Boston English was on the cusp of claiming its third straight Boston City League baseball championship title Monday when starter Alberto Navarro found himself in a two-on, no-out situation in the top of the seventh inning.
English coach Ricardo Figueroa walked to the mound, but instead of calling for a relief pitcher, he gave his senior southpaw a hug — and the green light to finish the contest.
“He was looking at me like, ‘Stop right there, what are you coming over for?’ ” Figueroa said. “I tried to just encourage him that this is his game and I’m not going to take him out. He had to finish it up and he did the job.”
Navarro had no problem closing out the game after the meeting, inducing a ground ball for a 6-4-3 double play and striking out his final batter swinging to seal the host Eagles’ 18-6 championship victory over Boston International.
“It was a big stress relief because I know that they trusted me,” Navarro said. “It was so emotional to get that last out. It just feels great.”
Navarro finished his outing with five strikeouts while allowing six hits, two walks, and one hit batsman.
“Navarro was outstanding today,” Figueroa said. “He threw the ball over the plate and he kept the ball down all the time and that’s why he deserved the W.”
English tagged Boston International starter Manuel Urena for five runs in the first inning and never relinquished the lead. The Lions scored four times in the second after a string of poor defensive plays by the Eagles, but English was able to recover.
“It was just mental errors that we made, but we got through it,” Navarro said.
English’s dominant offense more than made up for its subpar defense. The Eagles scored once in the bottom of the second and grabbed four runs in the third to put the game out of reach.
“At the end of the season we started hitting the ball pretty good and then it carried us through the playoff and then to the final,” Figueroa said. “Everybody hit the ball good.”
English senior Miguel Lorenzo went 3 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs. Senior Ariel Rodriguez also collected two RBIs and junior Rafael Guerrero drove in four runs on two singles and a triple to deep center field.
“I wanted to help my team out to win and I just wanted to work hard and get this W,” Guerrero said via a teammate interpreter. “It feels great and we’ve prayed a lot to win this championship.”
English will now head to the state tournament next week with an impressive 17-3 record and a third consecutive City League title under its belt.
“This is like a tradition now, winning,” Figueroa said. “I’m very proud to have been here and be a part of this success.”