Senior captain and pitcher Sean Shea (pictured) fires home a pitch during his 12-strikeout performance against Medway on Friday. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
A 1-4 start was not what the Westwood High School varsity baseball team had in mind for 2021. Despite the rough early-going, the Wolverines held the opportunity to start a clean slate last Friday against Medway. Following back-to-back wins against Norton and Millis earlier in the week, a win on Friday against the Mustangs (0-8) would put Westwood back at .500 with eight games still to play.
Behind a dominant six-inning, 12-strikeout performance by senior captain and Stevens-committed pitcher Sean Shea, the Wolverines dominated their way to an 8-1 victory.
Shea retired Medway in order in the top of the first with a groundout to short, a strikeout and a pop-up to second. Westwood's bats immediately got to work in the home half of the first as Declan Guarino led off the game with a double down the third base line. Michael Noone drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Senior captain Jack Rufo faked a bunt, pulled the bat back and ripped an RBI single to right to score Guarino and put runners at first and third. Rufo swiped second on the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat to Colin Fahey to put both runners into scoring position. Two pitches later, Fahey cranked a double down the left field line to plate both Noone and Rufo to make it 3-0 Westwood after one.
Shea struck out the side in the top of the second but Westwood was unable to add to its lead in the home half. A pair of strikeouts by Shea, mixed around an error on a fly-ball to right followed by an inning-ending groundout to the mound, got Westwood out of the top of the third unscathed.
The game remained 3-0 until the bottom of the fourth, when the Wolverines put together another three-run rally. Emmanuel Nevills led off the inning with a single to left. Cam Dayton drew a walk to put runners at first and second but a controversial batters interference call on a steal of third by Nevills sent runners back to first and second with one out. The Mustangs recorded the second out of the inning on a pop to short, but a balk on the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat moved both the runners into scoring position, ending the day for Medway starter Andrew Faichney. Michael Noone then reached on an infield hit to plate Nevills and make it a 4-0 game, setting up runners at the corners. Rufo then cleared the bases with a double off the right field fence to make it a 6-0 game after four full.
Shea continued his strong performance in the top of the fifth, striking out a pair and recording an inning-ending pop-up to continue his no-hit bid. Conor Jacobs led off the bottom of the fifth with a single before Dayton cranked a two-run home-run with two outs to extend Westwood's lead to 8-1. Shea came back out for the top of the sixth, but surrendered a double down the right field line with one to Jacob Garvin, breaking up the no-hit bid. Garvin would advance to third on a fielder's choice and later come around to score on a passed ball to get Medway on the board. Shea closed out the inning by striking out the next man he faced to get Westwood to the seventh still comfortably ahead 8-1.
Kyle Burgess came on and closed things out for Westwood in the top of the seventh with a fly to right, a strikeout and a game-ending groundout to short as the Wolverines prevailed by the 8-1 final.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.