Wahconah Baseball Repeats as Western Mass Champ
AMHERST, Mass. -- Do not bet against Wahconah senior Ethan Forfa.
He sure did not.
With his team down by a run in the bottom of the third inning of Saturday's Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game, Forfa went ahead in the count, 3-0, with men on first and second.
Instead of going the safe route, Forfa ripped a double that scored both runs and sent Wahconah on to an 8-4 win over Mount Greylock and a second straight sectional crown at the University of Massachusetts' Lorden Field.
"It was 3-0, so I figured they were coming with a fastball down the middle," Forfa said. "I said, 'I don't know.' I figured I'd just take the chance. If I get out, I'm getting ripped a new one. If I get a hit, I'm a hero. I hit that ball, and it felt great.
"It's the Western Mass Championship. You've got to have that killer instinct, you know?"
In this case, it was kill or be killed.
"That double? No," Wahconah coach Rob Cowdrey said with a laugh when asked if he gave Forfa the green light on 3-0. "Actually, I told him that if he popped out, I would have killed him. But it was such a big hit for us that you can't get mad at the guy."
Forfa was the man all afternoon for Wahconah, going the distance on the mound despite a rocky start that saw Mount Greylock jump out to a 3-0 lead before Wahconah had an at-bat.
"Give credit to Mount Greylock," Cowdrey said. "They came out hungry. They came out knowing they were going to face Forfa, and they were ready for it. That showed right from the start. They were able to capitalize when he wasn't sharp.
"But we're fighters. That's the one thing we've continued to do all season is never give up. We just kept battling, and it paid off."
Wahconah will take that fighting spirit into the state semi-finals on Tuesday afternoon against Central Mass champion Auburn.
In Saturday's meeting of the last two Western Mass D3 champs, 2015 champ Mount Greylock got the upper hand early.
Reece Gillette tripled to drive in a pair of runs and scored on Cole Wojtkowksi’s single to give the Mounties a 3-0 lead.
Wahconah got one back in the bottom of the frame, but Mount Greylock tacked on a run to go ahead, 4-1, going to the bottom of the third.
Austin Cancilla led off with a single to left, and after a Mount Greylock got one out, Bob Archambault drew a walk and Ty Cowdrey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Will Genaway grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Cancilla, making it 4-2.
Then Joe Woronick legged out an infield single to score Archambault and keep the inning alive.
“Joe's always been a horse all year,” Forfa said. “He's a sophomore. He doesn't have that much experience on varsity, but he's really stepped up.”
Forfa then doubled to give Wahconah a 5-4 lead and later scored on Patrick Butler’s single before Mount Greylock could get out of the inning.
Wahconah was able to extend its 6-4 lead with single runs in the fourth and sixth while Forfa put up goose eggs the rest of the way.
He ended up with seven strikeouts against five walks and seven hits. Offensively, Wahconah got doubles from Forfa and Dane Campbell and two RBIs apiece from Archambault, Woronick and Forfa.
Gillette went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, and Zach Condon doubled for Mount Greylock, which used three pitchers. Tyler Marten and Brandon Condon combined to give up two runs in 3-⅓ innings in relief of Nick Rondeau.
"We did have a good season," Mount Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "We have a lot to be proud of. We made it to the Western Mass Championship game, and that's a big deal. It didn't end the way we wanted it too, obviously, but it was a good year. And we have to think about the whole year, not just one game."