Div. 5 baseball: Greenfield knocks off Bourne, 7-3, to keep magical run going into semifinals (PHOTOS)

The Greenfield baseball team mobs pitcher Caleb Thomas after the last out of the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

The Greenfield baseball team mobs pitcher Caleb Thomas after the last out of the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

The Greenfield baseball team celebrates the final out of their 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

The Greenfield baseball team celebrates the final out of their 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s John Marchefka (2), Michael Pierce and Deven Dubie hold up the Final Four trophy after the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s John Marchefka (2), Michael Pierce and Deven Dubie hold up the Final Four trophy after the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

The Greenfield baseball team shows off its Final Four banner following their 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

The Greenfield baseball team shows off its Final Four banner following their 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Caleb Thomas (12) throws a pitch against Bourne during his team’s 7-3 win  in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Caleb Thomas (12) throws a pitch against Bourne during his team’s 7-3 win in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield first baseman Nick Prasol, right, hauls in an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field during his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

Greenfield first baseman Nick Prasol, right, hauls in an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field during his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield catcher Luca Siano celebrates after helping turn a 1-2-3 double play during the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

Greenfield catcher Luca Siano celebrates after helping turn a 1-2-3 double play during the team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s John Marchefka (2) beats out an infield single on a bunt attempt during his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s John Marchefka (2) beats out an infield single on a bunt attempt during his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday at Vets Field in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Caleb Thomas celebrates after reaching third base in the third inning of his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday.

Greenfield’s Caleb Thomas celebrates after reaching third base in the third inning of his team’s 7-3 win over Bourne in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By GEORGE MILLER

For the Recorder

Published: 06-08-2024 5:59 PM

Modified: 06-09-2024 7:08 PM


GREENFIELD — Facing an early three-run deficit right out of the gate Saturday, the picture for Greenfield baseball looked remarkably similar to last year's MIAA Division 5 state quarterfinal.

In 2023, Bourne jumped the Green Wave for an 8-1 quarterfinal victory, then won twice more to cop the Division 5 state title. This year's rematch at Veterans Memorial Field featured two different-looking teams and a polar-opposite outcome. The Wave brushed off Bourne's 3-0 advantage after only half an inning and strung together the final seven runs of the game to overtake the Canalmen, 7-3.

Caleb Thomas went the distance on a five-hitter with five strikeouts for 15th-seeded Greenfield (13-10) and had two of his team's seven hits, including an RBI double in the third inning that gave the hosts the lead for good and on the way to its 10th win in the last 12 games.

"At the beginning of the game, I was just nervous. Around the second inning, I just got wicked confident, and pulled through and pitched," said Thomas. "When I hit that (double), I knew he wasn't catching that. That kind of brought the drive for us in that inning and brought us back in the game.

"It's been amazing. I love these guys, they're my family. The more we play, the closer we get, and I think we can make it all the way now."

For the first time since 2013 – that coming in Division 2 – the Green Wave advanced to the state semifinals and will meet third-seeded Boston English (21-2) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Assumption University in Worcester.

“Most high school teams, you're down three runs, it's pretty tough to come back," said Greenfield coach Tom Suchanek. "But I give these guys credit. They were into it, they came back, tied it up, went ahead, and scored a few more to make it real difficult for them to come back.

"Starting out the way we did, 3-8 [record], (the state semifinals) wasn't something I was giving a lot of credence to at the time. But after a few discussions with everybody, they kind of turned it around and played well. They're a pretty good, close group of kids. They really pull for each other."

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Bourne went 18-7 last season on its way to a state championship, but this year's Canalmen dropped their last 10 regular-season games and brought a 3-17 record into postseason play. With its high-level strength of schedule, Bourne still pulled a No. 23 seed in the Division 5 bracket and made its way through the first three rounds, beating Gateway, Westport and Mount Greylock to earn a quarterfinal rematch with Greenfield.

Suchanek pointed to some early crossups between Thomas and catcher Luca Siano for Bourne's first-inning uprising. Thomas hit leadoff man Ty Kelley with a pitch and Bryce Young singled through the shortstop hole to put men at first and second. Luca Finton then boomed a triple to deep center field, driving in both runs, and Finton came on to score himself shortly afterward when Thomas was called for a balk.

Thomas recovered to get the next three outs, the start of a string of seven straight men retired. He issued back-to-back one-out walks to Young and Finton in the third before inducing a 4-3 double-play grounder off the bat of Trevor Billard, which started another stretch of eight straight Bourne hitters set down.

Greenfield got to Bourne starter Young in the second on a leadoff single from Thomas, who stole second, and one-out walks to Nick Prasol and Arthur Fitzpatrick to fill the bases. No. 9 hitter Preston Lafleur spiked a single to right-center, glancing off the glove of diving right fielder Cooper Gobeil, to score Thomas with the Wave's first run.

Prasol and Fitzpatrick each moved up a base and Deven Dubie's grounder to second forced Lafleur as Prasol came home to make it 3-2. Dubie then broke from first to initiate a rundown between first and second, with Fitzpatrick delaying his move from third. The throw home was in the dirt and got away as Fitzpatrick found the plate with the tying run. Dubie ended up at third after the error and Chase Zraunig kept the line moving with a walk, but with John Marchefka batting, another attempt at a double steal failed as second baseman Tobin Johnston gunned out Dubie at home on a tag from catcher James Crowell.

Griffin Kelly replaced Young on the mound for Bourne to start the Greenfield third and Marchefka, who was at the plate as the second inning ended, drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Michael Pierce popped to second, but Thomas shot a double to left field, boxed around for an error, allowing Thomas to get to third and Marchefka to cross with the lead run. Kelly then set down the next two Wave batters.

In the Wave fifth, Zraunig led off with a single to short right, prompting another Bourne pitching change from Kelly to Finton. Marchefka dropped a bunt down the first-base line and reached safely, while the ball was dropped at first base to allow Zraunig to move up to third. Marchefka swiped second base and Pierce rang the bell with a double up the gap in right-center, plating Zraunig and Marchefka to make it 6-3. Thomas then hit the ball hard for the third time, but directly at second baseman Johnston who doubled Pierce off second, and Finton struck out Siano to end the inning.

The Canalmen's last major threat came in the sixth, with one-out hits by Finton and Billard and Crowell reaching on an error to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Thomas induced a bouncer back to the mound by Ryan Sullivan, the start of a 1-2-3 double play as Finton was forced at home and Siano's return to throw to Prasol at first nipped Sullivan.

Greenfield tacked on a vital insurance run in the sixth when pinch-hitter Malik Moore walked with one out and stole second. Dubie then looped a single into short left-center, between three converging Bourne defenders, to score Moore.

In the seventh, Thomas put the wraps on his complete-game effort. Griffin Kelly walked to lead off, then after back-to-back outs, Ty Kelley singled to center to put men at first and second. Thomas then fanned Young to close it out and propel the Wave into its first semifinal appearance in 11 years.

Thomas threw 85 pitches Saturday while walking three, one intentionally, hitting a batter and striking out five.

"I took that really personal," said the junior of the Green Wave's opportunity for payback after the 2023 loss at Bourne. "I came into this game wanting to send them home, and make them feel how we felt last year on that four-hour bus ride."