The Needham High School Rockets baseball team hadn’t even picked up a ball or bat for a week because of inclement weather. However, with no rain in the forecast on Friday, the Rockets welcomed the Weymouth Wildcats to and earned their 10th win of the season, securing a spot in the upcoming MIAA Division I tournament.
“It’s always good to get the one to get qualified, but we’ve got a few more [games] to go,” Needham head coach John Freitas said after his team's win. “That was one of the goals. I think everybody had that goal and we reached it. We’ll try to win maybe two or three more and maybe get a home [game in the playoffs].”
Needham set the tone early when Brad Holland scored on an overthrow in the bottom of the first inning, which was then followed up by a few more runs during the bottom of the fourth, as Brian McKittrick and David Coffman hit back-to-back RBIs to give Needham a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Besides Needham’s early offensive effort, pitcher Nate Brown tossed eight solid innings, keeping the Weymouth bats silent for six of them until the Wildcats' offense exploded during the top of the ninth inning. Cam McLevidge, Steve Bristol and Sam McKay would be the only Wildcats to touch all four bases during the final frame of the game before Rockets reliever Colin Fanelli was called in to strike out Pat Murray and secure the victory for Needham.
“We didn’t quit and I guess that’s a good sign, but when you spot a good team five runs that’s not a good thing,” Weymouth head coach Jim Dolan said. “We battled back and [Nate Brown] has done a great job against us in both starts this year, but we didn’t quit and we’ll keep battling. We’ve got to win three out of the last four to get into the tournament, so we’ll see what happens.”
“Obviously [Nate Brown] didn’t quite get his third complete game in four starts, but he came damn close, so that was a good sign,” Freitas said. “He got us that far into the game and Colin coming in at the end, [who] has been under the weather the past few days, did what he had to do. It was a nice finish.”
Needham will return to the diamond on Sunday, when they travel to Norwood High School for a 7:00 p.m. first pitch against the Mustangs. Again, the Rockets are in the playoffs, but with a few additional wins next week to wrap up their regular season, it’s certainly possible that the MIAA would grant Needham at least one home playoff game under the lights of .