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Murray's right pick lifts Gaels

May 19, 2009|By JACK HILL III

Will Murray knew it pays to be selective.

He let one strike go by ... then another ... but he knew that one more would be on the way.

He was right. Murray hit an 0-2 pitch over the right fielder's head for an RBI single in the seventh inning to lead St. Maria Goretti to a come-from-behind 13-12 victory over The Heights on Tuesday in the losers' bracket final of the Maryland Private Schools "B" Tournament.

"I took the first two strikes," Murray said. "I knew he was going to bring me another one. I just wanted to do the best I could with it and get the bat on the ball. It was definitely a battle of the sticks. Both teams hit the ball really well. We capitalized on our opportunities."

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Murray capped a complete comeback for the Gaels (10-12), who had six straight hitters reach safely without an out to produce the winning rally.

Connor Grimsley led off with a single to right, Aaron Wilkinson walked and Nic Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The Heights relief pitcher Nick Lulli attempted to pick off Grimsley at third and threw the ball away. Grimsley and Wilkinson each scored and Martin took third as Goretti tied the score at 12-12.

The Gaels reloaded the bases when Dan Rost walked and J.J. O'Neill was issued an intentional walk. It set the stage for Murray.

Murray drove in three runs for the Gaels, while O'Neill added two RBIs. Rost and Grimsley had two hits each and Martin won the game in relief by pitching the final 3 2/3 innings.

"That was a big win," Goretti coach Duane Myers said. "We hung in there and fought back to get the win. We put the ball in play and we hit the ball well. That is what you have to do. We battled to the end. We showed that we have the heart to play the game. I am just proud of them."

The Heights (20-13) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Goretti countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on Rost's RBI double and O'Neill's two-run homer.

The Heights tied the score with a run in the top of the third, but the Gaels responded with four runs in their half of the inning to go ahead 7-3. Murray drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. A throwing error provided two more runs before Grimsley capped the rally with an RBI single.

The Heights came back and took control of the game with a seven-run fourth for a 10-7 lead.

The Gaels got one run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Murray and two runs in the sixth on an infield error and a fielder's choice grounder by Vince Turano to tie the score at 10-10.

The Heights scored twice in the seventh to regain the lead, forcing the Gaels to rally to win.

St. Maria Goretti travels to Avalon today at 4:30 in the championship round of the double-elimination tournament. If Avalon wins today, it clinches the title. If Goretti wins, the Gaels will host the title game on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Avalon defeated Goretti 8-5 on Saturday.

Goretti 13, The Heights 12
The Heights 201 700 2 -- 12 12 7
Goretti 304 102 3 -- 13 7 4

Hadley, Lulli (7) and Capretta. Smith, Martin (4) and Donoghue. WP -- Martin. LP -- Lulli. HR -- SMG: O'Neill (1st, one on).

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