Epic comeback leads Warriors to shortened 13-12 walk-off over Burlington

May 15, 2019 by

Published May 15, 2019

By EMMA LAMBIASO

WAKEFIELD — Any condition.

Any circumstance.

No matter how cold and rainy it is, the Wakefield Warrior softball team has proven definitively that they can play with the best and pull out the win.

Heading into Monday’s afternoon game at Vets Field, the Warriors knew they would be facing a difficult team. Burlington was undefeated in the season, with a reputation of being a well-rounded successful team. However, Wakefield was hungry for a win after a couple of close losses to Arlington and Woburn. Determined, they took the field.

Sophia Tremblay started for the Warriors on the mound, challenged the entire game by a tight strike zone. Meanwhile, the opposing team was not shy in demonstrating the strength of their batting lineup with a triple to get them started, followed by some fly balls to the outfield.

In return, Wakefield showed off the talent of their outfielders, grade eleven varsity veterans Sophia Gosselin-Smoske, Katie Pearl and Taylor Owen. The first two outs of the game were pop flies caught by Pearl and Gosselin-Smoske, who then heaved the ball to the infield, keeping the base runners at bay. Left fielder Gosselin-Smoske has proven her experience by being especially reliable in the outfield all season, cleanly fielding softballs and throwing them into the cutoffs at a quick pace.

KATIE PEARL came up big for the Warriors against Burlington on Monday. Down 12-7 in the sixth, Pearl got on base to start the inning and later knocked in the winning run in the rain during what would be the last inning of the game. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

The third out of the first half inning came courtesy of an excellent throw-down to second by catcher Claire Curry to stop a Burlington runner from stealing second. This perfect throw was caught by shortstop Julia DiFazio, who snapped up the ball on the run and in one motion swept her glove down for the tag.

Unfortunately, the Warriors could not get runs on the board until the second inning, at which point the Red Devils were up by three.

It was then that Wakefield mercilessly attacked, starting with a high fly ball from Juliette Guanci, just missed by the Burlington center fielder.

With two outs in the bottom of the second, the home team had the bases loaded. Bella Zullo was walked on a 3-2 count, bringing home the first Warrior run. Pearl, excellent batter at the top of the lineup, had a field of opportunity awaiting her. She too, battled her way to a 3-2 count. On the next pitch, Pearl sent a bullet to left center, splitting the two outfielders and bringing in two more runs. The pattern continued as Taylor Owen, another member of the outfield squad, launched a rocket to deep left field with the bases loaded, ending up with a triple and three RBIs. In a controversial call after the play, Owen was called out by the umpire, despite persistent protest from head coach Chris Tolios. Nevertheless, the runs counted, and Owen’s game changing hit put the Warriors in the lead, 6-3.

As expected, Burlington was not going to be defeated easily. The Red Devils retaliated in the third and fifth innings, getting four runs per inning for a total of eight more runs scored. Burlington found their groove on defense as well, stunting any Warrior attempt to take back the lead.

CAPTAIN Juliette Guanci and the Wakefield softball team decided they weren’t going to quit against a tough Burlington team on Monday. Guanci started a six-run rally in the second inning and the Warriors put together another six-run inning in the sixth to come back from a five-run deficit. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Things looked troubling for Wakefield as the sixth inning commenced. They were down 11-7 and the rain was getting worse, escalating from a slight drizzle to a steady fall. The umpires conversed, saying that the they may have to call the game after the sixth inning.

The top of the sixth was similar in that Burlington managed to score one run, but was foiled once again by a Curry throw from home to second to catch the runner stealing. Wakefield kept the half inning short in an attempt to outlast the weather, quickly assembling three outs.

In possibly their last at bats, the Warriors looked to score one run at a time and catch up to the Red Devils.

Once again, Pearl started the momentum with a grounder to short. She was safe due to her speed and the Burlington first baseman, who dropped the ball. Pearl advanced to second thanks to DiFazio and then took off for third with Taylor Owen at bat. In an attempt to get her out on the steal, the catcher overthrew the ball to third, and Pearl used this blunder to race home, making it 12-8. The Warriors got lucky again as the pitcher threw a wild pitch, allowing DiFazio to cross home plate. Rattled, the Burlington pitcher walked the next three Wakefield batters, filling the bases. She gained her composure enough to get a strikeout, but the winning run was still at the plate with one out to go.

The next two batters, Claire Curry and Alexis Comeau, both got hits bringing in a combined three runs to tie up the game, 12-12.

As Norah Coyne was sent to first, Katie Pearl approached the plate for the second time that inning, bases full with Wakefield runners. Similar to her big hit in the second inning, Pearl slammed the ball to center field, bringing in the winning run. Alexis Comeau also tried to make it home on Pearl’s hit, but was thwarted by the catcher. However, the damage was done.

The umpires called the game after that due to the rain, and the Wakefield Warriors swarmed home, cheering as they celebrated a well-earned 13-12 win.

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