Legion ends decades-long drought vs. WalpoleBy Mike Berger
Canton American Legion Post 24 baseball historian, former head coach and general manager Bob “Brownie” Brown figures it was about 40 years ago that the team last beat Walpole. That’s why so many fans stood and applauded after Canton’s 4-2 victory at the Bird Middle School in Walpole Sunday evening.
“Walpole is so rich in baseball history by having such great high school and Legion teams,” said Canton head coach Greg Lyons, a former CHS baseball standout. “That’s why it was so special to beat Walpole on their home field.”
Canton’s Dave Roberto withstood a blown lead, and Brennan Sullivan delivered a clutch two-run, bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth inning to propel the team to the win.
The victory was the climax of a good week for the Canton team, which is now back to .500 (4-4) following wins over Brookline, Foxboro and Walpole. The team’s only loss of the week came against Medfield (7-1) on the road.
Roberto pitched Canton to two wins last week, and the other win came from CHS junior Jimmy Fitzgerald, who threw a solid game against Foxboro.
Lyons said the team improved its timely hitting with batters taking a more patient approach at the plate, working the count, and waiting for the right pitch to hit.
This was evident with Sullivan’s clutch hit against Walpole, as Sullivan worked the count to 3-2 before delivering a sharp single to score two runs.
Earlier in the game, Canton had taken a 1-0 lead when Matt Potts singled, went to second on an error, and scored on a single by Jake Fishman. The team then upped its lead to 2-0 when Steve Mullaney singled, advanced to third on Walpole’s second error, and came in to score on Potts’ sacrifice fly.
Walpole tied the game using “small ball,” as two sacrifice bunts around two walks turned into two Canton errors and eventually two Walpole runs. But to Canton’s credit, the team rallied in the top of the seventh around a Potts single, another Walpole error, and a walk to Justin Rudy. Rudy also had two hits in the game, including a long double where he was thrown out trying to advance to third.
In the Foxboro win, Fitzgerald pitched six shutout innings, scattering three hits while walking one and striking out four. Dan Friedman paced the offense with two RBIs, while Rudy, Sullivan, Drew Blake, and Fishman also contributed at the plate in the 4-2 win.
In the team’s 3-2 victory over Brookline, CHS sophomore Kevin O’Brien delivered the winning hit in the seventh inning, knocking in Chris Cammarata, who had led off the inning with a single.
The Legion team had another busy week with a home game Tuesday against Norwood, an away game Thursday at Needham, a home game Friday against Westwood, a makeup game Saturday at Medfield, and an away game Sunday at Franklin. The final game before the July 4 holiday will be played at home on Monday, July 2, against Norfolk at 5:45 p.m.
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