One big inning put St. Joe’s baseball back on top of the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.
The Marauders scored six times in the top of the sixth inning to overtake St. Mary’s and claimed the Georgetown Cup championship with a 6-1 win over the host Lancers in Game 3 on Thursday afternoon.
The title is the first for St. Joe’s since 2013.
“It’s a great feeling,” said St. Joe’s junior Alex Zulia, who had the go-ahead hit in the decisive inning. “We’ve got a great group of guys. We thought we could take it the distance and we did.”
Two-run singles by Zulia and CJ Falk highlighted the frame. The Marauders sent 10 men to the plate in the big sixth inning, erasing a 1-0 deficit and five innings of frustration.
“It was getting a little bit frustrating,” said Falk, who started the inning by drawing a walk. “But it only takes one inning like that to win a ballgame.”
Frustration soon became jubilation for St. Joe’s. Standout pitcher Colin Miller got the final out via a strikeout on a wicked breaking ball. He pumped his fist and then spiked his glove to the ground before being mobbed by his teammates.
Miller was simply brilliant all afternoon long for the Marauders (18-8). The senior left-hander tossed seven innings, allowing one run and four hits. He walked two and struck out five.
“You’ve got to credit Miller,” St. Mary’s coach Mike Wagner said. “He threw a big game for them.”
For the first five innings, Frank Propis was even better for St. Mary’s, coercing three double plays and holding the high-powered Marauders off the board. In the sixth, however, St. Joe’s was able to break through. Falk led off with a walk and scored on Nick Falbo’s game-tying base hit to right. One batter later, Zulia came up with the bases loaded and smoked the go-ahead hit down the right field line for a 3-1 lead.
“I got one inside and got my hands on it, got it down the line,” Zulia said. “First baseman almost made a great play, it just got by him. It was a good feeling. (Propis) is a good pitcher and he pitched well. We knew after a couple times through the lineup that we could do it and we did.”
Mark Gilbert drew a bases loaded walk and then Falk put things in control with another two-run hit.
St. Mary’s scored its run in the third inning when Zach Penksa roped a to left that scored John Connolly. The Lancers finished the season at 17-6.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Wagner said. “We battled to get to this point and we were up 1-0 in the sixth inning. For a small school to compete and be in this position says a lot. That (St. Joe’s) team does respect us.”