Hosts are winners in first game of inaugural Tornado First Pitch Classic
Sophomore Ryan Coggswell’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning carried host Malden High varsity baseball to a 4-3, walk-off win over Salem Academy Charter School in the opening game of the Inaugural Golden Tornado First Pitch Classic.
The two teams were tied at 2-2 after regulation and Salem Academy scored a run in the top of the extra eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Malden freshman Aiden Brett led off the pivotal extra inning with a leadoff double down the left field line, just inside the third base bag.
Next up was another freshman, Bo Stead, who drew a six-pitch walk to keep the inning alive. A passed ball moved the runners up and after a strikeout, the sophomore leadoff hitter Coggswell came to the plate.
On a 1-1 pitch, Coggswell then delivered the biggest hit of his 3-hour old varsity career, a soft liner to left field that bounced in front of the Salem leftfielder. Brett scored easily to tie and when the fielder did not pick up the ball cleanly, Stead was waved in as well for the game winning run, sparking a wild celebration at the plate by Malden’s players.
“It was an exciting finish, that’s for sure,” said Malden sixth-year head coach Steve Freker. “We needed that big hit all day and we finally got it.”
Malden (1-1, 0-1 GBL) dropped its GBL opener to Everett on Monday (see separate story) and was scheduled to play Somerville Wednesday before the game was rained out. That game was rescheduled for yesterday and the result was not available by press deadline.
The story of the game aside from the dramatic finish was the pitching from both sides.
Salem’s pitcher, lefty Marc Dreisen, stranded a whopping 12 Malden baserunners, including eight in scoring position, as Malden had men on base all day but could not get them across home plate.
Malden’s pitching was superb, with Salem getting to starter Shai Cohen for two runs on two walks, a single and a groundout in the first inning, but nothing else the rest of the senior righty’s time on the mound into the fifth inning. Cohen allowed just five hits, walked three and struck out eight on the day.
Cohen worked out of a number of jams throughout the day, including two inning-ending strikeouts after starting innings with men on second and third, no outs.
Junior All-GBL Conference right-hander Brandon McMahon came in with one out in the fifth with a man on second and promptly escaped that problem with two strikeouts. He threw zeroes in the sixth and seventh and Malden tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs on a Cohen double.
Salem Academy scratched out a run in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead, but Malden roared right back with two runs to win it in the bottom of the inning.
“Both of our pitchers, Shai (Cohen) and Brandon (McMahon) did a great job and kept us in it to give us a chance to win,” Coach Freker said. “We just need one more win to take this tournament title in the first year we have held it.”
The third team in the Golden Tornado First Pitch Classic is the Chelsea High Red Devils. A Malden win in that second game of the tournament will give the Tornados the championship.