Tuesday, June 7, 2016

St. Paul baseball advances to first state final since 1976

It has been 40 long years, but it was worth the wait for St. Paul baseball.
The St. Paul bench cheers on its hitters during Tuesday's Class S semifinal game at Beehive Field.

The fourth-seeded Falcons reached their first state final since 1976 with a 5-2 win over No. 24 Old Lyme at Beehive Field in New Britain on Tuesday afternoon. St. Paul will play No. 3 Morgan for the Class S state championship on Friday or Saturday at Middletown's Palmer Field at a time to be determined.
St. Paul starting pitcher Connor Crean.
Connor Crean struggled with his command, but Old Lyme also couldn't hit him. The senior right-hander struck out seven, walked seven, but he also didn't give up a single hit. The Wildcats took advantage of a couple walks in the top of the fourth inning and scored their two runs on a sac fly and ground out, but Crean and Jackson Hines yielded no more. Hines gave up two hits in relief.
Jackson Hines watches his base hit to left field. Hines hit the ball where the fielder wasn't, thanks in part
to a perfectly executed hit and run.
On offense, St. Paul put together one big inning, tallying five runs in the bottom of the third inning. Nick Morrell drew a leadoff walk, then Hines singled the other way to left field. A good bunt by Ben Mazzone moved both runners up, but Old Lyme was able to get the second out on a pop out. Chadd Richardson was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Mike Dombrowski also walked, bringing in the game's first run. Zach Parent followed with a two-run single to center field to make it 3-0. A walk to Crean reloaded the bases, then Ryan Greene drew a walk to make it 4-0. Parent scored on a wild pitch to put St. Paul in command, 5-0.
Zach Parent stands on first after hitting a two-run single to put his team up 3-0.
It may not have been a pretty game, but that doesn't matter. What does matter is that St. Paul got the win. The Falcons are looking for their first state championship since 1972.

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