The scene could’ve been stolen from a movie.
Bottom of the seventh of a tie game with two runners on and two outs Brett Hilton came to the plate with a Georgetown Cup hanging in the balance.
Hilton hit a blooper to shallow center field to bring home Michael Hartman as the St. Francis Red Raiders defeated the St. Joe’s Marauders 1-0 Tuesday at Coca-Cola Field, completing a two-game sweep as they took home Monsignor Martin’s postseason baseball title.
“It was a big moment,” Hilton said. “I was just looking to get them in. I didn’t want to put it in the air. Once I saw it go past the infield I knew he was going to score.”
It’s St. Francis’ first Georgetown Cup in three years.
“It’s been an interesting year,” Red Raiders coach Paul Bartell said. “We had some high expectations coming into the year and then had some key injuries. At one point we only had five starters on the field. The fact we were able to step up speaks to the strength of our seniors this year.”
The Red Raiders couldn’t have had a more opportune player to come to the plate than Hilton. The junior, who had been in and out of the lineup all year, hit a home run when St. Francis beat the Marauders on May 16th.
“That was a turning point of my season,” Hilton acknowledged. “After that, I got in the lineup more. It kind of solidified my role.”
Hilton’s clutch hit was preceded by an outstanding defensive play by pitcher Gavin Krawiec in the top of the seventh.
St. Joe’s started the inning with a single from Alex D’Anniballe.
On the next at bat, Marauder pinch hitter Jackson Donoughe tried to move pinch runner Jacob Riester over to second with a bunt. However, the bunt was popped up and Krawiec made a diving catch then caught Riester before he got back to first for the double play.
Krawiec says he had the whole thing all planned out.
“I knew he was going to bunt, so I threw it a tad bit high,” Krawiec said. “He popped it up. It was perfect.”
Krawiec gave up four hits and threw five strikeouts in the win.
“He’s an athlete,” Bartell said of Krawiec. “He plays hockey at our highest level so it’s nice to have an athlete like him on the mound. He’s one of the top pitchers in his age group in the area.”
It was a pitchers’ duel until the final inning. St. Joe’s Elliott Widenor had only given up two hits before the seventh.
“It was a great pitching battle,” Marauders coach Paul Nasca said. “Two guys threw the heck out of it. They were great. It’s as good a baseball game as you can find.”
Both teams had a strong chance to score in the fourth inning when they each left a pair of runners on.
Back-to-back defensive errors by the Marauders put runners on first and second for St. Francis.
Widenor responded by forcing a fly out and then struck out Justin Kirst to get out of the jam.
In the bottom half, St. Joe’s had runners on first and third.
Cardon opened it up with a single and later Falbo got on base with a walk.
After a sacrifice fly by D’Anniballe moved Cardone over to third, but Krawiec got Justin Jenneve to pop up for the third out.
— WNY Athletics (@WNYAthletics) June 5, 2018