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Final OT

Six-run second lifts Braintree in Super 8 baseball playoffs

BROCKTON — Facing postseason elimination can put a team on edge. It’s not an enviable position for anyone, especially a senior facing what could be his final game.

But Braintree catcher Gino LaRossa liked the spot his team was in heading into Sunday’s Super 8 elimination game against Catholic Memorial.

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“We like the idea of that one-and-done,” said LaRossa, whose team fell to Silver Lake in the first game of the double-elimination tournament on Thursday. “Our backs are against the wall, we’ve got to claw our way back out. I think we like that approach. Honestly, I like that one loss. I like having to climb back out of that hole because you’ve got to give it your all every day.”

Braintree certainly did that. The fifth-seeded Wamps (18-4) erupted for six runs in the second inning and cruised to an 11-5 win over the eighth-seeded Knights at Campanelli Stadium. Sophomore Scott Creedon tossed 6 innings for the win, allowing two earned runs and scattering eight hits, while striking out seven.

The Wamps advance to face St. John’s Prep in Brockton on Monday at 4 p.m.

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“If you win, you’ve got another game here,” said Braintree head coach William O’Connell. “Once they arrived here and got off the bus you saw a little extra skip in their step. Luckily, we had a couple days to regroup after our loss.”

LaRossa (2 for 3, two walks) got the big second inning started with the first of four straight extra-base hits. But it almost didn’t happen. After Cal Berman walked to lead off the frame, LaRossa appeared to get hit by a pitch on the hand. But after the umpire’s conferred, it was ruled a foul ball.

He returned to the plate and laced a double down the right field line. Colin Rios followed with a two-run double into the left-center gap to make it 2-0 and came around to score when Anthony Venuti doubled him in.

An RBI triple from Creedon and double from Erik MacDonald later in the inning extended the lead to 6-0.

“That [second inning] helped out a lot,” said Creedon. “It made me comfortable [on the mound]. It’s always good to get the lead. Everyone helped out.”

The Knights cut the deficit to 6-2 in the fourth inning, thanks to some sloppy defense from Braintree. An error by shortstop Connor Columbus allowed a run to score. Sean Scales then drove in a run with a single.

But the Wamps got two runs back in the bottom of the inning and added another in the sixth when MacDonald (3 for 4) hit a solo shot to right that made it 9-2.

“I don’t think we ever got into the game,” said CM head coach Hal Carey. “It never got totally away from us, but we never had a real threat to win it.”

LaRossa is excited to have at least one more game to play.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “I like our shot [Monday]. We’re definitely going to give it our best punch. They’ve got a lot of good players and I feel like we’ve got the same. It should be fun.”

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