What was a marvelous overall season probably ended too early for the Westfield High baseball team, which followed up a championship at the Concorde District tournament with a disheartening, season-ending first round Northern Region tournament loss to W.T. Woodson on May 28.
“It’s always disappointing to end a season, especially when you have a great group of guys like we did,” said Westfield head coach Chuck Welch. “But we have a motto `Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened.’ I felt we had a great year.”
Underdog Woodson, the No. 4-seed out of the Patriot District, put things together at the 16-team region tournament with wins over Westfield, McLean and Lake Braddock to reach the championship game against West Springfield on June 4 at Lake Braddock High School. West Springfield won the title game and ultimately went on to win the state championship last weekend. Woodson, following its region finals loss to the Spartans, lost in a quarterfinals round state tournament game.
Westfield, in its region playoff loss to visiting Woodson, received a good outing from right-handed pitching ace Danny Thorpe, who allowed just six hits in the complete game loss. Thorpe, who will be playing college baseball next school year at St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, was hurt by two home runs allowed, including a fifth inning grand slam which erased a 3-1 Bulldog lead and made the score 5-3 Woodson.
While Thorpe (11-1) might not have been as effective in the playoff loss as he had been throughout the season, he still gave the Bulldogs a decent outing.
“Woodson just had a great tournament,” said Welch, whose team finished the season with a 17-5 record. “Danny did a good job keeping them in check.”
Thorpe completed what has been an outstanding high school career at Westfield. The four-year varsity starting pitcher set several school records – games started in a career (34), most wins in a season (11), most career wins (25), innings pitched in a career (179), innings pitched in a season (71) and strikeouts in a career (191).
This season, he went 11-1 with a 1.48 ERA. Over 71 innings pitched, he allowed just 44 hits and struck out 77. Thorpe has never been a power pitcher, but he’s always been effective on the mound.
“He doesn’t have the big velocity,” said Welch. “He’s always been a deception type pitcher with ball movement. He’s got great sink on his fastball and is a true groundball pitcher. He certainly had a tremendous year for us.”
<b>THORPE EARNED</b> First Team All-Region recognition as a result of his stellar season. Also making First Team All-Region for the Bulldogs was senior third baseman Aaron Scoville, who led the team in batting average with a breath-taking .522 mark.
Scoville’s batting average is the second best ever in Westfield baseball history. Justin Bour, currently in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, batted .547 for the Bulldogs one year.
Westfield’s annual team batting champions get their name placed on a plaque which is showcased in the Westfield press box. On the plaque are such names as Bour and Brandon Snyder, a current member of the Orioles’ system who won the Bulldogs’ batting crown in each of his four years at Westfield.
“Playing every game, that batting average is pretty good,” said Welch, of Scoville’s prowess at the plate.
In 67 at-bats this season, Scoville had 35 hits, including five doubles, one triple and one home run, and he drove in 15 runs. He batted in the leadoff position most of the year and scored 23 runs. His on-base percentage was .616.
“He’s just a tremendous all-around athlete and has excellent hand-eye coordination,” said Welch. “He’s probably the strongest kid on the team.”
As good as he was at the plate, Scoville, who will play college baseball at Shepherd University (West Va.), was perhaps more phenomenal at third place where he committed just one error in 147 innings and carried a fielding percentage of .979.
“He’s the best defensive third baseman I’ve ever seen in high school,” said Welch, who has been coaching for 27 years. “He was just so consistent this season on routine ground balls. He’s made some spectacular plays for us too, but it’s the [consistency on] everyday groundballs [that stands out]. We’ve gotten spoiled by his play.”
Scoville, a three-year varsity starter for Westfield, pitched during his sophomore and junior seasons but played exclusively at third as a senior.
“He was one of our better relief pitchers, but we opted not to pitch him this year because of his consistent play at third base. We thought [moving him from third] opened up too much of a hole.”
Five Westfield players earned First Team All-District honors – Scoville, Thorpe, sophomore Kyle Corwin (shortstop), junior Aaron Hoover (utility) and junior left fielder Josh Luatua.
Corwin hit .425 over 73 at-bats as the team’s every day shortstop. Hoover, who saw time at pitcher, first base and in the outfield, hit at a .338 clip. And Luatua, a former infielder who was moved to the outfield this season, hit .405.