Monday, June 12, 2017

BC High Hangs on to Eliminate Braintree from Super 8

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

BROCKTON - For the first time in the Division 1A Super Eight tournament's history, a Bay State Conference team will not take home the trophy.

Trailing No. 4 BC High 11-10 in the top half of the ninth, Braintree sent three-hitter Alex Kennedy to the plate with two on and two outs in hopes of coming away with another one of their notorious comeback victories.

Eagles’ reliever Gavin Reily, however, induced a pop up to third base that landed in the glove of freshman Pat Roche to seal the win as BC High (15-9) defeated the two-time defending champion Wamps, 11-10, in the Super Eight quarterfinals at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

With the win BC High advances to the Super Eight semifinals, while Braintree’s season comes to an end.

BC High coach Norm Walsh said he knew putting Braintree away was never going to be easy.

“(Braintree) expects to win,” said Walsh. “When you get to this point you are playing teams who have been here before and expect to win. It’s all 27 outs.”

The Eagles held on to an 11-7 advantage as the game headed to the top of the ninth, but the never-say-die Wamps got right back into it.

Two consecutive singles began the inning, and Joe Vanelli followed up by grounding a single to centerfield that pulled Braintree within 11-8 and gave them runners on the corners with nobody out.

Reily proceeded to induce two groundouts, including one that produced a run, to get the first two outs of the inning. Jackson Duffy, however, worked a walk and Justin Files reached on an RBI infield hit that cut the BC High lead to 11-10, and brought Kennedy to the plate with a chance to bring Braintree all the way back.

Walsh took a trip out to the mound to relax his pitcher, and Reily – a senior captain – collected himself in time to get the final out.

“I just tried to settle down,” said Reily. “(Kennedy) is the last guy you want to face there, he is a terrific hitter. I was just hoping to have one go my way.”

The score was even at one heading into the bottom of fourth, but the Eagles – who broke out for 13 hits yesterday – came alive offensively.

A seven-run frame, highlighted by a Reily two-run triple and a Bobby DeMeo RBI triple, gave BC High what seemed to be a comfortable 8-1 lead.

Braintree fought right back.

A three run top of the of the fifth capped off by a Kennedy two run double pulled Braintree back within 8-4.

Every time the Wamps seemed to get within striking distance, the Eagles’ offense responded.

Sean O’Connell drilled a two run home run in the bottom of the sixth to put BC High back on top 10-4 and after Braintree got back to within 10-5, the Eagles scored on a Dave Driscoll RBI groundout to reclaim a six run cushion after seven innings.

Braintree refused to let up.

In the top of the eighth, the Wamps got consecutive RBI singles from Duffy and Files that pulled them within four, 11-7, and set the stage for another potential improbable comeback.

“This is a great win for us against the defending champs,” said Walsh. “(Mike) Vasil referred to it as the Braintree invitational and I guess luckily for us that stopped.”

The loss ends a terrific run for Braintree that saw them dominate the tournament over its first four years of existence.

After faltering in the Super Eight finals in 2014, the Wamps won consecutive championships in 2015 and 2016 over St. John’s Prep to create an aura of invincibility every time they take the field

That apparent immortality was on full display in this year’s Super Eight as Braintree came back from a three-run deficit in the ninth inning against Belmont, before knocking three-seeded Central Catholic to get to Sunday night’s quarterfinal.

Braintree coach Bill O’Connell said the kids have created a culture that will be passed on for years to come.

“For a town team, with a group of guys that are all best friends we could not be more proud of them,” said O’Connell. “We have got kids who have bought in what we are trying to preach and they are starting to see the results. We have some great young players, and now the expectation is that we are going to make the Super Eight.”


footballa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
footballa said...

Standing tip of the cap to Braintree! Great "team" with a ton of fight.
Let's go Eagles!!

-Tony DeMeo