WAYLAND — The Shirley Jr. Legion baseball team opened a rugged stretch that will see them play 12 games in 18 days with an 8-6 victory on the road at Wayland.
Shirley’s pitching kept them in the game as Wayland hit just two balls squarely all night, and Paul Walter and Justin Roberts combined to allow just two walks in the contest.
Walter pitched into the fourth inning on a sweltering night and notched five strikeouts while walking only one. Justin Roberts came on and hurled four strong innings while recording six strikeouts and walking one. He was especially tough over the final two innings when he retired all six hitters he faced to secure the victory.
Shirley got off to a quick start and jumped into the lead with three runs in the top of the first as Matt Noel (Townsend), Josh Mihill (Pepperell) and Clayton Galeski (Harvard) all crossed home plate.
The visitors extended the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second when Walter scored, and appeared to be on its way to an easy win when Chris Canning ripped a long, two-run homer over the left field fence to extend the lead to 6-0 in the top of the third. Galeski, who had singled, came around to score on the blast.
Roberts and Mark Canning scored the other runs for Shirley, which was forced to survive a late comeback attempt by Wayland. The home team put together two-run innings in the third, fourth and fifth, before Roberts silenced them in the final two innings.
Galeski reached base four times in the contest with a single, two walks and a hit by pitch and scored a pair of runs. Chris Canning also enjoyed a productive offensive game by reaching base four times, on an error, two walks and his home run. Lunenburg’s Jimmy Basile chipped in with a single. Shirley did a solid job of scoring its eight runs with just five hits.
Defensive plays of note for Shirley included second baseman Nick Barry charging a slow roller, making the play bare-handed and firing to first base to nip the runner. Also, third baseman Noel showed off a strong arm as he rifled a throw to nail a Wayland runner at first base.
The victory improved Shirley to 5-2 for the season.