The Everett High baseball team enjoyed an eventful week that saw Coach Joe Marchese’s Crimson Tide win three of four games, clinch at least a share of a GBL title, and punch their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
The Everett diamondmen began their big week with a 14-5 pounding of archrival Malden last Tuesday, a victory that earned them both at least a league co-championship and a berth in the post season state tournament.
Shaun McGrath started the game and, although Shaun was not his sharpest (he walked seven Golden Tornados), he yielded only three hits in his four innings of work. Chris DiNapoli came on for three innings of one run relief to preserve the win.
However, the big story of the game for the Crimson Tide was the thunder of their bats that gave their pitchers more than enough support. McGrath himself was a big contributor to his own cause, blasting a grand slam homer in the fifth inning.
Mike Russo, who has been on a tear of late, went two for four and unloaded his own roundtripper in the seventh to drive in three of his four RBI on the day. Then for good measure, Ray Gallagher belted a solo homer to apply the icing on the Everett victory cake.
Chris McCarthy added to the offensive fireworks with two hits, a walk, three runs scored, and an RBI, while Frank Cafarella went two for four with a run scored.
In contrast to the Malden rout, Monday’s 5-4 win over Dennis Yarmouth was an eight inning nailbiter that saw the Tide celebrate with a walk off triumph against their foes from the Cape. McGrath was more his usual self on the mound as he went the entire eight inning distance, allowing just five hits, four walks, and fanning seven.
After spotting D-Y three markers in the opening frame, McGrath settled down nicely and took command the rest of the way. “Shaun had good location with his pitches and got stronger as the game went on,” noted Marchese.
Russo was the big gun at the plate with a four for four effort, including a stolen base and a run scored. Matt Cafarella also had a good day with two hits, a walk, two RBI, two stolen bases, and a run. Dan Concannon came through with a clutch hit in the fifth to score Russo with the tying run.
The hero role was reserved for Matt C. however, as he came through with a bases loaded base hit, a liner up the middle, that scored Gallagher with the game winner in the bottom of the eighth.
Two days earlier on Saturday, the Tide eked out a win over Marblehead of the Northeastern Conference by a similar 5-4 margin. Marchese turned to freshman righthander Zarif Pajazetovic for the starting assignment and the Z-man came through with a complete game effort in his first varsity start that also proved to be his first varsity “W.”
McCarthy had two hits and Russo had three hits to account for the totality of the Everett offense, but the duo made them count. McCarthy delivered a two run triple in the fifth and Russo knocked him home with a base hit to key what would prove to be a game-winning, three-run rally. Russo also had a double for an RBI earlier in the contest.
The lone setback for Marchese’s crew came via an 11-8 defeat to Medford on Thursday that kept the Tide from clinching an outright GBL crown. Everett found itself on the short end of an 11-0 deficit early in the contest, but an eight run sixth frame made it a ballgame.
Mat Costello tossed two innings of shutout relief to keep Medford from doing more damage and delivered a two run base hit in the big sixth. Matt also walked and scored a run.
Concannon had two hits, two RBI, and a run, while Frank Cafarella went two for three with a run and an RBI.
Marchese and Company now stand at a fine 12-6 on the season and will wrap things up with two games this week, today (Wednesday) at Bentley College against Triton Regional and then Sunday afternoon at St. John’s Prep.
As for the GBL title picture, Everett is 6-2 in the league and Cambridge is 5-2. If Somerville should knock off Cambridge on Thursday, then Everett will be the outright champ.
The Crimson Tide then will await their tourney seeding and pairing from the MIAA later next week.