ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
St. Mary’s Ryan Turenne fouls a ball into the turf in front of home plate.
By STEVE KRAUSE
LYNN — The ending of Monday night’s 2-1 Archbishop Williams win over St. Mary’s was one of those moments that stunned everyone who saw it.
The Spartans (10-6) were down to their last strike, with a runner on first, and catcher Ryan Turenne up at bat. The big lefty hitter took Bishops pitcher Jack Rega to a full count and then unleashed a towering shot to deep right field.
Pat Kelly was playing so deep he seemed lost amid the fence and the backdrop of the Manning Field parking lot. And he had to turn around and get on his horse.
But that’s what he did. He was able to meet the ball at the chain link fence, leap up, and grab it for the final out, leaving the Spartans standing around in amazement as the Williams kids all dashed out to mob him in right field.
“He certainly hit that one right on the screws,” said St. Mary’s coach Derek Dana.
“If that’s hit down at our field (in Braintree) that’s gone,” said Williams coach Jim Dolan. “For a minute I thought it was anyway.
“He’s a great hitter,” Dolan said, “and they’re a great team. I love the way they play. The play the game right. We love to play them.”
Dana wasn’t quite so ebullient. The Spartans are in a prolonged batting slump heading into the final stages of the regular season.
“Hitting is our main issue now,” he said. “We can’t seem to be consistent. We don’t hit with runners in scoring position. We have to put the ball in play more. Pop-ups and strikeouts aren’t getting us anywhere. We have to get more ground balls, line drives and we’re not.”
The loss was doubly tough because St. Mary’s Bobby Alcock pitched a gem, going the distance and striking out 12 while giving up five hits and four walks.
“He’s gave us everything he could possibly give us so that we could win,” said Dana. “He’s been doing that for us all season.”
St. Mary’s took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Alcock set Williams down in the first in order, with two strikeouts. Lee Pacheco led off with a single to left and Kyle Ouellette’s base hit to center put runners on first and second. Turenne knocked home Pacheco with the third hit of the inning, with Ouellette stopping at second.
That’s when Williams pitcher Kyle Stronjy toughened up, getting two strikeouts and a line drive to center to get out of the inning.
Williams got that run back in the top of the second. Ben Murphy led off the inning with a base hit, and, one out and a stolen base later, designated hitter Ryan Bellew singled him home to tie the game. Rega followed with a single, but Alcock reared back and struck out Kelly and Sam Hamer.
St. Mary’s had a chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kordell Henriquez reached on a two-base error trying to bunt his way on, and was wild pitched to third. Colin Reddy hit a bullet on the ground to shortstop, but the Spartans — with a contact play on — ran into the out at the plate.
St. Mary’s also loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but Stronjy pitched his way out of that jam, with shortstop Timmy Chase making a nice play on Ouellette’s slow roller.
Williams broke the logjam in the fifth. Kelly led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Hamer. When Chase hit a grounder to short, Pacheco alertly threw over to third, with Jack Ward slapping the tag on Kelly in what looked to be a cardinal baserunning mistake.
But Chase stole second and Cam Powers, who watched a very close two-strike pitch go by for a ball, followed that up with a base hit off the glove of Pacheco, who did all he possibly could to keep the ball in the infield. However, it dribbled past him and Chase scored on the play.
In the bottom of the seventh, Pacheco hit a one-out single to left before Kelly robbed Turenne to end the game.