Clutch hitting and defense key for Witches
Juden was the name everyone knew on the 1989 Salem team, but the talent around him was plentiful. Canney, a three-sport star, went 7-1 on the mound and also hit .338 with 24 RBI. Chouinard went 5-1 on the hill with a homer, 13 RBI and three game-winning hits.
“Juden and Canney pitched complete game after complete game toward the end of the season,” said Mike Giardi,who was named Ivy League Player of the Year at Harvard and played four years in the pros. “We won the state title on Father’s Day, which was very emotional. My Dad had some very talented teams, but you had to win 14 of 20 games to qualify for the tournament.
“We had a good group of kids that played different roles than they were used to and never complained. Even though there weren’t a lot of balls hit to the infielders when Juden was on the mound, you had to be on top of your game because we had a lot of very tough games and typically saw the other team’s best pitcher. You couldn’t fall asleep with all the strikeouts and let one get by you.”
Catcher Steve Sadoski, who went on to have a fine career at Harvard, was a rock behind the plate for the Witches, throwing seven runners out trying to steal and allowing only seven passed balls. He was a switch hitter who led off and scored 23 runs. Juden (who played 1B when he wasn’t pitching) had two homers and 19 RBI, while Mike Giardi, the No. 3 hitter, batted .341 with 17 RBI and five game-winning hits.
Junior third baseman/left fielder Eric Sholds led the team in homers (4) and RBI (27) while batting .324 out of the cleanup spot. Sophomore Jared Howard served as the DH for 18 games, hitting for second baseman Andrew Viglas. And center fielder Bobby Ward, who knocked in 14 runs and had three game-winning hits before playing at Colby, is perhaps best remembered for his outstanding defensive play in running two balls down in the eighth inning of the state championship game against Drury at Holy Cross, a 4-1 Salem victory.