Mario Rodriguez wanted to end his high school baseball career without the stress of having it be an elimination game. The Monsignor Scanlan senior catcher ensured it by delivering a walk-off single to lift this team to the CHSAA Class A title.
“We lose, we have to play this game again so let me end this game here and make this the last at bat,” he said. “I was looking away. He left it middle, so I just took it right back up the middle.”
The Crusaders defeated the Kingsmen 4-3 in eight innings to win the crown on June 4 at Jack Kaiser Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University. A loss would have forced a winner-take-all Game 2.
“It feels great,” Scanlan coach Julio Casiano said. “It’s been a very long season for us.”
After a throwing error led to their first run, Scanlan jumped ahead in the bottom of the third. Pitcher Errny Ordonez’s RBI double made it 2-0.
“I knew I was going to hit,” the sophomore said. “I was pitching so I did what I had to do.”
Ordonez had a no hitter going for 4 1/3 innings before back-to-back singles from Andre Westbrook and Michael Torres broke it up. It looked like Ordonez got out of the jam with the lead, but Nelson Rodriguez dropped the third strike to Agustin Quiles and run came home. A throwing error and another pass ball led to two more runs to put the Kingsmen ahead 3-2. Ordonez was able to get Jordan Serrano out to keep it a one-run game.
“If that fourth run was to score it would be harder,” Ordonez said. “I knew I had to hold them there and I did. And my defense helped me,” Ordonez said.
Scanlan tied the score at 3-3 on a fielder’s choice from Nelson Rodriguez in the bottom the sixth.
Nazareth threated with runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth. Ordonez, who pitched a complete game, allowing three hits, and struck out 10 batters, suffered a cramp. He got back up and got Gasper Valle to ground out to short to keep things tied..
“My leg was hurting. I wanted to throw a strike,” Ordonez said. “I did and my shortstop got me out of it.”
Getting out of the jam gave Mario Rodriguez the chance to be the hero in the bottom half of the eighth.
“This team has a lot of heart,” Mario Rodriguez said. “We knew once we were behind we were going to come right back. It’s the best feeling to go out my senior year with a bang and pass it down.