A recap of today's Boston City League baseball semifinals by the Globe's Andrew Petrie:
Boston North champion Boston English jumped to an early three-run lead and the hosts held on for a 5-3 victory over South co-champs O’Bryant in the semifinals of the Boston City League baseball championships Saturday.
Starling Arias, fresh with a week of rest, dominated for English, striking out 11 batters in a complete-game effort. Coach Rich Beyer credited him with getting his team up and ready for one of the biggest games of their season.
“I told the young kids on the bench to watch the way he pitches and carries himself on the field,” Beyer said. “He bears down and he did it today.”
The game featured a controversial call that swayed the momentum of the contest. With the bases loaded and the tying run on second with two outs in the sixth inning, O’Bryant’s Eric Cabral hit a foul pop to the right side. Arias ran from the mound towards foul territory to try to make the catch, but collided with Cabral, who was hustling down the line. Cabral was called out on interference, ending the inning and stifling the best chance O’Bryant would have to take the lead.
“It was a bad call,” O’Bryant coach Junior Rivera said. “That ball was uncatchable.”
Beyer disagreed, saying Arias had a chance to make the play. “The kid was running hard to first base and running hard like he should be, but it just ended up being a tough play for them," he said.
One such play was in the third inning, when English center fielder Starling Gonzalez threw home to catch Jose Pichardo at the plate. Pichardo was tagged out and since he did not slide he was tossed from the game, providing another setback for O’Bryant.
“There were momentum plays that chanced the game and got people fired up and going all afternoon,” Beyer said.
English opened up a 3-0 lead in the first inning, highlighted by an RBI single by team captain Nelfi Zapata. The big inning fired up the English bench and gave them confidence they could take down talented O’Byant.
“It was exciting, the kids were pumped after [scoring in the first],” Beyer said. “Going up 3-0 will help you get up to play.”
Shortstop Jose Pena had three hits for O’Bryant in the loss.
English will face West Roxbury on Monday for the City title.
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