South Salem’s 2019 postseason run came to an end Tuesday night at Jesuit High School, when the Crusaders hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning to defeat the Saxons, 3-2.
South Salem: 020 000 00 … 2 6 2
Jesuit: 100 001 01 … 3 9 2
Ethan Wilson took the mound for Jesuit and made relatively quick work of the Saxons in the top of the first, the lone slip-up coming on a 2-out Danny Alvarado single.
South Salem’s Sean Alvarado got the start on the hill and had to work himself out of an early jam. After Kellar McCarthy earned a leadoff walk, Kellen Blair reached base on a drag bunt single. After Joe Angeli sacrifice bunted the runners over, South Salem opted to intentionally walk James Porter to load the bases with 1 out. Alvarado followed by striking out Sean Murphy for the second out, but an ensuing walk to Wilson brought home the game’s first run. Alvarado then sent Kade Swisher down on strikes to end the inning.
The Saxons answered quickly in the top of the second. Greyson Hanowell led off by rolling a ball down the first base line – it was ultimately misplayed and Hanowell wound up on second base. One out later, Brayden Neuharth drew a walk. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Noah Ferguson laced a ball off the net in deep left-center field, scoring Hanowell and moving Neuharth to third. Sean Alvarado followed with an infield single to plate Neuharth and give the Saxons the 2-1 lead.
That lead would hold through the next four innings as Alvarado and Wilson went toe-to-toe with a trip to the state title game on the line. Danny Alvarado, Conner Robustelli, and Noah Ferguson all made impressive defensive plays to keep Jesuit hitters off the board. Danny may have played the best defensive game at third base that you’ll ever see at the high school level.
The 6th inning, though, proved to be the difference maker.
In the top of the 6th, Elijah Enomoto-Haole reached on an error. One out later, Matthews doubled off the wall down the right field line to move Elijah to third. Jesuit opted to pull Wilson and send Josh Daul to the mound. On the third pitch of his at-bat, Ferguson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with 1 out. But Daul worked his way out of it, striking out Alvarado and inducing a groundout from Ryan Brown to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 6th, Noah Ferguson took over on the mound for the Saxons. He got a popout to the start the frame, but then trouble found him. Will Spitznagel singled before Campbell Brandt drew a walk. McCarthy followed by reaching on an error to load the bases. Blair then singled to plate Spitznagel and Brandt to give Jesuit a 3-2 lead, but Brandt never touched home and was called out on appeal, so the score was 2-2 with 2 outs. Angeli then singled to right. With McCarthy rounding third and heading home, Neuharth delivered a perfect throw home to Greyson Hanowell, who laid down the tag for the third out of the inning.
After a scoreless 7th inning, the game went to extras.
Daul promptly struck out the side in the top of the 8th, setting up the fireworks for Jesuit in the bottom half.
With 1 out, Conor O’Reilly reached on an infield single to the 6-hole. Blair followed with a single to move O’Reilly to second. That’s when Angeli chopped a curveball through the hole between 1st and 2nd to score O’Reilly and send Jesuit to the state championship game, which will feature two private schools (Jesuit and Central Catholic).
2B: Noah Ferguson, Brett Matthews
TB: Sean Alvarado, Danny Alvarado 3, Noah Ferguson 2, Brett Matthews 2
RBI: Sean Alvarado, Noah Ferguson
ROE: Elijah Enomoto-Haole, Greyson Hanowell
FC: Greyson Hanowell
HBP: Noah Ferguson, Brayden Neuharth
GIDP: Greyson Hanowell
SB: Brayden Neuharth
L: Noah Ferguson
HBP: Sean Alvarado, Noah Ferguson
Pitches-Strikes: Sean Alvarado 82-45, Noah Ferguson 49-27
Groundouts-Flyouts: Sean Alvarado 6-2, Noah Ferguson 1-1
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Sean Alvarado 11-24, Noah Ferguson 6-15