BROCKTON — Ian Seymour had been to the Super 8 twice before and left empty-handed.
The St. John’s Shrewsbury senior had been part of two Pioneer teams that were knocked out of the tournament.
But in Wednesday night’s final against St. John’s Prep at Campanelli Stadium, Seymour made sure St. John’s was leaving with the championship hardware.
The 6-foot lefthander from Westborough came on for the save with one out in the eighth, but ran into trouble in the ninth trying to protect a 5-4 lead. With two baserunners on and two outs, Seymour had to face Prep junior Tyler MacGregor. He rifled a two-strike fastball past MacGregor to end the game.
“That last pitch I told myself I was gonna throw it as hard as I possibly could,” Seymour said. “It worked out for me, it was big getting ahead in that count.”
From there, St. John’s players poured onto the field victoriously before being awarded the Division 1A championship trophy. The Pioneers are the first non-Bay State Conference school to win the title.
“It’s great for the school, the community, and I’m really excited for the kids, and their parents who have been there for so long,” St. John’s coach Charlie Eppinger said.
“The Super 8, like they’ve done in hockey forever, you are the ultimate state champion if you bring that home.”
Before the season began, the Pioneer coaches and players gathered for a meeting to set a goal not just to qualify for the Super 8 again, but to leave victorious this year.
“It was the goal from when we started the season, we were just fortunate enough to pull it off,” Seymour said. “I can’t thank the guys enough, I can’t thank Coach enough. It’s just an amazing opportunity we had, and I’m very grateful to have completed it all today.”
While the Pioneers (23-3) left victorious, Prep walked away with a runner-up trophy for the third straight season.
The Eagles (19-7) were done in by a shaky sixth inning, in which they surrendered four runs and the lead.
Junior Dan Regan balked in a run, then St. John’s junior Jake Hamel ripped an RBI single. Seymour did the most damage, lining a grounder to shortstop too hot for Prep senior Chris Francoeur to handle. It slipped by into the outfield and two runs came home.
Prep rallied for two in the eighth to make it a one-run game, but Seymour came on to record the final five outs, four via strikeout.
“The first year in, we overachieved in the regular season . . . and last year we had some success, but I don’t know if to a man we believed we could win the whole thing,” Eppinger said.
“This year . . . everybody wanted to come back, not only to get into the Super 8, but to win it.”James Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.