WORCESTER - Frank Carey should have seen it coming.
The North Reading baseball coach, now in his 48th year with the Hornets, had four state championships to his name before Saturday’s Division 3 title game against Mount Everett.
Already the victim of countless celebratory ice-water dousings, Carey was again tricked by his players and drenched on the field.
The surprise didn’t bother him, though.
“That never gets old,’’ he said as water dripped off him.
The Hornets clinched Carey’s fifth state title by defeating the Eagles, 8-4, at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field. It is the first baseball title for North Reading since 1982.
“I’ve said this every time I stood on this field in the finals, you’ve got to be lucky and you’ve got to be good to be the state champion,’’ Carey said. “We were both this year.’’
The Hornets (22-4) used a six-run second inning to put the game away early. Starting pitcher Ryan McAuliffe helped his own cause with a fielder’s choice RBI that scored Keith Linnane, and back-to-back hit batters brought in Kyle Boucher for the game’s second run. Shortstop Ryley Warnock singled to center field, scoring Eric Gordon and Dennis Rollfs which gave North Reading a 4-0 lead.
“I was expecting a fastball up high, and I was able to put it over the second baseman’s head,’’ Warnock said.
Warnock’s single chased Eagles starter Dylan Wheeler, who was replaced by lefthander Erik Derwitsch. Hornets’ center fielder Colby Maiola sliced a single down the left-field line that brought in two more for a 6-0 lead.
“We had 10 hits today, and that’s the most we ever got all season,’’ Carey said. “I still brag, we only had, I think, nine extra base hits all year.’’
Mount Everett (17-9) responded in the bottom half of the inning. Designated hitter John Ormsbee drilled a double to deep left field, scoring Alex Crane and Derwitsch to make it 6-2. The Eagles chipped away for two more in the next inning. Derwitsch singled home Wheeler and Garrett Torrico with two outs, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
Warnock took the mound in the third inning to replace McAuliffe, and the junior allowed only two hits through 4 2/3 innings with one walk and helped himself at the plate.
In the fourth inning, Warnock picked up his third RBI when he singled to center field and brought home Rollfs for a 7-4 lead. A wild pitch in the top of the seventh scored Linnane for North Reading’s eighth run.
Carey praised his team’s aggressive defense, which saw only one batter reach base in the final four innings.
“We didn’t want anyone to be reticent,’’ he said. “We wanted everyone to make a play that was going to win the game. I didn’t want anyone to be afraid of losing.’’