A season after leading Boston English to a city championship in baseball, Modesto Gomez coached New Mission to a berth in the city tournament in the first season of the school’s baseball program.
“It’s a great accomplishment for a first-year program,” Gomez said. “I didn’t expect that we’d be so successful so early but they are good kids and they work hard. It wasn’t always easy but they played hard.”
The Titans (13-3, 9-0) clinched a spot in Saturday’s city championships by winning the Boston City League South title Monday afternoon, defeating Dorchester twice at Ross Field in Hyde Park. New Mission won the first game, 8-5, completing the final two innings from Thursday’s game that were postponed because of rain.
Then the Titans beat Dorchester, 15-9, in the second game to clinch their spot.
New Mission will likely play the winner of the North Division, Boston English, in the semifinals Saturday while the likely Central winner, East Boston, will play Latin Academy.
In addition to Gomez coaching English last year, two players (Ansel Rivera and Jomar Ventura) also played for English last year; New Mission students played on the English team since they didn’t have their own team yet.
“It feels good being undefeated in our division,” Ventura said. “We have a lot of freshmen and stuff, but they have a lot of experience and they showed they can play with the big boys.”
Ventura got the winning hit in last year’s city championship game against Latin Academy.
“It’s going to feel weird -- that’s my old team -- but I’ll still play competitive and attack,” he said. “We still want to win. We still feel like we can compete with them. We feel good about [the tournament]. I like my team and I have faith in them.”
New Mission has already lost twice to English this year.
“It will be a lot different but they are right now the best team in the city,” Gomez said.
“But we’ll go out and compete and see what happens. That’s why we play seven innings. We’re hoping for a better result than the last two times.”
New Mission led, 7-4, going into the final two innings of the suspended game, and freshman Rafael Ruiz struck out the final two batters of the game to record the save. Ruiz struck out four in two innings, while junior Ewing Diaz got the win, striking out five in five innings.
Sophomore first baseman Jose Maria was 3 for 4 with two singles, a triple, and an RBI. He also scored two runs.
Sophomore Bernard Phillip led the Bears in the first game by going 2 for 4 with a triple and a single.
Dorchester (8-7), which needed to win both games to clinch a spot in the city championships, scored two quick runs in the second game, just moments after losing the first game.
Dorchester coach Rusty Young, however, wasn’t dismayed. Despite the fact that the left side of his infield is freshmen and the right side are sophomores, Dorchester clinched a spot in the state tournament for just the second time in about 20 years.
“It’s not frustrating," said Young. "These guys have never had any other baseball coach than me. They played 16 games of baseball in their life. Five starters have never played baseball. They don’t have a lot of experience to draw from in pressure situations. The only way to teach that is with experience.”
Young said he told his team to play loose after the first game.
"We’re going to play in the state tournament and we need to play loose,” he said. “I am very proud of this team. They are a great group of kids who work hard and come to practice every day and who want to be better.”
Gomez said he was a little worried after Dorchester scored the first two runs of the game and then again after it scored five in the sixth inning to make the score 13-9.
“It got a little interesting but luckily Ewing Diaz closed it out,” Gomez said. “He throws strikes.”
Diaz struck out three batters in relief while Ruiz got the win, striking out four batters in four innings. Gabriel Sanchez was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and two doubles.
Gomez was concerned going into the games because one of his pitchers, Marvin Fransisco, is injured.
“I didn’t have as much pitching as I would have liked,” he said. “I was a little concerned to that end but I was hoping we’d compensate with our bats. We didn’t have to worry about pitching as much.”
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