(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville Patch)
There were no clean innings Thursday afternoon for Somerville High starting pitcher Clyde Wayshak. Opponent Hyde Park put at least one runner on base every inning, but every time Wayshak and the Highlanders managed to escape with little damage.
In the seventh inning, all those base runners finally took their toll, and the made a rare mistake.
Wayshak and reliever Sammy Evers gave up five runs in that final inning – two unearned on an infield error – and the Highlanders fell to the Blue Stars, 6-4.
The Highlanders had taken a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning, but Wayshak allowed a leadoff triple to Hyde Park designated hitter Michael Gregorio, then walked the bases loaded.
With one down, Wayshak got right fielder Michael Pina to ground it back to Evers at shortstop. But Evers fielded the ball slowly and rushed his throw to junior varsity call-up Robbie Anderson covering second.
The throw short-hopped in front of Anderson and bounced into right field, allowing two runs to score, tying the game 3-3.
The Blue Stars took the lead when junior Anthony Aviles rolled a ball that Wayshak – now at shortstop – had to dive to field. Wayshak threw the ball home from his knees, but the ball came to late.
Evers allowed two bases loaded walks in the seventh – the Highlanders allowed 11 walks total – and the Highlanders came to bat in the bottom of the seventh down 6-3.
Somerville got one run back in the ninth, when senior captain Sean White drove in Anderson with a single, but with the bases loaded and two down, Hyde Park starter Ricky Gonzalez (complete game, three runs on three hits, five walks, two hit batters, seven strikeouts) got catcher Eddie Dias to ground it weakly back to the mound for the final out.
Up until the seventh, the Somerville defense had made several key plays in support of their starter. In the second, Highlander right fielder Robert Pratt threw out Pina trying to stretch a single into a double. Later in that inning, Wayshak caught center fielder Raymond Tejada in a rundown between first and second, and the tag was made before the run scored.
In the fourth, the Highlanders caught the Blue Stars in another rundown. Aviles had already stolen second and third base, but then broke for home on a missed bunt by second baseman Tre Barrows. Catcher Dias threw it to third baseman Justin Rumrill, who then threw it back home to nail Aviles.
The Blue Stars took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth on a deep single by Chris Baez, but the Highlanders answered in the bottom of the same inning. Evers led off the inning with a walk and took second on a thrown-away pickoff attempt. After another walk, Anderson knocked in Evers with a double to the gap in left-center, tying the game 1-1.
The Highlanders scored again in the fifth when Hyde Park catcher Jesse Valdez dropped a strikeout and had to throw to first to retire left fielder Pat Tracy, then again when Anderson stole third and the throw sailed into right field.
After the game, Wayshak was visibly frustrated with a loss that was within the Highlanders’ grasp, only to slip away in the final inning. He muttered “a routine ground ball” repeatedly and kicked his batting helmet several times. He finished the game going 6.1 innings, giving up five earned runs – three earned – on seven hits, eight walks and nine strikeouts.
“I thought my velocity was good, my control could’ve used a little more work,” Wayshak said. He added that he thought he rushed some of his pitches.
“I was frustrated at times,” he said. “I wanted to get through the innings so fast and just try to get in and hit. I think I should just take my time next time.”
Coach Mike Powers said the goal for the Highlanders is to take the loss in stride.
“Forget the loss, it’s a short season, move onto the next game,” Powers said. “You can’t hold onto them. If you do, they’re just gonna keep hanging over.”