I’ve seen some wild games over the years, and Thursday’s epic 12-inning showdown in the CHSAA ‘AA’ Championship Series ranks right up there. Monsignor Farrell came away with a 12-5 win over Salesian, forcing a winner-takes-all game at 7 p.m. on Friday at St. John’s University. I know, it’s hard to believe it went 12 innings with a score like that. But trust me, I witnessed it with my own two eyes.
The game was kind of bizarre from the beginning. Salesian ace Nicky Gennarelli was ready to go on a full week’s rest, but he had the worst command that I’ve ever seen from him in the first inning, which left me scratching my head. He walked the bases loaded with two outs before getting out of the jam with a groundball. He came back out for the second but immediately walked the leadoff man, his fourth free pass in five batters. That’s when coach Kevin Del Valle came out and realized that a cut on Gennarelli’s throwing hand — one which he had battled with late in last Wednesday’s game against Iona Prep — had reopened. Cal Romano came on in relief with no outs in the second and did a solid job, allowing two earned runs over eight innings, but a two-out rally in the seventh inning from Farrell forced extras.
The Eagles had led by as much as 5-0 and took a 5-3 lead into the final inning of regulation, but three singles with two outs and an untimely error allowed the Lions to tie it at 5-5. Salesian had a chance to win it in the 10th with runners on the corners and no outs, but a base-running miscue probably cost them a chance at a walk-off win for the title. Then the wheels fell off in the 12th. Vin Vitacco had the go-ahead hit to give Farrell a 6-5 lead, with two errors and a wild pitch largely leading to six more runs.
It was a tough way to lose, but the good news for Eagles fans is that they still have one more crack at it. A win on Friday and all will be forgotten. But a loss would make Thursday’s result very tough to swallow.
File photo from Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News