Despite a shorthanded roster, West Roxbury still made history Thursday afternoon by advancing to the Division 4 North baseball final with a 6-2 win over Boston International.
“I’m going back to Manny Delcarmen when he played here -- I don’t believe they’ve ever been to the [Division 4 North final],” said West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson after the win at Robert DeFelice Field at Bentley University. “This is historic.This is special.”
The Raiders beat the No. 1-seeded team without starting pitcher Sean Haugh and center fielder Raymond Tejada, who were suspended for disciplinary reasons. Wilson was left with 10 players on his roster and had to start four freshmen.
The focus was on the mound, where senior captain Alejandro Lopez had to fill in for Haugh. Lopez pitched well, striking out five batters and allowing just one run in the sixth inning before senior Christopher Moreta relieved him.
“Our game plan coming in was to pound the zone with his fastball,” Wilson said. “He threw the fastball for strikes and he used his off-speed pitch, which is his curveball, very effectively through five.”
West Roxbury got on the board first when Ruel Delarosa hit an RBI single to score Jan Pereyra, who had reached on an error. Freshman Cesar Garcia added to that in the second by knocking in Jean Done on a double.
The Raiders opened it up in the fifth inning when Moreta and Lopez were brought home on a Pereyra double. Junior Brian Navarro iced the game in the sixth by scoring Delarosa on a single, and William Cabral Santos brought Navarro home for the sixth run of the game.
“Even though we have people out, we still have to take leadership in what we’re doing,” junior catcher Brian Navarro said. “Play our game, come out and do what we got to do. Stay hard. Go hard or go home, that’s the key.”
Navarro added that playing at a college field made him even more animated.
“Oh man, I was like, 'It feels like ‘I’m in Fenway Park!' ” Navarro said. “It’s pretty big, it’s a pretty good field and this is my first time playing here so I love it.”
West Roxbury also showed defensive prowess, twice turning double plays on line drives.
“I’ve got confidence in my teammates," said Navarro. "The double plays they made were even surprising for me. I’m glad they did those plays, got us out of the inning. That's what we got to do.”
Even though West Roxbury swept International this season, Wilson said he has respected coach Christian Irizarry’s squad since first seeing them.
“I gained tremendous respect for that team, their coach and all that they did, and we knew coming into today that we would have to play extremely well to beat them,” Wilson said.
Boston International scored one run in the sixth on a Nelfry Velez RBI and one in the seventh on RBI triple from Pedro Peguero. Velez and Junior Perdomo are the only two graduating seniors on the roster. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores and freshmen.
“They came in, they had fun, they had a good season,” Irizarry said. “Just keep working. We have a young team, so next year we hope to be here and hopefully win it all.”
West Roxbury will move on to face the winner of the Lowell Catholic-Georgetown game Sunday at 10 a.m. at LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners.
“I’m just proud of the West Roxbury baseball team, the players that came out,” Wilson said. “We put everything that we had into it and I couldn’t be happier.”
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