DORCHESTER, Mass. —- Despite going 0-for-3 in his first three at bats, BC High’s Luke Catarius came through in the clutch during extra innings as the Eagles walked off with the 2-1 win against Catholic Conference rival Malden Catholic.
Catarius was up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning against Malden Catholic (7-5) relief pitcher Joe Velozo. He started his at bat by missing a bunt, which resulted in Tom Russo being picked off third base as BC High (8-2) had the suicide squeeze on.
After failing to connect on the bunt, Catarius smashed a single to right. Pinch runner Billy Mitchell slid past the tag of Austin Batchelor at the plate giving the Eagles the win on the dramatic walk off play.
“I knew I had to make up for [the bunt].” Catarius said. “It would have bad if I didn’t make up for it. The ball was on the outside part of the plate. I just slapped it to right, I saw Bill come in to score, so I was just like lets go and got all amped up.”
BC High’s starting pitcher, Trent Berg, threw the first five innings, and limited the Malden Catholic offensive attack to only one run. Berg struck out five and although he had some control issues (3 BB) he battled through his start.
“Trent did a nice job for the most part,” BC High coach Norm Walsh said. “The walks are still an issue, but he battled through it, which is the most important far.”
The Eagles’ bullpen was called upon to throw four innings, and they did not disappoint keeping the Lancers at bay. Both Matt Nielsen (three innings) and Chris LaLiberte (one inning) combined for four scoreless innings of relief work.
“Neilsen is always rock solid, and LaLiberte came in and threw a big inning,” Berg said. Usually we don’t have to go that deep into our pitching, but today we proved that we have a strong [pitching] staff.”
Malden Catholic’s starter, Paul Campbell had a gutsy performance leading the Lancers into extra innings. Campbell threw eight strong innings striking out 11 and only allowing one run. Campbell only surrendered four hits and issued two walks during his eight innings of work.
“Campbell did a great job, and he is a bulldog,” Malden Catholic coach Patrick Driscoll said. “He loves to compete, and he went out there and compete all day today. He gave us a chance to win.
The Lancers drew first blood in the first inning, as Austin Batchelor who had singled was able to come in on a past ball. The lead did not last though. Jake Morotta laid down a perfect bunt scoring Nick Petchell on the suicide squeeze.
In the fifth inning, Malden Catholic was pressuring the Eagles with runners on first and third. Chris Lanzilli ripped a line drive down the third base line, but BC High third basemen Tom Russo nabbed the ball and tagged the runner out at third to turn the inning ending double play.
“The defense was unbelievable for me today, and Russo is always there to bail me out,” Berg said.
The BC High defense did not stop there though as Jake Morotta made a diving play in the hole at shortstop with the winning run on third base. Morotta got up and rifled the ball to first base just in time to beat Malden Catholic’s Steve Passatempo to first base.
With BC High’s timely defensive plays, the Eagles set themselves up for victory in extra innings.