LOWELL – Christian Womble crouched down on the first base line at LeLacheur Park and hid his face in his hat as a wave of emotion hit the Taconic senior righthander Saturday afternoon. A year after he was unable to pitch in the Division 3 state final [in a 9-1 loss to Austin Prep] due to academics, Womble delivered a masterful performance on the same stage.
He pitched a complete-game gem with 12 strikeouts and allowed just one run on two hits as the Braves clinched the program’s second state title in the last three years – the first in Division 3 with a 4-1 win over Medway.
“Just being here to be able to pitch this game meant a lot to me,” said Womble.
“I know if I pitched [last year] I feel like it could have been a lot better and a lot more in favor of our team. They told me that ‘next year you got to come back and win it. You can’t let your grades stop you from that’ and now I am an honors student.”
It didn’t take long for Womble to make his presence known on the mound – striking out the side in the top of the first and setting the tone for the reminder of the game.
And it wasn’t just on the bump that Womble was a factor. He knocked a one-out triple in the bottom half of the first and scored on a single by sophomore catcher Leo Arace. The Braves (22-3) extended the advantage in the fifth on a suicide squeeze by sophomore Brendan Stannard that plated pinch runner Luke Whitehouse.
In the end, two runs is all Womble would need. But nursing a one run lead in the sixth following two-out RBI single by Medway junior Matt Kaplan in the top half of the inning, Taconic added insurance.
A two-out error allowed the inning to continue and senior Jake Harrington made the Mustangs pay with a double into the gap. Sophomore Anton Lazits followed with his own run-scoring base hit – a triple that made it 4-1 and closed the door on any comeback from the Mustangs (17-7).
“[In the fifth inning] we said that if we get one or two more runs it might put the nail in the coffin,” said Taconic coach Kevin Stannard.