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Stepinac Sinks Sea 5 -4

Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 by Keith Richardson

St. Joseph by-the Sea drops 5-4 decision to Archbishop Stepinac

, April 29, 2010 8:15 p.m.

St. Joseph by-the-Sea looked to be on its way to a seventh straight CHSAA victory without a loss deep into Thursday's home game against Archbishop Stepinac.

But the Vikings found out why it's so hard to remain undefeated, especially when your ace pitcher doesn't have his best day and the timely hits don't come.

The Crusaders rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth off Nick Pavia and escaped bases-loaded jams in two of the last three innings to come away with a 5-4 win in Huguenot.

The loss was stunning in that Pavia easily throttled Stepinac through the first five frames, striking out 10 and allowing a single run in the fourth.

But, after the Vikings left the bags filled with a 4-1 lead in the home fifth, the wheels came off for a tiring Pavia. With one out, Steven DePompeis turned a long drive to right-centerfield into an inside-the-park homer. Pavia walked two straight before Nick Euvino ripped a two-run double to right-center to tie it. With two outs, No. 9 batter Michael Annunziata chased Pavia by poking the go-ahead RBI single to center.

"He got a little tired, and we wanted to go one more batter (Euvino), but he got the hit," said Sea manager Gordon Rugg. "It was a good game, and Stepinac's a good team that hit the ball hard."

Sea went quietly against reliever Donato Signore in the sixth, but Signore opened the seventh by walking Matt Bowers and allowing a single to Chris Ramanauskas. Signore's throw to third on Matt Cangro's sacrifice bunt attempt beat Bowers by an eyelash, and Pavia rolled out to second to put the runners in scoring position.

Signore intentionally walked Vin Garcia to fill the bases, and ran the count to 2-0 on Nick Galli. But Signore came back to fan Galli on three straight pitches to end it.

Sea scored single tallies in the first and second on an RBI grounder by Pavia and a run-scoring single by Rob Silvestri. They added two in the fourth on a Joe Stabach RBI single and a throwing error. But the Vikes had a couple of runners thrown out on the bases and hit into a double play.

"We ran ourselves out of the game," lamented Rugg. "We had our chances, but left too many men on. Now, it's back to work." 

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