(Lowell MA) Bishop Fenwick fell behind in their first four Division 3 tournament games……..and rallied to win.
That routine didn’t pan out against Medway Wednesday night at Alumni Stadium in the D3 state semi-finals and the Crusaders (18-8) were ousted, 5-1.
The Mustangs (17-6) will chase their first ever baseball title Saturday against Taconic.
Medway’s pitching (Justin Pratt & Eli Joyce-Vorce) kept BF’s normally loud bats very quiet. The Crusaders came in averaging 10+ hits per game. They had five tonight against the team from the Tri-Valley League.
“We’ve seen it all year,” said Medway coach Mike Coppinger afterwards, “it’s tough trying to get a bunch of hits in a row against us.”
“Pitching was great today,” said catcher Trent Flood. “Justin (Pratt) came in, hit his spots and threw strikes. Eli (Joyce-Vorce) came in and shut them down for two innings.”
The Mustangs put three, 2-out runs together in the first inning off BF starter Christian Loescher.
Trent Flood doubled over Angelo McCullough (LF) to score Sam DiPillo. Later, Justin Pratt’s half-swing brought Matt Kaplan and Trent home.
“It wasn’t the best piece I’ve had but I’ll take the runs,” said Justin with a smile post-game.
Angelo McCullough doubled leading off the Fenwick first, but the Mustangs escaped without being scored on. 3B Greg Assad got in front of a line drive for one out and shortstop Nick Sheehan handled a final-out grounder.
The team from the Catholic Central League got a run in the 4th inning. Senior Trey DeLoury singled, took second on a wild pitch, and was sacrificed to third (Ethan Belt). Cory Bright’s double over CF Troy Newman’s head brought the run across.
The previous tourney script for Bishop Fenwick was for the bats to go from there and create some late-inning magic. But the Mustangs had too much pitching.
Medway ace Eli Joyce-Vorce warmed up in the 4th and was likely coming into the game if there was trouble in the 5th. But Justin retired BF in order in the 5th.
Eli finally did come on to start the sixth.
“I get them off-balance,” he told me afterwards, “and get ground balls. We’ve got a great defense.”
Eli orchestrated three straight ground outs in the 6th.
The Mustangs cushioned their lead with two runs in the seventh inning. Troy Newman singled to lead off. Nick Sheehan’s fly to left was misjudged by junior Jake Murphy putting two runners in scoring position. Because the Crusaders pulled their infield in, Matt Peterson’s blooper over short added two runs instead of being an out. Medway now led, 5-1.
Fenwick got a runner (Scott Emerson) on second with two outs in the seventh but Harrison Brickett’s grounder ended things for the Crusaders.
Trey DeLoury came on for BF in the 4th and at one point struck out four straight Mustangs.
Medway finished with eight hits. Tri-Valley Defensive Player-of-the-Year Nick Sheehan had two hits and started a double play.
BF Coach Russ Steeves: “We ran out of innings today. They were the better team. It was good hitting against good pitching. The sidearm kid (Eli Joyce-Vorce) came in and obviously he’s very good.
Justin Pratt: “To win this is crazy. It’s a great feeling. I was just trying to hit my spots and keep it low. Eli’s great. We can use him whenever we want. This is our first state final. We’re going to be so pumped.”
Trent Flood: “Our pitching staff is lights out. I love to catch them. If we get runs our pitching will win the game. What makes Eli so tough to hit is his arm angle. I hit against him like five times and it’s the weirdest things I’ve seen. You want to jump on it when it comes out of his hand.”
Eli Joyce-Vorce: “It’s pretty crazy to be heading to the championship game. We hadn’t even won a sectional before. Everyone has stepped up. I will be attending Temple University in the fall. No baseball there. I’ll play club.”
With Eli only being used for two innings against Bishop Fenwick you could expect that Taconic, in the state title game, will see quite a few innings of him.
Bishop Fenwick won a state title in 2004.
The Crusaders had seven players hitting at least .300.
Medway has only given up a total of two runs in the five tournament games they’ve played. That’s pitching and defense!
BF had won twelve straight before today’s loss.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)