Westfield halts great ride as Marblehead baseball’s season ends in Sweet 16

After upsetting fourth-seeded Hopkinton in the Division 2 Round of 32 state tournament, the Marblehead Baseball Magicians (7-6 in the Northeastern Conference, 12-8 overall in the regular season, 2-1 in the postseason) went a little bit further west to play a Sweet 16 game against the Westfield Bombers (13-8, 20th seed) at Bullens Field on June 8, only to lose the close battle, 4-1.

The Bombers then lost their Elite 8 game to Whitman-Hanson (19-4, fifth seed), 5-0. 

“We played a tough game but needed to play near perfect baseball to beat them,” said coach Mike Giardi after the Westfield game. “Four infield hits and some walks, plus a couple of errors, proved costly for us.  On the other side of the field, Westfield was flawless and was able to capitalize on some key situations that led to two runs in the first and one each in the fourth and fifth for added insurance. But overall, we had a great run.” 

Ian Maude pitched the first five innings against Westfield, giving up seven hits, three walks and four runs, but only three were earned. He fanned five. Ace closer Chris Cannuscio then threw a perfect sixth inning, striking out the side in another dominating performance. 

Marblehead head coach Mike Giardi, third from left, talks to pitcher Drew Whitman and the infield in the fifth inning during a MIAA Division 2 Round of 32 tournament game against Hopkinton June 5. CURRENT PHOTO/KEN McGAGH 

The Magicians did trim the deficit in half in the third, when they scored their lone run of the game. The visitors were credited with only three hits, led by Maude with a double. Riley Schmitt knocked in that lone Marblehead run with a single. Matt Mahan also chipped in with a base hit. 

Hopkinton shocker 

The Marblehead boys started the Division 2 state tournament as the 29th seed, and after outlasting visiting Somerville, 13-11, in a preliminary round game, they had to go on a long-distance road trip to Hopkinton to take on the aforementioned fourth-seeded Hillers (14-7) on June 5, and they promptly doubled up the home team, 8-4. 

Marblehead scored the first run of the game right away in the opening stanza and added four more in the second to lead, 5-0.  

“But Hopkinton didn’t go away easily,” Giardi said. “They kept on tacking on runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, while we were able to pad our lead some more in the fifth with three big runs.” 

Pitcher Drew Whitman allowed three runs — two earned — four hits and four walks over the first 4.2-innings. He fanned one. 

Cannuscio, Marblehead’s ace closer, followed Whitman to the mound and threw the final 2.1 innings to secure the victory. He gave up just one unearned run and one hit while whiffing two to record the save.  

The Marblehead offense banged out nine hits. Bodie Bartram helped pace the attack with two singles and a walk. He drove home one run and also scored once. Schmitt was credited with two singles against the Hillers. He knocked in one run, and he scored one run. 

Stefan Shepard collected one double, the lone extra-base hit for the visitors in this game, and scored twice. Brooks Keefe, Whitman and Mahan all singled in one run apiece. Jake Scogland chipped in with one single.

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