St. John’s Prep coach Dan Letarte raced out of the Campanelli Stadium dugout, the first one to greet his son, Sean Letarte, after he recorded the final out of Sunday’s Super 8 showdown.
DJ Brooks put the second-seeded Eagles ahead with a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth, and the righthander closed the door an inning later with a strikeout, setting up a lengthy and emotional Father’s Day embrace as St. John’s Prep punched a ticket to the Super 8 final for the fourth time in five years with a come-from-behind, 7-6 win over third-seeded Walpole.
The Eagles (21-4) will play eighth-seeded North Andover (19-4) on Tuesday, and must beat the Knights twice to win the title.
“Emotions came out and the first thing I thought was Father’s Day when I saw my son,” Dan Letarte said. “We just stuck with patience and poise, and we found a way to win.”
Walpole (18-6) took a commanding 6-3 lead with a six-run third inning thanks to three consecutive two-out RBI singles from Aidan Murray, Ryan Boyajian, and Jack Magane. But the Prep tied the score in the sixth.
Brooks reached on a throwing error when the first base umpire called Chris McLean off the bag on a controversial bang-bang play. That kept the inning alive for Max Freedman, who roped a game-tying triple into the left-center gap.
After Will Frain led off the eighth with a walk, the stage was set for the 5-foot-6-inch Brooks. In the midst of a battle with Rebel ace Cam Schlittler, the junior lined a 3-2 fastball down the right field line to score Frain.
“He was throwing a lot of fastballs so I just tried to lock in and put a bat on the ball,” Brooks said. “We’ve been up against it the whole year. We just stuck together as a family and battled.”
Division 1 South
Bridgewater-Raynham 4, Bishop Feehan 0 — In need of a spark in the third meeting of the season against Feehan, top-seeded B-R received a game-changing play in the outfield. Two innings later, the Trojans dropped a ball into the outfield to produce the game’s first run and never looked back in the D1 South final at Jack Tripp Field in Taunton.
In the process, B-R (23-1) put their lone loss of the season in the rearview mirror and earned their first sectional title since their state championship run in 2014.
Bridgewater-Raynham will play North champion Methuen in a state semifinal Tuesday night (7 p.m.) back in Taunton.
“It feels outstanding,” B-R coach Mike Carrozza said. “Five years later — maybe it’s that golden five years, who knows — but it is a nice feeling. I’m happy for them, I’ve got eight seniors and it’s great for them to go out winning the South sectional.”
Jill Johnson came up with the play of the afternoon in the top of the the third, climbing and extending over the top of the left-field fence to rob Isabella Sheeran of a surefire two-run homer that would have given Feehan (20-3) a 2-0 lead.
Instead, pitcher Brooke Sroczinski’s no-hit bid went into the bottom of the fifth, when Emily Newcomb dunked a two-out, two-strike blooper into shallow right field, scoring Summer Sheerin from second for a 1-0 B-R lead.
Newcomb’s RBI single was the only Trojan hit to leave the infield. B-R tacked on three more runs in the sixth after a throwing error allowed Emma Talpey to score from second, followed by an single from Sheerin and a sacrifice from Julia Ferry.
All the while, Ferry spun a fantastic game in the circle for the shutout. She only registered one strikeout, but induced weak contact all afternoon long with her change of speeds, growing more confident with her changeup in the latter innings.
“That’s a potent offense we went up against,” Carrozza said. “Julia battled all game long, and the defense made the outs.”
Brendan Hall reported from Taunton.