Playing with its back against the wall was nothing new to All Hallows.
The Gaels were the comeback kids during the regular season, they beat Regis and Kennedy Catholic in the final two games to make the post season. All Hallows rallied from three runs down in the seventh to win its first the CHSAA intersectional baseball playoff game and scored five time in the six to force a Game 3 against Xaverian.
“They were pretty good at this,” All Hallows coach Ed Gutierrez said. “They came from behind a lot.”
All Hallows finally faced a deficit to big to overcome, falling behind by five runs to No. 5-seed Xaverian in the first inning of a decisive Game 3. The No. 14 Gaels again tried to rally before falling 9-6 on May 25 in Bay Ridge. All Hallows used three pitchers, including starter Joshua Terry and Xaverian used five in the contest. Ace Anthony Sigismondi, who started Game 2, closed out the game by striking out Christian Rodriguez with a runner on second.
“It was a little too big a whole to dig out of, but we made a valiant effort to do so,” Gutierrez said.
The Clippers scored twice more in the second as Nick Meola and Anthony Barbati each drove in runs to make it 7–1. All Hallows quickly showed Xaverian it wasn’t going down without a fight, plating three runs in the third to cut the deficit to 7–4. Sophomore Joseph Reyes, who also pitched well in relief, hit a solo homer to close the gap to 7–5 for the Gaels. Xaverian added two more runs in the sixth to make it 9–5. Sigismondi allowed a run in the seventh, before chaos set in.
Anthony Scotti stepped on third with runners on first and second after a groundball then threw to first looking for a double play, but the runner was called safe. Brandon Torres then threw back to third and an advancing runner was tagged, leading Xaverian to start celebrating.
“Everyone left the field,” Clipper coach Frank Del George said. “The game was over. We were shaking hands at the plate.”
But then an All Hallows coach told officials that the runner who was forced out at third by Scotti earlier in the play was actually the same one who was tagged for what appeared to be the final out. There was a long delay while the coaches argued and officials debated, and Del George protested the game before officials decided that game needed to resume with two outs. The protest would have been considered if All Hallows won the game.
“The umpires didn’t pick it up right away that it was the same guy,” Gutierrez said. “That was a little crazy.”
The Gaels were in position to advance that to a one-hitter thrown by Jorge Melan, who had his fastball working, in a 5-1 in in Game 2. He only allowed a first inning run on a groundout, struck out four and walked won. The Gales bats awoke in the sixth after leaving two runners on in the fifth Chris Rodriguez, Jornel Ozuna and Reyes each drove in a run and Melan added an two-run double.
“It felt great,” Melan said after Game 2. “Everybody got in the foxhole. This game was win or go home. Everybody got in a foxhole. Everybody played together.”
Gutierrez sees this season as a learning experience for a strong returning core. His top to pitchers Ozuna and Melan are both back along with Reyes. A strong crop up from the junior varsity will join them.
“I think a lot of them get it, the approach and the mindset it takes to go deep into these playoffs,” Gutierrez said.