BROCKTON, Mass. -— As Bridgewater-Raynham trotted onto the field for the top of ninth inning clinging to its 4-3 lead over Boston College High in Sunday’s Division 1 South final, it seemed like the already heart-pounding affair couldn’t inflict any more chaos on the players, coaches and fans in attendance.
But, sure enough, it did.
The Eagles put runners on first and second with one down in the ninth with No. 3 hitter Ryan Tufts stepping to the dish. And after Tufts worked the count full against Trojans closer Cody Medairos, BC High decided to send both runners on the pitch as Tufts blasted a shot towards the right-centerfield gap, causing both runners to try and motor on home to take the lead.
Fortunately for B-R, centerfielder Tyler Carey was there to save the game and the season.
Carey hauled in the fly ball on the run, then turned and fired to second to double-up the Eagles baserunner frantically trying to retrace back to the bag, providing the final moment of jubilation in a game full of them, as B.R. stormed onto the field with its 4-3 victory finally safe in its possession.
The Trojans will play D1 North champion Billerica Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the D1 Eastern Mass. Final at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.
Carey said he saw the runners take off when the ball came off Tufts’ bat, so he knew he would have a chance to double the runners up if he could get to the ball. But even he knew that wasn’t a sure thing.
“I made catches like that before so I knew it was possible, but I don’t know,” Carey said when asked if he thought he’d get to the ball. “I just tracked it down.”
B-R coach John Kearney said Carey’s grab was “one of the best catches you’ll ever see.”
“Everybody in the park probably thought that was going to be trouble. No question,” Kearney said. “But I looked up and I saw Carey got a great jump and I’m thinking, ‘He’s got a shot.’ I’ve seen him do that all year. He has tremendous speed and he’s made those kind of catches all year.”
“If that falls in, we’re gonna get two or three (runs) there,” B.C. High coach Norm Walsh said. “That puts a whole different spin on things.”
If the catch weren’t enough, it was Carey who gave the Trojans the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With David Miller on second, Carey worked the count full against Eagles pitcher Dan Cobban and ultimately lined a single through the infield and into left field, bringing Miller roaring around to score the go-ahead run.
Carey, who said he has been playing baseball since he was five-years-old, had trouble putting the game into words.
“I’m dreaming right now,” he said. “This isn’t real. This is crazy.”
B.C. High tied it up at three in the top of the eighth. After B.R. starter Mike Bruemmel walked Tommy Landry with one down, Kearney went to Medairos in the bullpen. But Medairos walked Andrew Jaehnig and then gave up an RBI single to Billy Mitchell to knot the score.
The Eagles nearly took the lead two batters later. With Landry on third and Jaehnig on second and two down, Tom Russo grounded a ball to second. But the ball ate up Connor Sullivan and ricocheted to his left, prompting the second baseman to slide to the dirt, spin and throw out the sliding Russo by half a step.
Bruemmel was tremendous on the mound, logging 7-1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks while fanning eight.
B-R jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first after a sacrifice fly by Joe Freiday, followed by an RBI triple by Miller and a passed ball to bring him in.
The score stayed that way until the sixth when Mitchell ripped an RBI double off Bruemmel to finally get the Eagles on the board. One batter later, Mitchell came around to score after a throwing error by the Trojans, cutting the deficit to 3-2.