WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Worth Walrod walked off the mound after five innings with No. 6 Xaverian sporting a cozy nine-run lead against Catholic Conference rival No. 10 BC High, having yet to surrender a hit.
It took a turn of events no one expected for him to earn a no-decision, and for BC High to come from behind to win 10-9 on Monday afternoon.
The Eagles plated the 10 unanswered runs to steal away what seemed to be a sure victory for the Hawks, pushing seven men across in the final frame alone. Five of those seven runners scored with two outs in the final frame, including the game-tying run coming across on an infield single.
“That was just a bizarre baseball game,” said BC coach Norm Walsh. “You could watch baseball for a lot of years and not see another quite like that. Just bizarre, all around.”
He wasn’t just referring to the improbable comeback, but the manner in which they fell behind.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles (1-0) looked to be on the verge of escaping a bases loaded jam when Jake McLaughlin blasted what looked to be an inning-ending ground out toward shortstop. The ball caught the field umpire in the leg, ricocheting toward centerfield and keeping the inning alive.
Just the beginning of things getting strange, the third inning played out in a way that would certainly be classified as bizarre. The Hawks (1-1) sent 11 straight hitters to the plate with two outs in the inning, plating all nine of their runs before the Eagles finally got a groundout back to the pitcher to put an end to the scoring barrage.
“We were out of that inning if the ball doesn’t hit the umpire -– it wasn’t headed right for our shortstop,” said Walsh. “Then the floodgates opened and we couldn’t get out of it. We started walking guys, they had a few hits drop in, and we just couldn’t get that last out.”
The Eagles repaid the favor later on, capitalizing on the fact that Walrod was on a tight pitch count early in the season. He finished his five innings with no hits, five strikeouts and two walks.
“He deserved a better fate,” said Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert. “He pitched well enough to win, but that’s baseball. A few weeks from now, when he’s stretched out to another 20 pitches, he’s probably going back out there for at least one more inning. Maybe if this game is a few weeks from now, it has a different result. It probably does.”
Added Walsh: “I really feel for Gerry there, because he’s trying to do what’s best for the entire season. You know, sometimes you don’t want a kid to have a no-hitter going in his first start of the season, because he’s not ready to throw the amount of pitches he would need for it. He’s trying to make sure his bullpen is getting the right amount of work, and up 9-0 this one seemed over.”
Even after Nick Viscariello led off the top of the sixth with a single to break-up the no-hit bid, it didn’t take long for Xaverian to quickly regain momentum. Sean Webster followed with by hitting an absolute rocket toward third base. The ball was picked cleanly, flipped to second base then over to first for a double play.
One batter later though, BC High showed more signs of life Ryan Trupeano smashed a triple to left centerfield, making his way all to third after the ball bounced hard off the fence and past the centerfielder.
Tom Russo (2-for-4, 2 Runs) followed with an RBI single for BC’s first run.
“We played like this game was over after Xaverian scored all those runs,” said Eagles senior captain Andrew Jaehnig. “We were dead quiet all game, then something sparked us in the fifth or sixth inning and just got us going.”
Jaehnig (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI 2 Runs) made sure that spark ignited into something more when he stepped the plate following Russo. He crushed a line drive well over the fence in left centerfield, cutting the deficit to six runs.
The Eagles completed the comeback the next inning, sending 13 hitters to the plate –- including eight with two outs as part of the rally.
“The most impressive thing is, every single one of my pinch hitters went up there and got the job done,” said Walsh. “Even guys who are usually here as defensive replacements for us came to the plate and found a way on base.”
Added Lambert: “This has to be a lesson for us, because some of the things that allowed BC back into the game were self-inflicted. We need to make sure we finish a game like this one. BC High is a team that you need to get all 21 outs against to beat, and we got 20 today. We couldn’t get that last out, and they beat us because of it.”