Gallery: Stoughton Legion Baseball Reaches Season’s Midpoint
A pair of wins over Jamaica Plain, including a 7-3 victory over JP in the team’s most recent contest, highlight the first half of the season for the Stoughton Legion baseball team.
Article by Eric Shulman; Photos by Jeffrey Pickette
The young Stoughton Legion Post 89 baseball team has reached the midpoint of its 22-game regular season. Despite some outstanding individual achievements, Stoughton sits at 2-9 in the very tough District 6 East Division. Obstacles that include inexperience and injuries have not diminished the fighting spirit and effort of this improving Stoughton team.
Despite the 2-9 record, Stoughton has remained competitive.
“We could easily have four wins under our belt right now,” Stoughton coach Jim Derochea said. “From the outside, it seems like the breaks always go against us, but I believe that good teams need to find ways to create their own breaks. Once this young team makes that adjustment, we are going to be a very tough team to play against.”
Stoughton has played its best against Jamaica Plain this season. The team captured its first win at Jamaica Plain, 4-2, on June 11, and picked up its second win against the same Jamaica Plain team, 7-3, on June 27.
Stoughton halted its seven-game losing streak with the most recent win against Jamaica Plain, improving to 2-9.
Mike Gallagher pitched his second consecutive complete game, allowing only two earned runs and four hits. Gallagher also had two hits and scored two runs. Pat Raeke led the offense with a single, double, triple, a walk and an RBI in four at bats. Jack Kane went one-for-one with three walks, Kaleb Ballou had two hits and two RBIs. Myles Comeau and Zach Gibb also had RBIs.
“This time we didn’t lose a close game in the late innings,” Derochea said. “We kept the pedal to the metal instead of waiting for the game to come to us.”
Stoughton broke open a 2-2 game with three runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth inning.
The Jamaica Plain game capped a stretch of three games in four nights for Stoughton.
On June 24 Stoughton let a win slip away from its grasp in the final innings at Holbrook, suffering another one-run defeat, 4-3, the third such loss of the season (the team also has a pair of two-run losses).
Kane, an incoming senior for Thayer Academy, was superb, pitching a complete game, allowing only five hits while striking out eight.
Stoughton led, 2-0, but Holbrook came back to take a 3-2 lead entering the final inning (the seventh). Raeke, along with Gallagher and Werman, had two hits including a game-tying single in the seventh.
Unfortunately, Stoughton’s defense let them down with two errors that led to Holbrook scoring the game-winner in another bitter defeat for Stoughton.
After a rainout this past Monday against Milton, the two teams met on the following night, June 26, in a makeup game at Stoughton. Stoughton was without Alex Fernandes and Pat Jackman, its two top hitters, but as usual battled, tied 2-2 in the fourth inning.
But fielding errors helped lead to seven Milton runs in the fourth and fifth innings, en route to an 11-2 loss for Stoughton. Stoughton committed seven errors in the game and only two of Milton’s runs were earned. Gallagher had three hits and Kane had two for Stoughton.
“We have a great attitude and effort, but we seem to always have an inning where we have some fundamental breakdowns, and that’s alright, but we get all nervous and it gets worse and worse, and we take ourselves right out of the game. It’s something we have to stop and we need to show more confidence and pick each other up and stay in the game emotionally,” Stoughton coach Jim Derochea said.
“We can play against any of these teams, but when we reach a rough patch in the game we have to learn to keep each other up and not hurt ourselves any further.”
Fernandes, a Stoughton High School graduate has been a bright spot for the team with his pitching, defense, speed and his team-leading batting average of over .450.
Jackman, who recently completed his junior year for the Stoughton High varsity team is a very special player, with an average above .360 to go along with a team-leading eight steals in just six games played.
Other top hitters include young incoming juniors Ballou and Werman, both hitting over .300. Raeke, an incoming junior has had two multi-hit games. Kyle Phillips and Will McGrath are returning players and have also improved steadily at the dish. Brian Crimmins, the youngest player on the roster, has seen time behind the plate at catcher and recently chipped in with a two-hit game as well.
Stoughton will next be in action, and start the second half of its schedule, Friday at Braintree, followed by a Sunday game at Quincy and a July 2 contest at Cohasset before the July 4th break.