Saturday, June 23, 2018

Archbishop Williams Walks-Off With Division 4 State Championship

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Worcester, Mass. – One year after falling short, David Ryan made sure Archbishop Williams finished the job.

Two innings after tying the game with a two-out RBI single, Ryan grounded the walk-off single through the drawn in infield as Archbishop Williams won the Division 4 State Championship with a 4-3, nine-inning win over Oxford on Saturday afternoon at Holy Cross.

It is the first baseball state championship for Archbishop Williams since 1995. The Bishops (18-9), who entered the Div. 4 South tournament as the twelfth seed, won three of their seven tournament games in extra innings en route to the title.

“I went over to coach (James Dolan) and he said ‘just don’t think about the moment,’” said Ryan. “Knowing he had trust in me gave me the boost to do it.”

Oxford clung to a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the seventh and after Pirates’ starter David Meech (8 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 9 K) retired the first two batters in the inning it looked as though Archbishop Williams was on its way to falling in the state title game for a second straight year. 

Neil Sanders, however, kept the Bishops alive with a single to center and following a Connor Dolan walk, Ryan grounded an RBI single back through the box to send the game to the eighth even at three.

Bishops' reliever Samuel Hamer, who came in for starter Brandon Sullivan (5 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 6 Ks) in the sixth, kept Oxford scoreless in the eighth and ninth to set the stage for Ryan’s walk-off heroics.

Patrick Kelly began the inning with a double to center and an errant pick-off throw moved him to third. Two batters later, after a walk and strikeout, Ryan chopped a first pitch fastball to left to give the Bishops the Div. 4 crown.

“We were a 3-7 Catholic Central team,” said Bishops' coach James Dolan. “But we got into the state tournament and good things started to happen. All the kids believe each other. I love these guys.”

Archbishop Williams grabbed a run in the bottom of the fourth on an errant pick off throw to third base and added a second in the fifth when Ryan successfully executed a suicide squeeze.

The Bishops’ starter in Sullivan, meanwhile, cruised through the first five innings but the heart of the Pirates order got to him to begin the sixth.

Jason Panient drew a leadoff walk and Meech lined an RBI triple to right to pull the Pirates within 2-1. Nolan Buckley then greeted Hamer with a line single to left that tied the score at two. Hamer was on the verge of limiting the damage there but Joel Erickson lofted a single to right that fell just beyond the dive of Michael Gervasi to score Buckley and put Oxford on top, 3-2.

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