On the grandest stage, in the biggest moment of his career, junior Scott Creedon was brilliant against a St. John’s Prep team that put up 20 runs against Braintree just 24 hours earlier.
“Scotty’s the best pitcher in the state of Massachusetts,” said O’Connell, pausing between sentences to compose himself after his team’s 7-2 victory Thursday night at Campanelli Stadium. “He’s what we’re all about, he’s one of the most competitive players I’ve ever coached.”
The righthander pitched all nine innings for the Wamps, finishing with four strikeouts, no walks, and 13 groundball outs.
The win was his second in the Super 8 Tournament.
“After losing [in the final] last year, and coming back stronger this year, it just feels great to win it,” said Creedon, who found out he was starting Thursday in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game. “I have no words to explain this moment . . . we just had fire.”
After a demoralizing 20-4 loss on Wednesday, Braintree was able to bounce back; there was no sign of being demoralized — or a lack of confidence.
“What a group,” said O’Connell. “What a resilient group to come out like this after last night’s shellacking.”
Video: Braintree coach Bill O’Connell postgame comments (Part 1)
The Wamps’ offense was relentless all night, scoring a run in the second, fourth, and fifth innings before pulling away late.
Braintree third baseman Connor Columbus turned an unassisted double play on a live drive to end the sixth; had the ball gotten by him, it would have given Prep the lead.
Catcher Colin Rios then launched a seventh-inning home run into left, his second homer of the Super 8.
Braintree added another run in the inning, and in the eighth Kevin Troy, who hit third after batting in the sixth spot the whole tournament, lined an opposite-field, two-run home run that just sneaked over the left-field wall.
In the bottom of the ninth, Creedon struck out the first batter, then induced two groundouts to shortstop Anthony Venuti.
As Venuti gathered and threw to first, players were already streaming out of the dugout to join the celebration.
“I’ve been waiting for this my entire life, this team just doesn’t give up” said Rios, whose team scored six of its runs with two outs.
Columbus, who finished his high school career, agreed.
“We knew we had to forget about last night,” he said. “We didn’t give up, we kept hitting the ball and scrapping for two-out hits. We knew Scott was going to be big for us.”
Braintree lost to Newton North in the inaugural Super 8 last year.
“From the beginning, we knew we had to win if we got back here,” said O’Connell. “And now, it’s a dream come true.”