Malden Baseball Slams Salem Academy Out of The Park in Dominant Start to The Season

All Photos taken by Daniel O’Toole.

Captain Brandon McMahon celebrating with a teammate before an at-bat.

The turnover of spring is an eventful time at Malden High School as the Golden Tornados get their bats ready to play America’s Pastime. A rocky 4-16 season last spring placed a younger Malden down at 7th in the GBL, just ahead of Chelsea, but that’s the key difference between this season and last year: the team has grown their skills and matured into better ball players.

Head Coach Steve Freker complimented the team being “our most prepared team in the seven years since I’ve taken over.” Freker noted that this came from the work captains Brandon McMahon, Ryan Coggswell, Jake Simpson, and Ezechiel Noelsaint were able to put in the offseason along with the rest of the team. “The captains did a great job of organizing the kids and they were fortunate to get some space from Malden Recreation. Joe Levine allowed the captains to hold some workouts at the Salemwood School which has been very crucial for everyone.”

The energy and excitement surrounding the team appears to be at an all time high with “guys that really love to play baseball.” Freker added that “most of them play other sports but they come out here really fired up to play some good ball and win.” Winning is one of the major goals that Freker has instilled into his players, and they’ve made it clear “we didn’t have a great record last year, but these guys are really ready to win this season.”

“We didn’t have a great record last year, but these guys are really ready to win this season.”

Steve Freker

Two interesting statistics headlined opening day for the Golden Tornados that were used as motivation to dominate their opponent. Over his 38 years of coaching baseball, Coach Freker is 34-4 in opening day games and searching for his 35th season opener win. The second came as a shock to players and fans after MaxPreps gave Malden only a 4% chance of defeating the Salem Academy Navigators.

Outfielder Ezechiel Noelsaint prepares to take a swing at the ball.

The brisk winds wouldn’t slow down McMahon on the mound as he came out throwing heat and striking out all three batters he faced during the top of the 1st inning on counts of 0-3, 3-3, and another 0-3. This would only be a sign of more to come from Malden as their leadoff hitter Coggswell would shoot the ball into right-center field to pick up his first base hit of the day. Later, he would steal second and then third during Jake Simpson’s at bat. With a runner on third, McMahon slammed a double to deep left field to bring Coggswell home for Malden’s first run of the day. Noelsaint would join Coggwell in picking up a stolen base and scoring a run after a Timothy Melton RBI single.

Malden’s electric five-run first inning set the tone for how prepared they are for this season and McMahon would continue to paint the corners after only allowing a single and striking out the last batter. The bottom of the second wasn’t nearly as explosive for Malden with good pitching by Salem, but not much was needed from the Golden Tornados in order to protect their 5-0 lead.

The Navigators had a hard time finding the ball during the third inning with another three batters coming up and getting out with two of them striking out to McMahon and the other hitting the ball back up to McMahon where he would quickly dump the ball to first baseman Chris MacDonald.

Senior Timothy Melton looking to steal third base.

The ball couldn’t stop jumping off Noelsaint’s and Melton’s bats after they both picked up base hits with Melton throwing in an RBI. Noelsaint would tally two more stolen bases while on the bases along with Melton adding another for good measure. Malden’s next three batters couldn’t find the same success, but the Golden Tornados now held a strong 6-0 lead going into the fourth inning.

Catcher Robert Stead awaiting McMahon’s pitch.

Salem finally found success against McMahon after he let up a couple walks and an rbi double. The game started to look bleak for Malden after the next batter was hit by the pitch and reached first. Robert Stead, the team’s catcher, would meet up with McMahon to ease tension and hopefully get out of the jam. This proved to work for McMahon as he found his rhythm again and struck out the next three batters he faced. The Navigators now found themselves down 6-2, but Malden’s next inning would place the game out of reach.

Everything started after Coggswell had hit a line drive to deep left field and turned on the jets to score an inside-the-park homerun. McMahon would get another base hit and stole second and third during Stead’s at bat where his excellent vision would draw a walk. Noelsaint joined in on the party after he scorched a liner that landed just fair into the right field corner and ran in his very own inside-the-park homerun. McMahon and Stead both scored on the play, extending the lead. Malden would set themselves up nicely after Freshman Ryan McMahon, MacDonald, and Melton all reached base off singles. Sophomore Aidan Brett would bring them all home with a single swing of the bat to bolster Malden’s lead to 13-2 with an RBI triple. Malden’s last run of the inning would come off of an RBI made by junior Jake Simpson to make it a 14-2 lead for the Golden Tornados.

Relief Pitcher Jake Simpson throwing on the mound.

To give McMahon rest with the game well out of reach for Salem, Simpson would take the mound for the first time. It was rough first couple of batters for Simpson after hitting two, walking one, and allowing a hit to have the score at 14-3. Another quick mound meeting with Stead would allow Simpson to calm his nerves and strike out the next three batters.

Due to Malden being up double digit runs after the completion of five innings, the Mercy Rule was put in place and the game ended 14-3 after five innings.

Simpson talked about the weather being an important factor in the game and how, after he warmed up, “was able to come back and close out a tough game in that sense.” Noelsaint echoed the same feelings about the weather. “I’m not gonna lie, we were freezing over in the dugout, but they’re just as cold as us so we were just able to deal with it better.”

Noelsaint couldn’t be slowed down this game going 3-3 with 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBIs, and 3 SB, taking the Blue and Gold Co-Player of The Game alongside Brandon McMahon with 4 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, and 8 K on the hill while going 3-4 with 3 R, 1 RBI, and 3 SB.

Starting Pitcher Brandon McMahon launches a pitch while brother Ryan McMahon waits to field the ball.

Speaking on his dominance on the mound, McMahon talked on how “we’ve been practicing hard. I felt good today I went out there kind of set the tone for the rest of the team. I’m the captain. My job to go out there and show the young guys really had to come with the energy in the first game.” Stead thought that this game has set the tone for the Golden Tornados and their ability to “play a clean game all-around and hitting on all cylinders.”

Coggswell’s homerun really helped bring momentum back to the Golden Tornados after he described how they took their foot off the gas which “you can’t do against any team, no matter how good they are or how big of a lead you have.” Once he saw a pitch he liked, Coggswell “knew I had to start something. So I got it out there. Got that home run and all of a sudden all the guys were hyped up again and we’re getting moving.”

Malden and Salem Academy players meet at home plate after the game.

When asked if this performance is just the start for Malden, Noelsaint responded “No question about it. Just keep on doing what we do best and we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.” Stead added how “now that we’re older, we have to capitalize on our great play to reach that level we’re capable of.” McMahon finished by saying “we’ve been coming down here every day getting work done and hopefully that work will get us to the state tournament.”

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