When the final out was recorded at Fenton Field, the Post 188 senior baseball didn’t bumrush their teammates on the mound. They never threw their hats or gloves in the air. Unlike last year when the Sandwich team won the American Legion District 10 title—in come-from-behind fashion—there was a sense of meeting expectations rather than exceeding them.
“I think that showed our quiet confidence,” Post 188 head coach Brian Tomasini said. “That was supposed to be a win. It was sort of anticlimactic.”
Sandwich cruised to a 10-4 victory against Plymouth Post 40 on Wednesday, July 24. With the win the Post 188 team completed an unblemished 21-0 record against fellow District 10 opponents. And much like the team has for the entirety of their regular season, a big-run inning fueled them to victory.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, Sandwich answered with a six-run bottom half of the frame, sending 10 batters to the plate, to retake control of the game. Ben Smith (Bourne) scored on an error while John Tropea (Sandwich), Mike Petit (Sandwich) and Jacob Lapp (Sandwich) all had runs batted in that frame.
Tropea was the starter for Post 188, and although he didn’t have his best stuff, the right-hander battled through four innings of work. He got ahead of hitters a lot, but Tomasini credited the Plymouth bats for winning the two-strike battle.
“That lineup is no joke for Plymouth,” Tomasini said. “That’s a tough lineup to pitch to, but John was once again the toughest guy on the field. He grinded the game out.”
Without being able to get his curveball—Tropea’s out pitch—over for strikes he turned to his change-up, which wasn’t as lethal. Plymouth Post 40 cut into Sandwich’s four-run lead in the top of the fourth, plating a two-strike, two-out double that plated two runs pull within two, 6-4.
But the lineup didn’t bat an eye, instead batting the ball. In the top of the fifth, first baseman Tyler Wudyka (Sandwich), who has been a terror at the plate all season long, clubbed a two-run double to push the lead back to four, 4-4. Chris Perito (Falmouth) followed suit with an RBI double of his own, scoring Wudyka.
“There’s so much confidence in our hitters,” Tomasini said. “We don’t like being down 2-0, but we know we’re never out of the game.”
The bullpen provided three shutdown innings, allowing Post 188 to complete the District 10 season perfect. Max Roman (Falmouth) threw two scoreless frames before handing the ball to closer Joe Dorman (St. John Paul II, Anna Maria) for the save.
Defensively, the continuity of an all-Blue Knights infield came up in a big way early on. Cam Scheuer (Sandwich), who slapped an RBI single in the sixth, effortlessly started an inning-ending 6-4-3 double with the bases loaded to keep the early deficit at two runs. An inning later Petit, playing third, snagged a line drive and quickly stepped on the bag at third to double-off a runner. That turned a difficult situation—two runners in scoring position and no outs—in a much more manageable one—two outs and a runner on second. Petit then showed his range two pitches later, fielding a grounder and throwing on the run to get the final out of the inning.
“They all play together so much, especially up the middle in Nate and Cam,” Tomasini said. “And credit John for pitching to contact and allowing the defense to take care of business behind him.”
This is the program’s 14th American Legion District 10 title and the second since Tomasini took over the program four years ago.
“I think this group takes pride in the tradition of this program and how many good ball players have come through over the years,” Tomasini said. “But this group has taken it to a whole other level this year.”
Now the 188 squad has some time off before the American Legion all-state tournament. Although they do not yet know their opponent, the Sandwich team will play tomorrow, Saturday, July 27 in Milford. And they will be fully rested, a luxury that wasn’t afforded to last year’s team.
“We’ll do a little hitting and some fielding, but we’ll have all our guys well-rested,” Tomasini said. “We’ll have our pitchers ready and our whole staff lined up.”
Post 188’s scorching the competition throughout the summer months has prepared them for playing against some of the state’s best ball players.
“There’s a different feel entering the tournament this year,” Tomasini said. “We feel more prepared for it.”