Holy Cross stuns Molloy
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh of a tie game and the potential winning run at second base, the last thing first-year Holy Cross coach Steve Adams wanted was to go extra innings against Archbishop Molloy.
Good thing Julian Bilodeau was at the plate.
“He’s our best hitter, he’s our leader, he’s our No. 3 hitter,” first-year Holy Cross coach Steve Adams said. “That’s the guy I want there, nobody else.”
Bilodeau delivered with a single to left field and Stephen Wolfring dramatically slid home to lift the Knights to a dramatic 3-2 win over the Stanners in Game 2 of the best-of-three CHSAA Class AA third round qualifying series at Kaiser Stadium Monday afternoon.
The win sets up a decisive Game 3 Tuesday at Fordham University. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. It comes on the heels of a 12-0 mercy-ruled shortened loss in Game 1 at Molloy earlier Monday.
“Who would have thought we’d come back and win this game?” starting pitcher David Giacomino asked. “I don’t think too many people.”
But in the Holy Cross dugout, they believed, in part because Giacomino, who already beat Molloy once in the regular season, was on the mound. The Knights were also confident because they’ve found ways to win big games and yet remained under the radar.
“That woke us up,” Wolfring said of the Game 1 loss. “We had a bad game, awful all around. We couldn’t make plays, we couldn’t throw strikes, and we didn’t hit the ball.”
That changed in Game 2 at St. John’s. Giacomino pitched a gem, allowing one earned run on five hits, striking out one with one intentional walk.
“He beat them twice and probably should have beaten them a third time,” Adams said. “He just throws strikes. There’s nothing fantastic about him. If you looked at him, you’d say he’s not even a baseball player. He looks like a bag of nothing.”
Giacomino’s biggest challenge came in the top of the seventh. Molloy (12-7) had runners at first and second with two outs and the dangerous Jonathan Ramon at the plate. The Evansville-bound slugger reached in each of his first three a-bats.
Adams took a trip out to the mound to speak with Giacomino. An intentional walk would load the bases, but bring up a hitter in Mike O’Dwyer who hadn’t gotten a ball out of the infield.
“I went out and said this is your senior year, this is it,” Adams said. “You want to be the hero, be the man and shut them down and win the game, then go ahead. I’m giving you the opportunity.”
Giacomino liked what he heard and began formulating a plan for Ramon.
“I was trying to keep the ball away because earlier in the game I pounded him in and he got a hit,” he said.
Following a slider, Giacomino threw Ramon an outside fastball and he bit, hitting a grounder to Danny Ammirati at short, who flipped to Casey Surdi at second for the final out.
Ramon, who started the game at third relieved pitcher Greg Boyle after a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Sean Brodersen to open the seventh.
Wolfring, who doubled and scored on Nick LaForgia’s sacrifice fly to center in the first, attempted a sacrifice bunt, but a base-running blunder resulted in Ramon getting the lead runner at second.
Surdi bunted Wolfring to second, bringing up Bilodeau, who was hit by a pitch in the first, drove in a run with a single up the middle in the third and walked in the fifth.
Bilodeau was looking first-pitch fastball and that’s what Ramon delivered. He laced a single to left and Adams never hesitated in waving Wolfring home.
“I can’t wait for another inning,” he said. “They are Molloy. The longer the game goes I always fear we’ll get snake-bitten or something will happen.”
Chris Piteo charged the ball and fired a strike home, but Wolfring just beat the throw, accidently cutting catcher Mike Rogers with a cleat to the face on his slide.
“I was just running as hard as I could,” Wolfring said. “When I was running I was thinking of doing a hook slide. I ran, slid and kicked the kid in the face by accident.”
The win sets up a dramatic Game 3 at Fordham Tuesday afternoon. A win and Holy Cross (11-9) advances to the CHSAA Class AA championship tournament for the first time in four years. The underrated Knights have a golden chance at earning some serious respect.
“We were always under the radar, all four years, we were never the team to beat,” Wolfring said. “Why not? Play as hard as you can and anything can happen.”
Archbishop Molloy 12, Holy Cross 0
Rosario DiLorenzo tossed a two-hitter, O’Dwyer had two hits and two RBIs, Donovan Armas had two hits and three RBIs, Piteo had two hits, Tom Hackimer had an RBI and Ramon had a hit, two walks and an RBI in Game 1 Monday afternoon in Briarwood.
Contact Dylan Butler at email@example.com
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