By Andrew Petrie, Globe Correspondent
LOWELL – Scott Warwick hit the inside corner to catch Westfield pinch hitter Tim Lorenz looking, and the BC High Eagles had their first state championship since 2001 after beating Westfield, 7-1.
The win ended an impressive late season run for BC High. After finding themselves in last place at the beginning of the season, the Eagles turned on the afterburners. They finished the regular season at 16-4 and had three walk off wins in the state tournament.
“The makeup of this team is why we’re standing here now,” BC High head coach Norm Walsh said after the game as his players celebrated with the championship trophy. “It’s great, and really no surprise, that they finished they way they did. They were determined.”
Warwick came though huge for the Eagles in the biggest game of their season. The senior threw a complete game, striking out four Bombers batters and dancing in and out of trouble throughout the game. He did not have a 1-2-3 inning until the ninth, but was sure with his team would back him.
“I tried to focus and hit my spots,” he said. “I was confident it would work out. I had the best team in the state behind me.”
With the Eagles holding on to a slim 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, Warwick got what may have been the biggest out of the game. With the tying run at the plate, he snared a hard-hit ground ball and started a 1-6-3 double play.
It turned out to be the closest Westfield would get the rest of the way. BC High went on to score four runs the next inning, thanks to shaky defense by the Bombers and RBI singles by Tyler Horan, Tom Chase, and Mitch McClune, to go up 6-0.
Westfield’s hitters struggled with runners on could only scratch out one run all night. Joshua Blair led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Nick Gezotis doubled him home to cut the lead to 6-1, but then Warwick buckled down. He got the next batter out easily, and struck out Clifford Laraway on three pitches to end the inning.
“Once Scott smells it, its over,” Walsh said. “He just battled, battled, battled. He was just great.”
Early on, BC High catcher Tom Conley was able to use his arm to stifle potential Westfield rallies. The Catholic Conference MVP threw out Laraway by three steps at second base when he attempted a steal in the third inning. Then, after Steve Blair reached on a throwing error, an alert Conley (who was backing up the play) threw out the first baseman after he tried to advance to second on the play.
“We had to make a play in those spots,” said Conley, the team captain. “They were pretty much routine plays, but the size of the spot made them seem all that much bigger.”
A scary moment occurred with two outs in the second inning after BC High’s Billy Riley hit a sharp one-hop ground ball off the base off the mound. The shot appeared to ricochet off starter Jim Lorenz’s leg and towards second baseman Jeffery Crawford, who picked up the ball and made the out at first to end the inning. But Lorenz continued to lie on his side on the mound, his face expressing obvious pain. After a few moments he was able to walk off the mound under his own power and continue the game.
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- 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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
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- 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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