Medway Baseball Wins Div 3 South

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

Prior to the 2019 season, Medway had advanced into the Division 3 South Baseball Tournament three of the five years. Each year, while successful, was not exactly what the Mustangs were hoping for as the squad fell to the eventual Sectional Champion. In 2014, Medway got into the tournament with a 10-10 record and lost to Bellingham in the Quarter Finals; as the number one seed in 2016 East Bridgewater sent the Mustangs packing in the Semi-Finals and last year Dedham defeated them 7-0 in the Quarter Finals.
As this year’s season got underway, Head Coach Mike Coppinger knew that his team could once again return to the Division 3 South Sectionals, but was unsure how far they could go.
“Coming in, I was thinking playoffs,” the Mustang Coach said. “The question mark with this team was pitching, would they be able to take us the distance we needed.”
After winning a few games to open the season, Medway hit a rough patch finding their pitching staff walking way too many batters that would eventually lead to runs.
“Early on, we were giving up free bases, and that was not an ideal situation,” the skipper said. “I stressed that we had a really good defense, so let them do their job and make the opposition earn their hits. It was not easy, but the pitching staff stepped it up and got the job done.”
After Coppinger’s challenge, things started to turn around for the Mustangs, and when Matt Peterson hit a walk off homerun with a runner on, two outs and two strikes on him against Holliston, the season suddenly swung in the Medway’s favor.
Just prior to knocking the ball out of the park, Peterson just barely got out of the way of a pitch that would have put two runners on. Luckily for Medway, the junior was able to swing away from the ball and would get another chance at winning the game.
“Matt was very apologetic after not letting the ball hit him and put another runner on base,” Coppinger said. “He’s been a clutch hitter for us all year, batting .420 he’s one of our better hitters. I expected a hit, but not one of that caliber.”
Medway finished the season with a 12-6 record and earned themselves a number seven seed in the Sectionals. Once in the tournament, anything can happen, and it did for the Mustangs. The Medway nine took out Tri-County in convincing fashion 15-0 in the first round, before beating up on the number 2 seed Diman 7-0 and then exercised their demons from last spring as they turned the tables on Dedham 7-1 to advance to the Division 3 South Championship game against Tri-Valley foe Ashland.
“Entering the tournament, you don’t take any team lightly,” the coach said. “The TVL is one if the better leagues in the state where four teams made it to the Division Sectionals.”
Going up against Dedham, which was the ranked as the number three seed, Medway knew it was going to be a battle as the two teams split during the regular season, where the Mustangs lost a heart-breaker in extra innings. Eli Joyce-Vorce was up to the challenge on the mound and the Mustangs put together one of their most complete games of the season to capture the victory.
On short rest Joyce-Vorce was handed the ball once again for the Championship tilt and guided the Mustangs to a hard fought 1-0 win over the Clockers for the Championship.
“We knew that it was going to be a low scoring affair, it always is with these guys,” Coppinger said. “Eli was up to the task and pitched another complete game (he had gone the distance against Dedham also). We checked the record books, and as far back as we could go and believe, that this could be Medway’s first Sectional Championship; at least the first in some time.”
In addition to Joyce-Vorce, who was named to the TVL All Star team and was close to being named pitcher of the year, senior captain Justin Pratt was also a key to the Mustangs success on the mound. Defensively junior shortstop Nick Sheehan was one of the team’s best in the field.
Although Coppinger has the State Tournament’s first round matchup with Bishop Fenwick, the Division 3 North Champion, on his mind he will have to set his sights on next year eventually. The Mustangs will be losing 11 seniors to graduation, but will have the entire infield, except for the catcher position returning. While he will also have his center fielder back he’ll need to replace the two corner positions as well as his pitching staff.
“The infield is the heart of the lineup,” the Coach said. “As for pitchers junior Drew Nix saw some action down the stretch and we’ll probably be looking at him to pitch for us next year.”
The Mustangs earned a spot in the school’s first ever State Baseball Championship with a 5-1 win over Bishop Fenwick at Alumni Field in Lowell. Medway scored three runs in the top of the first inning before Pratt even took the mound. Bishop Fenwick was able to push a run across in the bottom of the fourth, but that would be as close as they would get. Peterson added a two-run single in the seventh to account for the final score. Joyce-Vorce would come in and shut the door over the final two innings. Although Medway was looking to capture its first State Title on Saturday June 22, the team fell to Taconic, 4-1.