WALPOLE, Mass. -– As far as Walpole coach Bill Tompkins is concerned the longer the game and the tougher the opposition the better.
Tompkins’ philosophy was underscored Tuesday when the top-seeded Rebels twice rallied for an 8-4 victory over No. 8 seed Barnstable in an MIAA Division 1 South quarterfinal game.
“You know I’m an advocate of nine innings,” Tompkins said after the Rebels (19-3) came from behind for the second consecutive tournament game. “We play nine innings in the Bay State League and I think that’s a huge factor for us –- a real huge factor for us.
“We’re also a Division 2 club. We play Division 1 clubs all the time, nine innings. That’s why I like to pop up and play (D-I teams). We can compete against these teams.”
Besides the fact his team “competed,” Tompkins paid the Red Raiders (13-7) a great deal of respect.
“That’s the best team we’ve played this year,” he said. “I was really impressed with that team. They ran, they were good hitters and they played good defense. That pitcher (Dan Holzman) was real tough. We knew he had thrown before and he was tough.
“We felt that if we could keep it close and work him into the late innings he might get tired or slow down a little bit. We also noticed he had more trouble throwing strikes from the stretch than he did from the windup. Our kids are battlers and they’re nine-innings tested. We know it’s a long ballgame and we can come back. We did it before and we did it today.”
Red Raiders strike first: Barnstable nipped Walpole starter Tom Farrow for a first-inning run on consecutive singles by Dan Walsh, Dylan Morris and Terrence Muchia.
The Red Raiders scored twice in the fourth –- the highlight being Cody Pasic’s booming triple.
But Barnstable got one run back in the fourth on Boston College-bound John Adams triple and Cam Hanley’s groundout.
The Rebels tied it in the fifth on Ian Fair’s double, Mike Rando’s single and Bobby Ivatts single. But Barnstable took what proved to be its last lead in the seventh on Chris Fowler’s double, a wild pitch and Walsh’s single off reliever and eventual winner Nick Cordopatri.
Walpole exploded for five runs in the seventh on four hits, one walk, one error and a hit batter.
Ian Fair, who reached on a single, scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
Then Hanley delivered the key hit, a two-run single that produced a 6-4 lead.
“(Hanley) had the key hit but our lineup up and down produced today,” Tompkins said. “Rando had three hits. Bobby Ivatts, who’s been in a little bit of a slump, got a big hit. Obviously, Adams is a hitter. Fair got three hits near the bottom of the order.
“I thought Tommy Farrow kept us in the ballgame (he worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits replete with zero walks and five strikeouts). He’s a battler. He mixes his speed. He’s not overpowering.”
Confidence not lacking: Barnstable coach Joe DeMartino expressed the opinion that from pitch one to pitch last, his team never was out of contention.
“We held our confidence the whole game,” DeMartino said. “There were a couple plays that allowed them to score a few runs in one inning. But you couldn’t feel it on our bench.
“We were confident. We had every thought in the world that we were going to win this ballgame. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way but you must give the guys credit for having that type of attitude.”