By Brandon Mauk
After Anthony Romero lost his shot at a no-hitter, his team also saw their lead vanish. Their opponent’s victory followed.
Archbishop Molloy’s sophomore pitcher was two outs from completing a no-no, but St. Raymond’s rallied for seven runs in the top of the seventh for an unlikely 8-2 comeback win in CHSAA baseball April 15 in Briarwood.
Six errors on the game doomed Romero and the Stanners, as three in the final inning opened the door for St. Ray’s to rally for the win.
“Whenever you get ahead, you always have confidence moving on,” Romero said. “We weren’t ourselves today, and I know we’ll come back stronger.”
Romero gave up just two earned runs and struck out nine batters. He got his support from his teammates in the fourth on RBI singles from Billy Hatzinikolaou and Daniel Hoff, giving the Stanners a 2-0 lead.
St. Ray’s starter Jeancarlos Bonilla had matched zeros with Romero from that point on. He struck out five batters and allowed just six hits.
A pair of errors, one by Hatzinikolaou on a missed catch at first with two outs in the fifth, allowed St. Ray’s to get within a run, but the no-hitter was still preserved, as Romero retired the next four batters to keep the lead as well.
Molloy tried to get the run back in the sixth following a walk, a stolen base, and a bunt, but St. Ray’s Rony Gutierrez kept the game within a run by gunning the runner down at the plate with a superb throw from right.
Even with the errors, Romero held St. Ray’s hitless until the last inning. With one out in the seventh, a pair of errors on some routine groundballs allowed Keury Abreu to score, knotting up the score at 2-2, after the third baseman threw high to home on a fielder’s choice.
“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to be able to field the ball. [Romero] can’t strike out 21 guys,” Molloy coach Brad Lyons said. “Right now we’re terrible.”
After Romero exited the game, Samuel Delacruz finally got St. Ray’s first hit, a go-ahead single. Josh Colon followed two batters later with a two-run triple and scored on a single by John Rodriguez. Jemal Betances capped the scoring with a two-run homer to put the game out of reach.
On just four hits, St. Ray’s scored seven runs in the final inning. Once they finally broke through, they broke it open.
“All we needed was just one guy to get on to get the tying run on, and we did that,” St. Ray’s coach Marc DeLuca said. “That’s what started the rally, a walk. We hit at the right time. That shows the character of the team—until the game is over, we’ve still got work to do.”