Latin Academy clinched a trip to the city baseball tournament behind a dominant pitching performance from Vincent Lopriore against West Roxbury Monday afternoon.
“We know we've got our backs up against the wall. We've got to play our best game of the year defensively and offensively, and we did good,” Lopriore said after the 5-0 win. “We swung the bats well, played good defense, I was able to throw strikes and we’re really exited to go back to the [tournament].”
If West Roxbury had beaten Latin Academy, it would have surpassed the Dragons in the North Division and joined Boston English as the two North teams going to the tournament.
However, the Raiders couldn’t manage to get a hit off of Lopriore until the sixth inning when junior Steven Augusta – the last hitter in coach Clifton Wilson’s lineup -- hit a single to left field. The Latin Academy senior pitcher was dominant, only allowing two hits through all seven innings, to go along with eight strikeouts.
West Roxbury junior Sean Haugh also pitched well, only allowing three runs through five innings. In the sixth inning, however, Wilberto Colon and Nick Hicks each brought home runs in bases-loaded situations to extend the Latin Academy lead.
“Both pitchers pitched really well. The difference was their pitcher had a second pitch and ours didn’t,” Wilson said. “Ours basically threw a fastball and they put a few hits together to make that work.”
Lopriore also thought that his variety of pitches was key to what he called one of his best performances of the year.
“I had three pitches working for me today, not just one or two,” Lopriore said. “I had my fastball, slider, and change-up working for me today. I was able to throw strikes, use my defense and got the win.”
He also credited his catcher, Dan O’Connell.
O’Connell, currently leading the city in batting average, brought home Latin Academy’s first run with a sacrifice fly. RBI singles by Mark Guerard and Patrick Owens followed.
After the game, a majority of coach Anthony Bernazzani’s credit went to his “ace.” It also left him hoping Lopriore has enough for the tournament.
“We were lucky to have his turn in the rotation come up today,” Bernazzani said. “Hopefully ... we can see him again this weekend and there will be enough rest.”
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