St. John Paul II captures fourth sectional baseball title in six years
BRAINTREE — St. John Paul II has had a flair for the dramatic all postseason in the Division 4 South tournament.
On Monday afternoon in the sectional finals, it proved to be the same story for the top-seed Lions (22-2).
St. John Paul scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take its first lead of the game, and held on for an 8-6 victory over second-seeded Abington to clinch the program’s fourth sectional title in the last six years.
The Lions will play Division 4 North champion Manchester Essex Tuesday at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton at 7 p.m.
“[The players] have never given up the entire time,” said St. John Paul coach Chris Russell. “Everyone from the first kid on the roster to the last has helped us at some point and it showed again today.”
St. John Paul entered the sixth inning trailing, 4-2. RBIs Seniors Craig O’Connor and Christian Labossier had RBIs in the fifth to give the Green Wave (19-5) a slight advantage after the Lions had tied it in the fourth.
Back-to-back walks to begin the sixth knocked Abington junior starter Richard Reissfelder out of the game, and his replacement, Brady Cristoforo, gave up a single to the first batter he faced to load the bases. Junior Kevin Simpson followed with an RBI single — his third of the game — to make it 4-3, and an error tied the score.
A perfectly executed suicide squeeze by senior Andrew Cassidy gave the Lions the lead, and a sacrifice fly from senior Will Good extended it just before junior Sean Roycroft smacked a two-run, ground-rule double to cap off the scoring.
Abington plated two runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run on second base but were unable to tie it.