One shaky day wasn’t about to wipe away a season of masterpieces for Joe Boland’s “amazing” Whittier Regional High Wildcats.
“Amazing,” beamed Boland, even after his Division 3 North champion Cats tumbled 10-1 to South champ Middleboro in the state semifinals. “It’s really the only way to describe this group and what they did this season. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids.”
The Wildcats, as they did back in 2010, bowed out of the postseason two victories shy of a state title, this time around with a record of 20-6.
“We won the Commonwealth, won the state voke title and won the North,” said Whittier senior Andrew Wells, trying valiantly to hold back tears. “At the beginning of the year, we never could have even dreamed of that. That’s why this hurts so much.”
Wells walks off the diamond already entrenched as one of the all-time Whittier greats, finishing 11-1 this year and with an uncanny 27 career victories.
In the finale, he was forced to play shortstop and rest that lightning bolt of a right arm.
“I was just hoping for one more chance to help this team win,” said Wells, who would have been the starting pitcher in Saturday’s state final. “This has been such a great experience, playing here with these guys. I just didn’t want it to end.”
Wells and his two-sport (basketball, baseball) running mate Nathan Frongillo both started as freshman on that 2010 sectional title team. This time, though, it was time for both to say goodbye.
Frongillo clearly leaves his imprint on the program, setting a new school and potentially area best with 119 hits over his four seasons.
The Colby-Sawyer-bound centerfielder broke Taylor Frazier’s no-hit bid with two outs in the Whittier third with his final career hit, a bullet to right.