The Crusaders didn’t throw enough strikes to keep St. Mary’s honest at the dish, with three pitchers combining for 56 percent of their offerings for strikes. Starter Robbie Carrillo only walked two and allowed four hits in 31/3 innings, but his pitch count climbed into the 70s fairly early on. The Crusaders also committed errors that led to two Spartan runs in the third and three more in the fourth.
“We need to work on strikes. Too many pitches early in the game makes it hard later on,” said Canty. “Rob threw well. He has a good fastball, but he got behind too many guys and when they’re able to sit on that fastball, they can hit it.”
Chris Blake’s bases-loaded double in the fourth appeared to break the game open as St. Mary’s moved ahead, 5-2. Fenwick clawed back in the sixth as Traversey’s single and two Spartan errors opened the door for Matt Townsend’s fielder’s choice RBI, as well as a run driven in by Jhon Oliveria when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Nick Bona (double, two walks, RBI) hit a sacrifice fly to tie it at 5-5 after St. Mary’s lifted starting pitcher Clay Yianacopolus (5 innings, 3 hits, 3 strikeouts). Fenwick couldn’t take the lead, however, and left a total of eight men on base (7 of those in scoring position in part thanks to 8 stolen bases).
“We’re swinging the bats a lot better,” said Canty. “We just didn’t get the job done with a couple of chances with men on base.”
After St. Mary’s led off the sixth with a single, Fenwick called on senior Tommy Parsons out of the bullpen. Two walks and a sacrifice bunt led to Antonio Felix’s infield single for the go-ahead run, and St. Mary’s tacked on another on a fielder’s choice to lead 7-5.
“One of the things we talk about is answering, especially as the home team,” said Dana. “It was good to put the pressure back on them.”
Fenwick initially led 2-0 as James Dellisola’s sacrifice fly plated Carrillo (single, stolen base). Renzulli also collected an RBI in the second, plating Townsend (walk, stolen base). Oliveira swiped two bags and Traversey also stole one.