vs. Wilbraham & Monson Academy
|Date:||May 17, 2015|
Mission Accomplished! Salisbury Wins WNEPBL Championship
Salisbury, CT –In a season filled with exciting walk-off victories, the Salisbury baseball team saved maybe their best for last in winning a thrilling game against Wilbraham & Monson 4-3 to stake their claim as the best team in the WNEPBL this season. It was the second consecutive day a massive pile of players congregated on the infield to celebrate another unbelievable win. Today the hero was Sam Brioso ’16, who singled home Connor Perry ’15 on a bloop single to right center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Perry, who was forced to hold up around third until the ball actually hit the ground, slid into home to score the winning run as the Wilbraham & Monson throw from the outfield sailed right of home plate. Hugs and high-fives among the players and coaches ensued on the field after the game, celebrating a journey that began in late February practicing in the gym while two feet of snow sat outside and ended on a warm, bright, sunny day in May.
Things got off to a great start for Salisbury. Starting pitcher Spencer Langdon ’15 held Wilbraham & Monson scoreless in the top half of the first. Leading off for Salisbury in the bottom of the inning was Dante Latessa ’16, who promptly laced a single to center. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Brioso, and then to third on a passed ball, Latessa scored when Riley Hebert ’15 launched a deep fly ball to center to score Latessa tagging from third base. The teams would trade zeroes the next two innings as both pitchers were impressive in keeping the batters off-balance. Wilbraham & Monson would tie the game up at one in the top of the fourth inning, but Langdon did a superb job of preventing a big inning. As they did all day, Salisbury answered Wilbraham & Monson’s rally with one of their own, scoring two more in the bottom of the fourth. The first three batters got on base quickly via a single by Brioso, a hit by pitch to Hebert and a walk to George Hewitt ’15. David Cahn ’15 would earn an RBI next by drawing another walk to force home Brioso. Two batters later Hebert would score on a bases loaded walk to Rich Gilbride ’16 as well.
Salisbury would hold a 3-1 lead until the top of the seventh when Wilbraham & Monson scored two runs to tie the game. They threatened to take the lead with two outs and a runner on third, but the shortstop Gilbride would have none of it as he came up with a clutch field and throw on a tricky ground ball to narrowly nab the batter at first, killing the rally and setting up the eventual fireworks in the bottom of the inning.
Perry led off the seventh inning with a base hit and quickly moved to second on a wild pitch. After the next batter Ian Trenchard ’17 walked, he was forced out on a fielder’s choice to second on a ball hit by Latessa. With fans and players from both sides cheering on their teams, it was Brioso who stepped up next to end the game and allow Salisbury to hoist the championship trophy.
It was Salisbury’s fourth consecutive WNEPBL title and head coach John Toffey’s fifth in his six years as head coach. As coach Toffey prepares for new adventures in his coaching career next year, he leaves behind a legacy that is unrivaled in the history of the school. As one of the top, if not the top baseball programs not just in New England, but in the country, he compiled an incredible record (pending the outcome of tomorrow’s final game versus Hotchkiss) of 108 wins, 8 losses, and 1 tie in his six seasons as head coach of Salisbury. He won five WNEPBL titles and also oversaw several players drafted in the MLB amateur draft and many more go on to play college baseball.
Salisbury will conclude its season tomorrow when they take on crosstown rival Hotchkiss in Salisbury at 4:30pm. Come out and support the team in their season finale!