MILLBURY, Mass.- The Millbury boys baseball team rode a fantastic performance at the plate by Ryan Ward and very solid pitching of Luke Bernard to thrash Oxford High 12-3 on Saturday afternoon at Millbury High.
The Woolies (5-2), fresh off a 13-4 rout of Tantasqua on Friday afternoon, are finding their stride, winning their fourth game in a row and once again their bats came alive early as they put the pressure on Oxford and never looked back.
No one's bat was better than Ward's as the eighth grader drove in five runs on the day. He was grinding out at bats and hitting the ball hard every time he came up. Bernard gave another solid performance on the mound. Going six innings and giving up only one run, he mixed his speeds well and generally had very good location as he kept Oxford off-balance all game.
Millbury struck quickly in the first for a run when after two quick outs, Bernard drew a walk, Mike Valastro was hit by a pitch and Ward drove in the first of his RBIs with a sharp single to right to make it 1-0. Millbury left the bases loaded however, and it seemed they may have let Oxford (8-2) off the hook.
But those questions were put to bed early in the second inning as they drew two leadoff walks and never let up grinding out at-bats, drawing walks, getting another hit batsmen, as well as timely hitting. Ward drove in another run, as did Anthony DiSteffano with a hard single to center. When the inning was over Millbury was up 7-0 and the rout was on.
But the Woolies kept the heat on in the third inning, adding three more runs to make it 10-1. This time Bernard, helping his own cause, laced a long triple to right that may have gone out on another day but the stiff wind knocked the ball down. Regardless, Bernard's triple drove in two more runs to make it 9-1. Ward followed with another hard single to center for another RBI to make it 10-1 and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
With a new Oxford pitcher Dennis Snead in, the Woolies added two more runs in the fifth. With a run already in on a wild pitch, with Valastro on first taking a big lead, Snead threw over four times to keep him close. The fifth time the throw sailed into short right field and Valastro went all the way to third which was a big mistake putting a man in scoring position with Ward at the plate as he then roped a line drive to left to drive in yet another run to make it 12-1.
Oxford would add two un-earned runs in the seventh off an error caused by the high winds in center that made outfield play all game an adventure for both teams. Zach Richard, who came in for the Woolies in the seventh, otherwise looked pretty good coming on in relief.
Overall, things are really looking up for Ron Silvestri's Woolies. After dropping two close games in a row early, they've ripped off four straight wins and their bats are really coming alive.
The Woolies play next on Monday afternoon at home against Auburn. Game time is 3:30 p.m.