With St. Anne’s-Belfield down by six runs at home to Trinity Episcopal, relief pitcher Matt Morris was the one that put his finger in the damn to keep it from breaking. And after the Saints chipped away at the lead, Charlie Murray sparked the big sixth inning with a lead off homerun. Then Murray broke out the train whistle in the dugout.
“It says 08 baseball on it and I haven’t been here since then, so I don’t know all the history on it,” Murray said. “But we break it out when we need a few runs.”
Corelation doesn’t mean causation, but something clicked. Whether the move got under the skin of the opposition, continued to rally his teammates is up for debate or the players simple found a grove cannot be determined, but STAB came through as it as so often early this season, thanks in large part to a 3-run jack from Brian Yeagle to complete its late surge with a 10-7 win. But while the offense came through late, someone had to stop the bleeding.
“Matt Morris has been strong for us all year,” said STAB coach Alan Swanson. “He comes in and throws strikes. He throws three pitches for strikes and he did a great job. We kicked the ball around a bit early, but he settled us down and carried the team.”
The first three innings saw the Saints come out of the gate slowly as the Titans mounted a quick 7-1 lead on base hits out of the gaps in the infield and a pair of errors. But after that, Morris kept the Trinity bats quiet for the rest of the day.
STAB nickled the Eagles for a run in the second inning, and then dimed in the fourth before putting together a 3-run rally in the fifth to clip the lead to 2-runs.
After Murray homered to start the sixth, the come-from-behind rally continued as Kevin White came in as a pinch runner and turned a walk into a triple thanks to two-stolen bases. After a single and a sacrifice fly that put the Saints within a run of tying the game, Yeagle came to the plate.
“We’ve been behind in every game but one,” Swanson said. “We’ve got eight seniors who play with a lot of heart and emotion. For some reason it’s taken us a while to start, and 7-1 is a little dramatic, but we’re playing the late innings very well.”
Yeagle, one of those seniors, took a swipe at one pitch low and away, held back at another pitch high and away, and then found his pitch and crushed it for a 3-run jack.
“They left the curve ball up there and I just got enough of my bat on it,” Yeagle said. “We were bound to do something, we started out slow. It felt like, late there, we were playing with a purpose.”
With Morris in a grove, the Saints finished the job in the top of the seventh to complete a two game sweep of the Titans this week.
“Matt Morris shut us down,” said Sam Mickens. “He came in and we couldn’t score for the rest of the game.”
STAB plays host to Christchurch on Wednesday at 5 p.m.