BROCKTON — It was a 3-3 tie, both teams had aces on the mound, both had crowds in full support of each team. After all, it was a Super 8 final game, and there was the feeling of electricity in the air.
Then the fourth inning came. Thirteen batters batted for St. John’s Prep, six getting hits, 10 reaching base. Teddy McNamara hit a towering three-run home run over the right field wall. Three pitchers for Braintree, starter Bobby McNiff, Scott Strachan, and Zack Delvecchio, took the mound in the inning.
And after the marathon bottom of the fourth was over, which lasted 33 minutes, it was 10-3 St. John’s Prep.
After five innings it was 13-3, and eventually it was a 20-4 victory for the Eagles.
Braintree could have clinched its first Super 8 title Wednesday but instead will play a winner-take-all final game Thursday night at 7:30 in Brockton.
Braintree was missing an edge from the beginning, and after pulling its normally stellar reliever Strachan in the fourth inning, the rout was on.
St. John’s Prep had 24 hits.
“I do think we had a good approach, we couldn’t have asked for a better start off [starter Justin] Foley,” said Braintree coach Bill O’Connell. “But we just couldn’t stop their offense. That was the game, plain and simple. They were determined and we didn’t do things well.”
Foley allowed three runs and seven hits through the first three innings, but then eased into his normal dominance from the fourth inning on. The junior finished after 7⅓ innings, 9 strikeouts, 7 hits, and 1 walk. He now leads the Super 8 in wins (three), and strikeouts (22).
“We’ve had a lot of built-up anger for the last week,” said Foley, referring to Prep’s 11-inning loss to Braintree last Friday. “We just let everything ride, and we just have to keep playing our best baseball like we’re doing now.”
For the Prep hitters, playing “our best’’ doesn’t do their night justice. Keith Leavitt was 5 for 6; McNamara finished with three hits and five RBIs; three other starters finished with three hits.
“We were disappointed with Friday night,” said Prep coach Dan Latarte, who wouldn’t rule out throwing Foley in relief Thursday night. “When we lose games, we get a little angry and I think the anger came out tonight.”
“But everything happened tonight: the hitting, Foley’s win, we just have to wash it up, and get ready for a true championship tomorrow.”
The Wamps will be looking for a similar start — with a different ending.
“The players will have to understand that tomorrow is the last game of the year, and for the 13 seniors, their last game playing for Braintree High School,” said O’Connell.