St. Raymond didn’t manage a hit against Archbishop Molloy starter Anthony Romero for nearly seven innings, but that didn’t stop coach Marc DeLuca from believing something small could start something big.
Two outs away from defeat, St. Raymond’s rallied for seven runs in the top of the seventh for an unlikely 8-2 comeback victory over Molloy in CHSAA baseball on April 15 in Briarwood.
“All we needed was just one guy to get on to get the tying run on, and we did that,” DeLuca said. “That’s what started the rally, a walk. We hit at the right time. That shows the character of the team; until the game is over, we’ve still got work to do.”
With one out in the seventh, trailing by a run, a pair of errors on some more routine groundballs allowed Keury Abreu, who walked, to knot the score at 2-2 after the third baseman threw home high on a fielder’s choice.
After Romero exited the game, Samuel Delacruz finally got St. Ray’s first hit, the go-ahead single. Josh Colon followed two-batters later with a two-run triple and scored on a single by John Rodriguez. Jemal Betances capped the scoring with a two-run home run to dead to put the game out of reach.
On just four hits, St. Ray’s scored seven runs in the final inning. Once they finally broke through, they broke it open.
Romero gave up just two earned runs and struck out nine batters. He got his support from his teammates in the fourth on RBI singles by Billy Hatzinikolaou and Daniel Hoff for a 2-0 lead. St. Ray’s starter Jeancarlos Bonilla matched zeros with Romero from that point on. He struck out five batters and allowed just six hits to eventually pick up the win.
“It’s a great team win, we kept battling, and the defense got better throughout the game, and our hitting came along,” Bonilla said. “I just wanted to give my team the best chance to win.”
A pair of errors, one by Hatzinikolaou on a missed catch at first, with two outs in the fifth allowed St. Ray’s to get within a run, but the no-hitter was still preserved, as Romero retired the next four batters to keep the lead as well.
It didn’t last.
“Unfortunately we’re going to have to be able to field the ball. [Romero] can’t strike out 21 guys,” Molloy coach Brad Lyons said. “Right now we’re terrible.”
Molloy tried to get the run back in the sixth following a walk, a stolen base, and a bunt, but Rony Guiterrez kept the game within a run by gunning the runner down at the plate with a superb throw from right. Even with the errors, Romero held St. Ray’s hitless until the last inning.