Following a late-inning loss to Lawrence in the American Legion state tournament, the Sandwich Post 188 baseball team responded to its first loss of the season with a laser-sharp focus.
“We wanted to see how we bounced back after a loss, especially after letting one slip away,” Post 188 head coach Brian Tomasini said.
With their backs against the wall in the tournament—and for the first time this season, really—Sandwich was facing elimination against the tournament host, Milford Post 196 on Tuesday, July 30, at Fino Field.
In the back-and-forth affair that saw both teams holding leads throughout, Post 188 found themselves on top when the final out was recorded, 6-5. Sandwich starter Nick Heyer (Sandwich, Saint Anselm’s) lasted just 2.2 innings and struggled with command after previously not pitching in more than a week. Tomasini turned to right-hander reliever Joe Dorman (St. John Paul II, Anna Maria), typically the team’s closer, to enter the game and quiet the potent Milford bats.
“We wanted to save Joe for the next game, hopefully,” Tomasini said. “We were hoping to get anything we could from him.”
Post 188 got that and more. Dorman threw 4.1 innings and picked up the win. Despite the blistering heat Dorman grew stronger as the game went on, returning to the dugout after every completed inning and reassuring his team that he was getting stronger with every pitch, Tomasini said.
But the right-hander reliever’s outing wasn’t all smooth sailing. With one out in the top of the sixth, Milford attempted a double steal with runners on first and second. Catcher Jacob Lapp (Sandwich) rifled a throw down to third baseman Mike Petit (Sandwich), who applied the tag to the diving base-runner. The third base umpire quickly signaled safe, but almost as quickly reversed his decision and called him out.
Instead of two runners in scoring position and one out holding a 6-5 lead, Post 188 had two outs and a runner on second. Dorman retired the next batter to get out of the jam unscathed.
“It was kind of a crazy double steal,” Tomasini said. “Everyone on the field was wondering which way the play was, but it was clear as day Mike had tag down and the throw beat him.”
Sandwich took the lead thanks to a two-RBI base hit from shortstop Nate Coleman (Sandwich).
Sandwich 2, Ashland Post 77 1
Tyler Wudyka (Sandwich) threw six innings of one-run baseball to help lift Post 188 baseball to a 2-1 win in the American Legion state quarterfinals on Sunday, July 28 at Fino Field in Milford.
The right-hander, set to attend Saint Anselm’s College this fall, scattered five hits and recorded five punch-outs in the win, and added an RBI double at the plate.
Cam Scheuer (Sandwich) paced the offense with a 2-for-3 performance and scored on Wudyka’s double in the bottom of the third inning. John Tropea (Sandwich) scored Wudyka on an RBI single as 188 took a 2-0 lead. Post 188 could have added more during that frame. Ben Smith (Bourne) doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on Scheuer’s single. But Smith, the team’s lead-off hitter, was caught in an attempt to steal home.
Dorman picked up the save and he struck out two of the final three batters he faced to help Sandwich advance to the semifinal round. In addition to moving on in the tournament, the win also exacted some revenge during the high school baseball season. The Sandwich Blue Knights, the fifth seed in the Division 3 South Sectional tournament, lost to the eighth-seeded Ashland Clockers, 2-1, in an eight-inning quarterfinals showdown. With many players from that high school baseball playoff game on the Fino Field, it was just a tiny bit of revenge for the Sandwich team and head coach Brian Tomasini.
“It was nearly the exact same game,” Tomasini said. “Both teams know each other pretty well, but to an extent where these are now regional teams.”
Ashland’s Dominic Cavanaugh, who went pitch-for-pitch with Blue Knight righty Dillon Ryan, back in the MIAA playoffs, went 3-for-3 at the plate for Post 77. As a team, Post 188 did not commit an error and Lapp was a perfect 9-for-9 in fielding opportunities.
The win came a day after Post 188 opened the American Legion state tournament with a 1-0 win against Greenfield Post 81. Smith and Dorman combined for the shutout, with Smith pitching six innings and Dorman closing it out in the seventh. Tropea singled, stole second and came around to score on an RBI base hit from Petit.