By Robert Cole
Coming into Monday afternoon’s game, the Archbishop Molloy baseball team needed a win over a good St. Raymond’s side to keep its season alive and put them in this year’s CHSAA playoffs.
The Stanners looked past their record and early season miscues and played mistake-free baseball, earning a 6-3 comeback victory and a trip to the postseason.
“That was the goal from day one,” head coach Matt Rizzotti of the team’s playoff aspirations. “Our record was not reflective of how we are as players, or how we are as a team, so the idea was to come back and get restarted. Now we have a playoff berth and we are pretty excited.”
The Stanners found themselves trailing 1-0 in the third inning when, with one out, James Cummings reached base with a single. Cummings advanced to third base on a walk to Matthew Laya-Vetell, and a wild pitch by St. Raymond pitcher Adrian Batista. Cummings scored the tying run on a ground out by Anthony Cipi, making the score 1-1.
St. Raymond’s snatched the lead back in the fourth inning when Keury Abreu, who had reached on a two-out infield hit, came home to score on an single to right by Tomas Pacheco.
After leaving two players in scoring position in their half of the fourth inning, Molloy would not be denied in the fifth. The Stanners forced Batista out of the game and did some damage against the St. Raymond bullpen, exploding for four runs to take a commanding 5-2 lead.
Cummings reached base on an error to start the rally and came around to score on a ground out to third by Joseph Bekios, which gave Molloy a 3-2 advantage. The Stanners extended their lead to 5-2 on a two-run single to right field by Stefano Inzalaco, who injured his shoulder sliding into second base attempting to stretch the single into a double. Inzalaco was tagged out when he rolled off the base in pain.
The Stanners loaded the bases following three consecutive walks and Cipi delivered with a sacrifice fly, which put Molloy up 6-2.
St. Raymond scored a run against reliever Joseph Bekios, but that’s as close as they would get, as Molloy secured the 6-3 victory and another trip to the postseason, where the team hopes to put together more focused efforts and become the team to watch in this year’s championship.
“This team is capable of a lot and the good thing is that we have a good rhythm now,” Rizzotti said. “The team is locked in, and the chemistry is working just in time for the playoffs, so we are very excited about this opportunity.”