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Gael force

Zoretich's hit caps Goretti's rally to win state crown

Zoretich's hit caps Goretti's rally to win state crown

May 24, 2007|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

Click here for more photos of the game.

Alexander Zoretich just reached out and touched something.

The left-handed hitting Zoretich swung at an outside pitch to rip a game-winning, two-run triple to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to help St. Maria Goretti squeeze out a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Avalon on Wednesday to win the Maryland Private Schools B Division state championship at Municipal Stadium.

"I'm so happy right now," Zoretich said. "It was an 0-2 pitch and I was just trying to protect the plate. It wasn't even a strike. I was just trying to stick my bat out there and make contact with the ball to put the ball in play. We have been working hard all year and it is great to finish the season like this. We just kept fighting back at the end."

The Gaels (10-11) went through the double-elimination tournament undefeated to win its sixth state title in the past 10 years.

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Avalon (19-9) led 5-4 as Goretti came to bat in the seventh. J.J. O'Neill led off with a single to center and David Plank followed with a single to right. Zoretich followed with his two-run triple to clinch the state title for the Gaels.

"With our 2-3-4 hitters coming up in the last inning, we decided that we were going to go out swinging," Goretti coach John Bowen said. "We had been hitting the ball well, but it was right at people. But then, we got the clutch hits in the last inning. It has been my pleasure to coach these boys this year. I couldn't be any prouder of them. They are a great bunch of kids."

Zoretich finished with two hits and three RBIs while scoring a run. Plank got three hits and scored two runs, while O'Neill banged out two hits.

O'Neill pitched the first six innings for the Gaels and collected 10 strikeouts while allowing three runs. Will Murray pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the save.

Black Knights' pitcher Kevin Taney went the distance. Goretti's last two runs were th only earned runs he allowed.

Goretti snapped a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.

But Avalon came back with four runs in the sixth to go ahead, 5-4.

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