Sean Martin (@ShoreSportsNJ)
The 10th seeded Holy Spirit Spartans defeated #4 Marist on Wednesday 7 to 1 to win the South Jersey Non-public B sectional championship.
Marist starter Mike Christopoulos struggled with his locations early on, and the Spartans would take advantage in the first inning. Christopoulos walked leadoff hitter Tommy Burns on four pitches, and followed by hitting AJ Russo with a pitch.
With the first two runners on for Anthony Boselli, he singled with a ground ball to bring home the first run of the game.
The big blow in the inning would come after Matt Marczyk worked another four pitch walk to load the bases. Chris Lefferts drove one over the head of the left fielder to clear the bases with a triple and make the score 4-0.
Marist would not go without their chances to get back into the game, but a few timely base running errors would cost them.
In the bottom of the first, Oneal Troche worked a leadoff walk against Spartan starter Bobby Spicer. He would steal second before Spicer retired the next two hitters.
Troche would then be caught at third for the final out of the inning, preserving the 4-0 Holy Spirit lead.
“When I’m on the mound my teammates try to get me a lead. They like how I work quick on the mound.”, said Spicer. He added, “those four runs were such a relief for me to pitch with a lead from the start. I was hoping that those four were all we would need, if the defense could keep it together. They indeed did, turning me two double plays when I needed them”.
Marist would scrape a run across the next inning against Spicer, but again ran themselves out of a chance to do more.
With a run home on a fielder’s choice ground ball and the bases loaded, the runner on third would get caught between third and home to end the inning. Marist trailed 4 to 1 going to the third.
The Spartans would tack on runs against AJ Candelario, who replaced Christopoulos in the second, in the fourth and fifth innings to preserve the win.
In the fourth, Tommy Burns hit an infield single with two outs for his second hit of the day. After stealing second, AJ Russo walked to put two on. With Boselli at the plate, Burns would steal third and Russo later took second to put two in scoring position. Anthony Boselli once again delivered a big hit, driving them in with a two run double.
The Spartan run in the fifth came on a double steal attempt with runners on the corners. The throw went to second, and Joe Hartley jogged home for the team’s 7th and final run.
Spicer would get out of a jam in the bottom of the inning with a strikeout, and induce a double play in the 6th to end another Marist threat.
“As a pitcher, they help out tremendously”, said the sophomore Spicer on the double plays his defense turned.
He then took the ball with his team three outs away from the title, and struck out the first two batters before getting a popout to short to end the game.
Holy Spirit had won the section! In a non-public bracket filled with powerful teams, it was the Spartans that won with pitching, defense and timely hitting to advance to the state final.
The Spartans will now play for the overall non-public B title against Newark Academy, who won B North today with a 5-0 win over Montclair Kimberley.