Photo: Junior Cole Bartels pitching Belmont to first-round victory over Wilmington.
Belmont High School Baseball played its best game of the season at the most opportune time as the Marauders handed hosts Wilmington High School Wildcats an 8-1 loss in a first-round of the Division 3 North Sectional playoffs played under sunny skies on Thursday afternoon, June 4.
Belmont’s battery, junior right-hander Cole Bartels and sophomore catcher Cal Christofori, led the way as Bartels kept the Wildcats silent for all but the third inning, striking out 10 during his six inning stretch on the mound.
“It was great. I could find my spot and threw hard,” said Bartels after the game.
Christofori went three for four at the plate with an RBI triple in the third to bring in Belmont first run before scoring the Marauders second run on an error. Christofori finished the game in relief of Bartels.
“We did the little things; get your bat on the ball and good things will happen,” said Belmont’s long-time Head Coach Joe Brown, winning a first-round post season game for the third consecutive year.
“We really were focused since the end of the season and we’ve had some great practices,” said Brown of the error- free effort by his defense behind Bartels.
Next up for Belmont (12-9) is a match up with number one seed Danvers High which sports a 18-3 record, after disposing of Tewksbury, 7-0, on Thursday.
The game will take place at Twi Field in Danvers at 4 p.m., Monday, June 8.
“I’ve coached against [Danvers’] Roger Day six or seven times and he’s gotten the better of me most times,” said Brown. “I expect a lot of small ball and quality baseball on Monday.”
Belmont broke open the game in the fourth after surrounding a run in the bottom of the third, getting to the Wildcat’s ace, southpaw Jackson Gillis, with Christofori sending home Bartels, then coming home on the error. Third base Nick Call scored the third run on shortstop Nick Riley’s double.
The Marauders’ scraped together a run in the fourth as center fielder Ben Goodwin scampered home on Christofori’s second RBI.
But the rally ended after Call ripped a Gillis fastball into the left center gap. Since Wilmington High could not use its new baseball field due to the construction of the new school building limited parking, the game was played at a middle school field which does not have an outfield fence. Had a barrier stopped the ball, it would have been unlikely Call would have tried to stretch a double into a triple. An outstanding throw from the outfield caught Call before Christofori crossed home.
The Marauders provided the knockout punch with three in the fifth inning, highlighted by Goodwin’s two-out, two-run double, scoring juniors Trevor Kelly and Matt Kerans.
It was then up to Bartels to secure the win, as he made quick work of the heart of the Wildcat lineup in the sixth.
“[Bartels] was phenomenal today. He had his control on,he was mowing guys down. He pitched out of a jam early and then was untouchable,” said Brown.