LYNN– It’s fair to say the past few weeks have been a whirlwind for the St. Mary’s baseball team. The Spartans won the program’s first-ever Division 2 state championship June 22nd- their first since winning the Division 3 crown in 2015. Since then, the players and coaches have enjoyed their success with unwavering community support.
“I’m still getting texts,” Spartans coach Derek Dana said. “Kids from college that I haven’t talked to in a bit, friends that I went to school with. It’s been an outstanding amount of support. It continues to feel good.”
St. Mary’s will be honored with a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park prior to Monday night’s game between the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
“The kids tell me through texts and stuff that they’re fired up,” Dana said. “To get to be at Fenway Park, in front of a great crowd, it’s great. I’ve played there but it hasn’t been in front of a legitimate Fenway crowd. It should be a pretty cool experience.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to be out on the field and get recognized,” Dana said.
St. Mary’s, in just its second season in Division 2, qualified for the North sectional tournament after a 15-5 regular season. The Spartans started their championship quest with a 1-0, eight-inning win over Belmont behind a shutout start from ace Bobby Alcock. Freshman Aiven Cabral got the nod in the semifinal and didn’t miss a beat, helping the Spartans to a 2-1 win over Greater Lowell. St. Mary’s bats came to play in the sectional final, a 5-0 win over Woburn. With Alcock refusing to lose, a pair of RBI singles from Lee Pacheco and Jared Coppola were enough run support for a 2-0 win over Hopkinton in the state final.
“You remember how much fun it was to go to practice,” Dana said. “The further you go, the tighter the kids become. I have to give these kids credit for staying focused. They knew where they were at and they were able to get it done.”
The Spartans were the second St. Mary’s team to win a state championship during the 2018-2019 school year (golf won Division 3 during the fall) and the fifth to appear in its respective state final (football, boys soccer in the fall; girls basketball in the winter).
“It’s hard just to get there,” Dana said. “To actually get it done and win it, the kids know they added a significant piece they can be remembered by for the rest of their lives. That’s a cool feeling. It was nice to finish the job.
“It was a special group,” he said. “The five seniors (Alcock, Coppola, DJ DiCenso, Kyle Ouellete and Colin Reddy), along with juniors Lee (Pacheco) and Johnny (Mulready) who’ve been around as long as anybody, they did a nice job leading this team. They kept going forward, onward and upward.”