Photos by Bob McCaffery. The state champion Walpole U-14’s, pictured from left-to-right: Front row left to right: Brendan Kearns, Matt Bianculli, Logan Keyes, Ryan Walsh, James Gaba. Back row: Manager Brian Walsh, Will Hendricks, Corey Kilroy, Rocco Ferzoco, Alex Hee, Jason Finklestein, Nick Lencioni, Justin Bourque, Coach Charlie Keyes, Matt St. Martin, Coach Aaron Finkelstein, Brett McCaffery
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Baseball has always been one of Walpole’s strengths, from Little League all the way up to the high school level. In 2019, Walpole baseball showcased its thoroughness in a way that few towns ever have. Along with winning, one common denominator throughout the spring and summer for Walpole baseball was beating rival Braintree.
The High School team began the trend by beating Braintree twice during the regular season and again in the Super Eight. Walpole Legion beat Braintree in the opening game of the District Six playoffs, 3-1 the final.
The Walpole 12-year-old Williamsport team won the Massachusetts state championship with a 6-4 victory over Braintree, earning a trip to Bristol, Connecticut to compete for a spot in the Little League World Series - the first Walpole team to do so since the 2007. The Walpole 12’s defeated Lewiston, Maine (6-0) in the opener of the New England regional, but fell to Goffstown, New Hampshire (3-0) and Madison, Connecticut (4-1).
In the 14-year-old division, Walpole also won the state of Massachusetts, earning a bid into the Eastern Regionals in Freehold, New Jersey to compete for a spot in the Junior League World Series.
Walpole earned a dramatic 4-3 win over New Jersey in the opening round despite finding themselves down 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. A single, a walk, an infield single, followed by back-to-back hit-by-pitches allowed the tying and winning runs to come across to give Walpole the victory, keeping them in the winners bracket. Walpole followed it up with a 3-1 victory over Delaware but then fell 14-5 to Maryland to move into the losers bracket. Facing New Jersey again in the losers bracket, this time with their season on the line, Walpole’s bats took care of business with a 14-4 victory setting up a rematch with Maryland in the winners bracket final. Unfortunately, Walpole’s run came to an end with a tough 4-3 defeat.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0.