Grafton gives due to Wilson; Mascot eases stress in comeback win.
MILLBURY - The Grafton Major League All-Stars continued their thrill ride through the tournament season, pulling out another come-from-behind victory, 12-5, over Seekonk in a state Major Section 2 game at Thomas Moorey Park in Millbury.
Little did the Seekonk players know they were facing more than the team from Grafton. They were also battling the powers of Wilson, the surrogate team mascot.
Found during the District 5 Tournament all alone on a pitcher's mound, the baseball Wilson (those of you who remember Tom Hanks' movie "Castaway" will get the reference) provides a combination of stress relief and energy.
"(Wilson) helps us to have fun and stay loose, which definitely helps late in games," Grafton manager Steve Holbrook said.
After winning in walk-off style on Thursday over Hanover, 5-4, the kids from Grafton faced another hole entering the fourth.
Leading 4-1, Grafton saw Seekonk score four runs in the bottom of the third, the big blow being a three-run homer by Matt Bourque, to take a 5-4 lead. Grafton manufactured a run to tie the game. Ethan Farrah reached on an error, advanced to third on a wild pitch and infield out and scored on Cam O'Toole's sacrifice fly to right.
David Toscano then gave Grafton the lead for good, blasting a towering shot deep over the centerfield fence.
"I was looking for a fastball and swung as hard as I could," Toscano said. "We had a rhythm going and I wanted to take the lead."
Grafton continued its offensive onslaught of eight unanswered runs to end the game. In the fifth, Grafton loaded the bases on two walks, which sandwiched a strikeout and a hit-by-pitch.
Mike Dwyer was robbed of a base hit by shortstop Josh Machado, who was able to get a force at third, but it allowed Josh Dubuque to score from third. O'Toole followed with a sharp single up the middle to score Farrah for an 8-5 lead.
In the sixth, Grafton padded the lead with an RBI single by Josh Deely, Matt Holbrook scored after a dropped third strike, Farrah delivered an RBI double and Dwyer ended the scoring with an RBI single.
Farrah, despite struggling through the third, had a strong outing. He pitched 5-2/3 innings, allowed 7 hits and 5 runs, walked 2 and struck out 7. His only other mistake was a leadoff homer to Terry Smith in the bottom of the first.
"I knew my defense was going to make plays and no matter how many runs I gave up, I knew our offense would come back and get more," Farrah said.
Holbrook, Farrah and Toscano all mentioned the energy the team brings to each game as a top quality of the team. They hope to bring that energy when they play Middleboro today at 11 a.m. in Millbury. A win would put them in the section championship, while a loss could make the picture muddled, depending what happens in today's Seekonk-Hanover game.
Maybe a little "Wilson" karma will help too.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA
CUTLINE: (1) Grafton catcher Cam O'Toole is unable to corral the throw as Seekonk's Matt Bourque slides in with a second-inning score. (2) Grafton pitcher Ethan Farrah reacts as Seekonk's Matt Bourque circles the bases after hitting a three-run homer. Grafton went on to win the Little League Sectional matchup. A slideshow from the game can be seen at www.telegram.com/sports.