Malden Catholic 5, BC High 1
MALDEN--Malden Catholic had never won its own Catholic Conference title outright. Not in Steve Freker’s nine years as head coach. Not in the history of the school. They earned a share of it more than two decades ago, but that’s it.
So with his team down 1-0 to BC High Monday, Freker was as little nervous and a little intense. “All these Catholic Conference games are so close,” he said.
But the Lancers always keep an ace tucked away somewhere.
“I would say it’s a calling card,” Freker said.
This year it’s Chris Labriola, the senior with the mixed bag of pitches and the endurance to throw four complete games and win them all without flinching.
And with BC High over for a visit to Maplewood Field Monday afternoon and at least a share of the Catholic Conference title being the sweet reward if the senior left hander could stretch his undefeated streak to five games, Freker was more than comfortable reaching into his pocket for an ace.
Labriola went the distance for a fifth time in MC’s 5-1 win over the Eagles that upped his season record to 5-0 after giving up just one earned run and guaranteeing the Lancers at least a share of their first Catholic Conference title since 1983.
Almost simultaneously, St. John’s Prep was handing Xaverian its third conference loss, clinching Malden Catholic’s first outright Catholic Conference title in school history.
“I think it’s great,” Freker said. “It’s something that hasn’t been done in a long time."
The senior left hander started off slowly against BC High, plunking the Eagles leadoff batter and walking three batters in four innings, but aside from a straight-off–the-assembly-line run that BC High manufactured in the second inning, Freker said, “They weren’t hitting him.”
“Every year since I’ve been here we’ve had at least one big pitcher,” Freker said.
He was able to pitch with a lead after the third inning when junior outfielder Dario Pizzano got a hold of a pitch from BC High's Frank Sorrenti and hit it hard and deep into the corner in right field that scored Tony Serino and James Castrucci.
The Lancers piled two more on in the fourth on a two-run double by Nate Witkowski. An RBI single by Robert Machado in the fifth allowed Labriola to cruise through two more scoreless innings, and lower an ERA that was an already microscopic 0.50 coming in.
He helped Malden Catholic win their first Catholic Conference title in any sport since the lacrosse team raised the championship banner in 2006.
"It’s great for the school," Freker said. "It’s great for the kids. They have a lot of goals and that’s certainly one of them.”
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