It was a chilly but sunny day at the Maplewood Baseball Field as Malden took on Salem Academy.
For Malden, pitcher Shai Cohen started the game, giving up two runs on two hits and a couple of walks. Salem Academy was also able to advance with a stolen base. Cohen was able to end the inning with two strikeouts and a pop-up.
In the top of the 2nd inning, Cohen started to warm up, striking out one more and not letting any runs.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Cohen helped himself out by hitting a triple. Samuel Ortega, a Senior, was able to keep up the momentum, driving in a run, making the score 2-1 Salem.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Junior Brandon McMahon was walked by the pitcher. During Cohen’s at-bat, McMahon was able to steal second base, which proved helpful when Cohen was able to hit a double and allowed McMahon to come home, making the score 2-2. Unfortunately for Malden, Ortega and Sophomore Zeke Noelsaint struck out, but Cohen was able to reach 3rd after stealing a base. After two more walks that loaded the bases, Malden was not able to capitalize after Senior Jordan Rodriguez struck out, ending the inning.
With the best chances they have had all game to win, Malden entered the bottom of the 7th inning only needing one run to close out the game. After a rocky start, Sophomore Ryan Coggswell hit a fly ball that was caught by Salem. Jake Simpson, a sophomore, picked up the slack by getting to first and then stealing second. McMahon then walked, but Cohen struck out during his at-bat. Salem looked like they were about to break after they let another batter in Ortega walk and let the bases become loaded. Noelsaint hit a fantastic ball and Simpson looked like he had the game-sealing score, but Noelsaint’s ball was caught, ending the inning and forcing the game to go into extra innings.
Salem Academy, with another opportunity to win, sent Waldy Sanchez, a senior out to hit and shot the ball into the outfield which produced a double. Kagan LeClare, a junior struck out, but as Emilio Saez, an 8th grader, is at-bat, Sanchez advanced to third base in the chaos. Emilio walked and Angel Santiago, a freshman, hit a shot down the left-field line, but when Cohen tried to grab it, he fell, leaving the shortstop to pick up the slack, but they were too late. Sanchez scored a run and Emilio advanced to third making the score 3-2 Salem Academy. Fortunately for Malden, Danny Silk, a freshman, struck out, but now to stay in the game they had to score at least one run, and to win, they needed to score two runs.
With fire lit inside of them, Malden roared into the bottom of the eighth after Freshman Aidan Brett hit the ball into left field, making it to 2nd. When Stead was up at bat, Brett stole 3rd base and then Stead walked. Rodriguez came up to the plate and he struck out. Knowing what was on the line, Coggswell stepped up to the plate and drove a shot into the outfield, letting Brett make it home to tie the score. Stead continued to rush as fast as he could toward home, pushing himself as hard as he could. He was safe home, ending the game in victory for Malden with a final score of 4-3.
All photos by Liam O'Toole.