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Long-ball assault leaves Gaels defenseless

April 23, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

St. Maria Goretti baseball coach Mike Brashears was considering enrolling in martial arts classes.

Brashears admitted he was a little upset with himself after he realized he didn't defend the Gaels properly against a foe with a lethal weapon.

The foe was Carlos Rivera. The weapon was a baseball bat. The defensible blow was a home run.

Rivera unloaded his second home run of the game - a solo shot to center with two outs in the seventh inning - to provide the difference Thursday in a 5-4 loss to Notre Dame Academy.

"I coached badly in the last inning," Brashears said, dejectedly. "I should have taken the bat out of his hands. I dug a hole for the team in the seventh. It was all my fault."

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Goretti overcame a three-run first inning - keyed by a Rivera two-run homer - to tie the game at 3-3 after two innings. From there, Gaels starter Sean Engle and the Notre Dame tandem of Ryan Crosby and Artie Snyder locked into a pitching battle.

Notre Dame (21-4) broke the tie when pinch hitter Trey Woolford led off the seventh with a solo blast down the left-field line off Engle's 1-2 pitch. Two outs later, it was time for Rivera, who had a reputation preceding him.

Rivera hit four consecutive homers and drove in nine runs in a 16-9 win over Mercersburg Academy on Wednesday. He made it five straight homers and 11 RBI after his first-inning at-bat.

Rivera golfed Engle's 2-0 pitch at his ankles over the center-field fence for the insurance run.

"Sean pitched well again," Brashears said. "He can't get a break. But he didn't quit ... and I didn't help him by digging the hole."

Notre Dame has been Virginia's version of the Bronx Bombers during its northern swing with 11 home runs in two games.

"We have been fortunate for the last week and a half," Notre Dame coach Mike Lockhart said. "We have hit 15 home runs. We came into the season thinking we can outhit anyone we face, but it hasn't been that way. Usually we don't get started until the fourth inning and really start scoring runs in the sixth and seventh."

Goretti mounted its comeback with two outs in the seventh as Dan Plank walked and Kevin Brashears and Brian Massamilla each singled. Engle coaxed a walk off Snyder to bring home a run, but the Gaels ended the game with the bases loaded.

The Gaels left two runners in scoring position in the second and the base-loaded in the third.

Rivera's first home run and Jeremy Thompson's RBI grounder gave the Irish a 3-0 in the first. The Gaels (8-5) got one run back in the bottom of the inning as Chris Dotson singled and scored on Mason Herman's two-out double to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Goretti tied game in the second on Paul Angello's RBI single and Herman's bases-loaded walk. Angello and Dotson each had two hits for the Gaels.

"It could have been curtains fast for us," Mike Brashears said. "But we kept a good attitude and fought back."

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