By Ed Niser
WORCESTER — For the first time in program history, the Groton-Dunstable baseball team is heading to a state final.
The undefeated Crusaders romped to an 8-1 victory over Western Mass. champion Wahconah in Tuesday’s state semifinal at Tivnan Field for its 22nd consecutive win. Groton-Dunstable chased Wahconah starter Gage Frazier after 4 1/3 innings.
The Crusaders will face the winner of Wednesday’s North/South semifinal between North Reading and East Bridgewater. The state final will be at Fitton Field in Worcester, the time to be determined.
The Crusaders put the game out of reach in the seventh with three insurance runs on four hits.
Senior designated hitter Justin Watt led the Crusaders at the plate with a two-run triple in the fourth inning, while senior first baseman Patrick Keating was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Groton-Dunstable out-hit Wahconah 9-4.
“I knew we had talent coming into this season,” said Watt. “You could tell that we had something special with the group of guys we have. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Groton-Dunstable’s pitching staff continues to show the dominance it had in the regular season throughout the playoffs.
Through four games this postseason, the Crusaders have allowed an average of 0.75 runs.
“We definitely wanted to score first, and obviously playing from ahead is a lot more fun than chasing runs,” said Groton-Dunstable head coach Matt LeBlanc. “I think that when you get that run, guys realize, ‘Hey, we are here — we can do this.’ They’ve never wavered — undefeated. This team (Wahconah) was coming here to end our season — we weren’t having it.”
Junior fireballer Joe Simeone struck out 10 batters over six innings, allowing four hits and walking three.