By David Carty, Globe Correspondent
QUINCY -- For BC High senior Scott Warwick, nothing would ruin a return to his hometown. The Quincy native went the distance on some home turf at Adams Field and led the Eagles to victory over North Attleboro, 5-2.
With the game tied, 2-2, flashes of lightning prompted umpires to delay the game for 30 minutes. Red Rocketeers starter Mike Mancini struggled after the break. With runners on first and second, UMass-Amherst-bound Tom Conley raised his hand to call time, but his request was denied by umpire Art Krikorian. Conley didn't miss a beat, slapping an RBI single past the dive of shortstop Brendan Picini for the Eagles' go-ahead run.
Warwick retired the last 12 batters and allowed only two base runners after the lightning delay.
"I felt like I got stronger [after the delay]," said Warwick, who threw in the bullpen to keep fresh during the half-hour break.
Mancini got off on the right foot, neutralizing the Eagles batting order the first time through the lineup. His offense provide some support as well.
Right fielder Greg Dusel led off the second inning with a single to right and first baseman Kevin Connolly doubled him home to give North Attleboro the early lead. Two batters later, designated hitter Mike D'Attilio popped a one-out pitch to foul territory down the right field line. Eagles' first baseman Billy Kiley made an over-the-shoulder catch and threw home, but Kevin Connolly managed to slide in safely under the tag of BC High catcher Tom Conley.
BC High coach Norm Walsh ran out to the plate protesting the call. After a brief explanation -- and some scolding by home plate umpire Art Krikorian -- Walsh returned to the water cooler he was sitting on. The tides -- or, perhaps, the clouds, would quickly turn for his team.
Jimmy Albano and Billy Miller logged RBI single to tie the contest at 2. Then flashes of lighting prompted umpires to pull North Attleboro off the field as they warmed up before the bottom of the fifth inning.
Mancini couldn't recover from the half-hour break. "The lightning delay took some steam out of [him]," Walsh said.
Conley soon produced the go-ahead hit and BC High never looked back.
From there, it was smooth sailing for Warwick. The right-hander retired each of the last 12 batters he faced and allowed only two baserunners after the delay.
"He was the difference in the game," Eagles' coach Norm Walsh said. "He came up big."
All told, Warwick allowed five hits and hit a batter in his nine innings of work. Warwick's high pitch-count on the season was 115, a number he neared in the outing. Walsh said he planned to cut him off at 110. The coach even warmed up ace Ed Donovan, but never needed to make the switch.
"He settled into a groove," Walsh said. "He was very, very effective."
His counterpart also impressed, holding the Eagles to only five runs over six innings -- BC High's lowest offensive production of the tournament thus far.
"It was a generous strike zone," Walsh said with a smile. "Both guys made it tough on hitters."
BC High advances to today's Division I South final against Walpole -- a rematch of last year's title game -- at 7 p.m. in Braintree.
A few game notes:
In the bottom of the eighth, with Evan Dean pitching in relief for North Attleboro, junior Kevin Richman made a fantastic tumbling catch down the left-field line. Third baseman Steve Sousa followed that up on the next play with a barehanded throw on a grounder down the line to nab Cody Morgan by inches.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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