Tuesday, May 8, 2018

St. Peter-Marian Pulls One Out Over the Lancers

Malden Catholic Starter Shawn Morrow threw six innings of two run ball.
By John McGuirk (@Patsfan1313)

WORCESTER, Mass. – While the game of baseball has morphed into a complicated strategy of analytics, the human element will never go away.

Baseball, no matter the level, continues to come down to the game's basic fundamentals. St. Peter-Marian's 3-2 walk-off triumph over Malden Catholic on Monday afternoon proved just that. The Guardians, held mostly silent over the first six innings, mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring a pair of runs to emerge victorious.

Having done little against Lancers starting pitcher Shawn Morrow, things abruptly reversed course during SPM's half of the final frame with the Guardians trailing 2-1. With Morrow coming out for the seventh, the right-hander served up a lead-off single to Dan Malm. Morrow, who lasted six innings, allowing six hits, zero walks and striking out eight, was removed at that point for hard-throwing senior Nick Iannuzzi. 

Facing Matt Dumphy, the senior laid down a SAC bunt. Iannuzzi quickly raced over to field the ball but could not firmly position his plant leg. 

As a result, Iannuzzi was unable to square his body and gun down Dumphy. Instead, his throw sailed wide of first and into foul territory allowing Malm to score all the way from first with the tying run. In the process, Dumphy found his way over to third base. Iannuzzi retired the next two batters with Dumphy still standing on base. However, he was unable to complete the deal after bouncing a curve ball in front of the plate that caromed to the backstop sending Dumphy to the plate with the winning run.

"I was just looking fastball because I knew I needed to get on base,” said Malm, a senior. "He threw me a fastball that I was able to get on and it was great to see Matt get that bunt down which allowed me to score."

“A win like this definitely will boost us moving forward,” said Dumphy. “Especially when you beat a good team like Malden Catholic."

The win marked the second wild pitch walk-off for the Guardians (5-4) in a week. They pulled off a similar feat last Wednesday versus Doherty. St. Peter-Marian has now rattled off three straight wins.

"I've never been part of having two games end with walk-off wild pitches before," said Guardians coach Ed Riley. "I've seen it before but have never been apart of it. I think we earned it in that seventh inning. Danny had a huge hit to start things off. We all said that if he got on then we felt we would win this game. With Dumphy, part of baseball is putting the ball down and putting pressure on the defense. We were fortunate enough to do that with his bunt resulting in a wild throw by them.”

From the beginning, this contest was a strong pitcher's duel. With Morrow keeping SPM at bay by locating his fastball down in the zone, Guardians junior starter Jeff Lamothe was equally impressive as he kept the Lancers off-balance with a mix of fastballs and off-speed deliveries. 
Scoreless through four, Malden Catholic (5-6) finally saw its offense come alive to begin the fifth.

A lead-off double by Hayden Bond was followed by a single off the bat of Chris Peguero. Setting down the next two hitters, Lamothe (5 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 K's) next uncorked a wild pitch advancing Peguero to second. Following a walk to David Witkowski to load the bases, senior Josh Doyle ripped a 2-1 fastball down the left field line for a bases-clearing double to give the Lancers a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the frame, things looked bleak for the Guardians after Morrow fanned Malm and Dumphy in succession. But freshman Cody Smith kept the inning alive by inside-outing a fastball deep to centerfield for a double. That set the stage for Frank Hernandez's RBI line single into the right-centerfield gap for SPM's first run. With the tying run on base, Morrow was able to bear down and keep his club ahead, inducing Jared Kapurch to fly out.

"That was a clutch hit by Frank," said Riley. "You first have Cody, a freshman, facing a guy throwing 85 miles-per-hour able hit a pitch into the centerfield gap for a double and then Frank comes up with that hit, which was big for us to cut the lead in half at that moment.”

Malden Catholic’s season far certainly has its fair share of twists and turns. They are averaging 2.4 runs per game and have now lost 5 of its last 6 games.

"We didn't make the plays today and it is as simple as that," said Malden Catholic coach Pat Driscoll. "We didn't get hits when we needed to get hits and we didn't make plays when we had too. I thought Shawn pitched a helluva game for us and I feel bad for him because he deserves better.”

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