Boston English’s baseball team punched its ticket to the city championship final on Saturday afternoon for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
The Boston City League North conference regular season champions beat the South conference champs Boston International 11-4 in the first semifinal of the day at English High.
English will meet its North conference rival, Latin Academy, in the championship game 10 a.m. Monday, also at English High. Latin Academy defeated Central conference champion East Boston, 12-3, in the day’s second semifinal.
Saturday also marked first-year English coach Modesto “Moe” Gomez’s first trip to the city championships.
“It’s an accomplishment,” said Gomez, who coached at Hyde Park for eight years. “That, as a coach, is what you want, to take a team to the championship game. That’s the kids' accomplishment. The kids did it, not me.”
The game had all the makings of a slug fest after International took a 3-2 lead in the first inning.
English struck first when sophomore outfielder Wanderson Pinales had an RBI triple to score sophomore shortstop Frankley Gonzalez. Senior designated hitter Bryanne Toney knocked in Pinales with a single.
International (12-4) responded when junior left fielder Nelfry Velez knocked in senior second baseman Frank Angeli Rosario and freshman shortstop Frank Rosario. Freshman catcher Darwin Ruiz sent Velez home on a sacrifice ground out.
But English broke open the game with five runs in the second inning to take a 7-2 lead. Senior catcher Jessey Valdez’s two-RBI triple scored Pinales and sophomore infielder Miguel Calderon.
“They were killing me outside and low,” Valdez said of grounding out in the first inning. “My second at bat, I just focused on the outside pitch and killed the at bat.”
English could have had two more runs in the second inning but had base runners thrown out at third and at home. Senior outfielder Anthony Aviles hit what should’ve been a triple before Gomez waved him home.
“I was being a little bit aggressive,” Gomez said. “That was my fault, sending [Aviles] home. I just wanted to keep aggressive and force the game against Boston International because they came out swinging their bats so I didn’t want to let them get too comfortable.
“They started off well. The game settled down for both teams in the middle innings but they started out with a bang.”
Valdez was a little worried when English didn’t pick up the two extra runs.
“At first they had a really good turn up so when Anthony [Aviles] got that triple but he got thrown out at first, that got us a little worried,” Valdez said. “At the beginning of the game, we kept scoring and they kept scoring so we thought it would be a good game. Later in the game I was wondering what happened because they have a good lineup and a lot of good hitters.”
Boston International lost in the semifinals of the city playoffs last year as well.
“This is a young team, almost everyone coming in was new except for my pitcher and second baseman,” International coach Christian Irizarry said. “We hope next year we will be here with more experience.”
First, International will try to make a run in the state tournament this spring.
“Now we’re going to put more effort and heart into the states,” junior first baseman Junior Perdomo said.
Senior third baseman Bryan Toney went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI for English.
Junior pitcher Johamin Vicioso got the win after allowing five hits, striking out four batters and walking three in six and 1/3 innings.
English’s ace, junior Nelson Barreiro, struck out two in 2 and 1/3 innings of relief pitching.
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 @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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