First, Holy Trinity refused to surrender its last breath. Next, Chaminade showed its steely determination. And now there will be a deciding Game 3 in the NSCHSAA Championship Series on Tuesday on the baseball diamond at Hofstra.
The combatants split the first two games at Hofstra on Monday in a roller coaster of a day.
In Game 1, Chaminade took a two-run lead into the seventh inning and was two outs away from victory when Holy Trinity took advantage of every miscue and sent 10 batters to the plate in a seven-run rally for an 8-3 win.
The Flyers were not deterred in their bid to win a fourth straight crown, pounding a dozen hits in a 9-4 win to tie the series.
“That first game is the stuff that coaches dream about: seeing your guys fight to the very end and find a way to win,” Holy Trinity’s Dan Luisi said. “We feel we can win any game. But in the second game they took control early and we never got it away from them.”
Chaminade coach Mike Pienkos, in his 40th season, said: “That first game was the worst loss of our season, maybe the worst loss of my career. But what I liked was how we’d put it behind us as soon as it was over. They had another game in front of them and attacked it.”
In Game 3, the Titans (18-8) will be seeking a first championship since 2012 and plan to pitch Tyler Cook, who is 1-0 with four saves, a 1.40 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 20 innings. The Flyers (19-6) are scheduled to go with Matt Brandt (2-1, 1.55 ERA).
Holy Trinity’s big Game 1 rally was filled with opportunism. After three one-out walks, Nick Delvecchio’s high bouncer eluded one leaping fielder and forced another to make a rushed throw that resulted in two runs for a 3-3 tie. When Cook’s ground ball was misplayed, two more runs scored. Andrew Heppner (two-run shot) and Sebastian Velasquez hit back-to-back two-out homers to cap the rally.
“We never feel out of a game because our lineup is deep and tough and gets a job done,” said Velasquez, who got the final three outs around an infield hit for the complete-game victory.
“It was hard to process because it happened to us so fast,” the Flyers’ Evan Baschnagel said after the split. “We didn’t expect it but we weren’t shaken. And now we’re pretty confident after scoring nine runs.”
Baschnagel drilled a three-run double to the gap in left-center for a 4-2 lead in the second inning and Chaminade never relinquished the lead. John Carroll fanned eight in four innings and reliever Giacomo Travaglia whiffed five in 2 2⁄3 innings. The Flyers got three insurance runs in the seventh, including a two-run single by Aidan Katzman.
“We didn’t think about it like back-to-wall,” Carroll said of the Game 2 mindset. “We trusted who we’ve been all season and we played like we have all season.”