Jesus Batiz was a showstopper for Boston International on Sunday afternoon. The junior midfielder chipped in two goals and an assist to lift the Lions to their second straight Division 4 North boys’ soccer title with a 3-0 win over Manchester Essex at Manning Field in Lynn.
Boston International (16-2-2) will play South champion Cohasset (20-1-1), a 2-1 winner in overtime against Bishop Connolly, in the state semifinals Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Manning Field.
Batiz’s day got underway in the 36th minute, when he crossed for senior midfielder Nelseen Gomes, who brushed home the opening strike. Gomes returned the favor in the 73rd minute, as he slid Batiz through for a slotted finish past junior goalkeeper Max Hahn. Batiz added another tally in the 78th minute.
“I was getting really mad because I wasn’t finishing my opportunities, but thanks to my teammates, I received some beautiful passes,” Batiz said. “It was my job to score, and luckily I did that.”
Manchester Essex (16-5-1), the Cape Ann League champion, was often frustrated by senior goalkeeper Helder Vaz-Depina, who led Boston International to the City League title.
“These seniors brought us to another North final, and that’s three in four years,” said Manchester Essex head coach Robbie Bilsbury. “Our program is moving in the right direction.”
Division 4 South
Cohasset 2, Bishop Connolly 1 — After squandering a 1-0 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation at Whitman-Hanson, senior Michael McDougald led the Skippers to the sectional title by scoring in the 85th minute of overtime for a berth in the state semifinals.
“This is the biggest goal I’ve ever scored in my entire life,” McDougald said. “Cam [Pattison] and I work well together. He’s played the same ball into me four times these past four games, so that’s our little special play.”
McDougald dropped a well-timed cross deep into Bishop Connolly’s penalty box in the 13th minute. The pass hit Jay Frederick in stride, leaving him with just enough room to find the net with two defenders closing in fast.
Led by junior Ian Dunkelberger (7 saves), Cohasset’s defense suffocated the Cougars for 70 more minutes. Then, in the 80th minute, Bishop Connolly’s Ruben Faria launched a free kick from 40 yards out that tied the game.
“Last year we were up 2-1 to win the state championship and we gave up a goal with 12 seconds to go in regulation,” said head coach Jim Willis. “We pulled the kids in and said, ‘Listen, we’ve done this before and we aren’t doing this again.’”
McDougald clearly listened. He scored the game-winning goal within five minutes of overtime off a perfectly-timed volley.
Division 3 North
Watertown 2, Melrose 0 — For 59 minutes, Melrose and Watertown were evenly matched at Manning Field.
But after multiple missed chances on the doorstep, including a shot that rang the crossbar, it was the Raiders who broke through.
Senior Akif Yagcioglu netted the strike his team needed to capture the North sectional title over their Middlesex League rivals.
Watertown (15-6-1) earned a spot in the state semifinals against Norwell at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Manning Field.
With 21:37 remaining, Yagcioglu took a long ball from sophomore Sammy Deossa in stride, dribbled toward the left goal post past Melrose goalkeeper Jared Dowell, and slotted home the game’s first score.
“We knew he was coming off his line,” Watertown coach Frank Cacia said of Dowell, “and we wanted one of our midfielders — which we haven’t been doing — to kind of run through. And that was Akif, running through the middle, and Sammy found him with a perfect pass.”
Melrose (11-5-6) refused to go away, getting its cleanest look of the night from senior David Kurti in the 70th minute. After collecting the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, Kurti squared up and hit a wide-open shot that went sailing over the bar.
An insurance goal from junior Alex Egan with less than a minute remaining in regulation secured the win.
“We said our best defense is a good offense,” Cacia said. “We only played with three defenders in the back. That doesn’t happen in high school soccer. But we’ve done it all year long and I wasn’t going to adjust it.”Jonathan Sigal, Alex and Ethan Schroeder reported from Lynn.