worked a 1-2-3 top of the third for Medfield, but Donato continued the trend in the home half, issuing a pair of strikeouts and getting a pop-up to first.

Walpole’s Jack Magane goes airborne on a double-play attempt in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Walpole’s Jack Magane goes airborne on a double-play attempt in the bottom of the seventh inning.

John Brady beat out a grounder to short with one out in the top of the fourth. Brady notched his third stolen base of the day by taking second and later swiping third on a passed ball. Aidan Murray roped a grounder to Max Goodman at short and Goodman came up firing, nailing Brady at home attempting to score. The play kept it a 1-0 game through three and a half.

Dover-Sherborn’s Pat Wright drew a walk with two outs in the bottom half of the fourth to give Post 110 its first base runner of the night. Donato responded by striking out Luigi Musto to end the inning.

Baacke and Donato each worked 1-2-3 fifth innings as Walpole took their one-run lead into the sixth. Walonis wore a pitch on the arm with one out to put a man on. The Walpole third baseman stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to right by McLean. A passed ball to the backstop allowed Walonis to run home and give Walpole the all-important insurance run to make it a 2-0 game.

Will Stolzenbach was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Medfield. A fielder’s choice at second made it one out in the inning before Luigi Musto singled to left, giving Medfield its first hit of the game and putting runners at first and second with only one away. The runners moved to second and third following a pass ball, but Donato struck out the next man he faced and then got Wright to fly out to center to get out of the jam.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh, Donato came back out to close the door. Ben Leonard led off the inning with a single to left, followed by a fielder’s choice at second by Nick Sheehan. A 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Drew Cookson ended it, as Donato finished off the complete game and Walpole took it by the 2-0 final.

For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0.

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