It was the kind of game that you will talk about forever. The kind of game that reminds you of why you play in the first place.
Cade Dick laced a bases loaded single to score Sam Murphy as top-seeded St.Joe’s edged No.4 St.Mary’s, 3-2, in 14 innings in a game that was played at the Scott Athletic Complex Friday evening.
The win gives the defending Georgetown Cup champion Marauders a 2-1 series win and sends them into that best of three championship series against St.Francis that begins next Monday.
The game originally started on Thursday, but had to be halted in the bottom of the fifth due to lightning strikes/threat of rain.
The Lancers were up 2-1 when the game was suspended.
Nick Falbo drove in Alex Zulia in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2.
Murphy, the Mauraders ninth batter in the lineup, led off the 14th with a single. Back to back intentional walks by the Lancers loaded the bags for Dick who stepped into the batter’s box with one out.
Brandon Thome fired the ball in, and Dick was able to turn and make solid contact.
“They’re a good team,” said Cade Dick. “We knew it was gonna be a challenge the whole way. Winning (Game 2 Wednesday) was a big confidence boost. Coming home to our own field. It felt like we had a very good shot to win this game.”
Marauders coach Paul Nasca said that Alex D’Anniballe and Alex Repczynski gave an outstanding combined effort on the mound Friday. D’Anniballe struck out four and gave up just one hit in his four innings of work. He also had one of the games defensive gems when he snagged a scorching comebacker for the final out of the eighth inning.
Repczynski scattered two hits and struck out five over his five innings of work to pick up the win.
Beyond the final score and the stats, this game resulted in both teams gaining an even greater mutual respect for one another.
“Both teams gutted it out,” St.Mary’s coach Mike Wagner said. “You just can’t say enough about their team and our team. If it were a 15-14 game it’d be a little different. Three-2, 14 innings. Holy cow.”
The sense of battle. The big plays on defense. Pitchers who dug down deeper than ever to give that extra effort for their team. It was all there as every kid laid his heart on the line.
Alex D’Anniballe said he definitely feels that both teams walked off the field with even more respect for each other.
“We’ve always had the utmost respect for St.Mary’s. They’re the grittiest team in the league all the time,” D’Anniballe said.
“Even the other day we were up 9 to 3, 9 to 4 and they almost tied it. We ended up being lucky in the late innings and coming out on top of that game. They’ve always just been the grittiest team. There is no going away. It’s very admirable to see that in a whole team”
Lost in the mix was the strong start Lancers sophomore Brendan Walsh gave as he kept the Mauraders batters off balance with his fastball.
St.Mary’s freshman Trent Rumley also gave a strong accounting of himself on the hill Friday.
Rumley and Patrick Basil scored the Lancers runs on Thursday.
As it turned out the break benefited the Mauraders as it gave them a chance to regroup. As a team they lacked aggressiveness at the plate against Walsh. Having a chance to sleep on it allowed the Mauraders to come back with a fresh start mentally.
“We beat a great baseball team,” Nasca said. “A great baseball team. Right now I just told the kids you gotta enjoy it.”
Wagner said that he felt that this game won his team a measure of respect around the league. And that he hopes his boys can take pride in battling to the end.
“That’s exactly what I told the guys after the game,” said Wagner. “There wasn’t a loser.”
Thankful to have played in an instant classic, D’Anniballe said this is the kind of game he will tell his kids and grandkids about some day. And he won’t have to embellish any of the drama.
“It’s one of those games that you’ll talk to your grandkids about,” he said. “If we end up putting a (2018) number on our banner we can say I remember the 14 inning game that sent us into the finals.”
The finals will take place at Coca-Cola Field next Monday-Wednesday. All 4pm starts.