Baseball: Peyton Marshall walk-off lifts Hopkinton over Gilford

  • Hopkinton second baseman Bryce Charron tries to apply the tag against Gilford second baseman Tanner Keenan on an successful steal on Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton pitcher Peyton Marshall pitches in the second inning of Friday’s game with Gilford. Marshall drove in the tying and winning runs in the seventh inning to win the game. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton High baserunner Owen O’Brien slides back to the bag safely on an errant throw to Gilford second baseman Tanner Keenan during Friday’s game. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff photographs

 Monitor staff
Published: 5/28/2022 3:26:52 PM

Peyton Marshall lived out every baseball player’s dream scenario on Friday: bottom of the last inning, bases loaded, two outs, a full count and staring at a deficit.

Hopkinton’s senior pitcher stepped out of the box after the third ball was called. As he readjusted his stance and settled his nerves, he saw a fastball hurled his way.

Like he had done so many times throughout his high school career against a fastball, Marshall sent the ball into right field and sprinted toward first base.

Marshall reached first, saw the ball take a favorable bounce and rounded the bag toward second, but by then it didn’t matter where he was at. The tying run and the winning run noticed the bounce, too. His teammates in the dugout sought the orange 32-gallon Gatorade jug to properly dump onto Marshall as he made his way toward a rowdy crew in green jerseys following the Hawks’ 7-6 win over Gilford (12-4).

And Hopkinton’s hero? He was just doing his job.

“I was just thinking ‘if it’s there, hit it hard,’” Marshall said. “Anything close, I was just trying to hit it hard.”

Marshall was Hopkinton’s lead-off hitter against the Eagles, but it was the middle of the lineup that got things moving. Joe Yanzo walked, Colby Boissy hit a single into right field and Max Aframe walked to load up the diamond.

Hunter Boissy, the Hawks’ designated hitter, gave a good swing on a low-hanging ball that went high into the air for an out that, in the moment, felt like the end. After all, they hadn’t scored a run since the bottom of the third and only had runners reach third base just twice before the final inning.

Two outs hung on the board and a nervousness hung on the diamond, evident in some uncharacteristic swings by Cody Charron and a few out-of-the-zone pitches from Gilford reliever Riley Marsh. Charron won the battle at the plate, however, and took his base on the fourth called ball, which brought the Hawks within a run at 6-5.

From there it was just Marshall and Marsh. A ball on the first pitch, followed up by a quick strike swinging and another ball. Marshall steadied himself in the box and watched the ball pass him for his second strike. With little down time between pitches, Marsh tossed the ball that gave Marshall his full count.

The rest will live in Hopkinton baseball lore.

“He’s just got ice in his veins,” coach Dave Chase said. “If you wanted anybody up there, you knew he was going to be the guy that would get the job done. He’s just a tough-nosed kid.”

Chase has seen plenty of moments like Marshall’s walk-off, but Friday’s holds a little more meaning since it was his last regular-season game as coach after 27 seasons. Nearly three decades’ worth of wins, championships and kids at the next level — Chase has lived a life at the ballpark.

For one last time, Chase got a win at home, surrounded by current and former players all there to celebrate the current heroics of a team and the storied legacy of a respected skipper.

“This is what it’s all about,” he said pointing toward the mingling collection of alumni and current Hawks.

“We’ve created a family, a program, and there’s just a lot of good memories.”

Chase and Marshall aren’t finished yet, however. The preliminary round of the Division III tournament is scheduled for Thurdsay, and Hopkinton (13-4) certainly has more ball to play. A dramatic walk-off win can serve as momentum. It’s certainly what Marshall thinks will work for the Hawks.

“We came into this game thinking five straight wins,” Marshall said.

One down, four to go.

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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