Jesuit falls in 6A baseball title game

By Katherine Smith, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Sunday, June 04, 2017, 9:45 AM EDT

A close game pitting Archbishop McCarthy vs. Jesuit ended in controversy and with McCarthy claiming their seventh baseball title in eight years.

The Mavericks came from behind to defeat the Tigers, the team that broke up their string of consecutive championships with a win in 2014, 5-1 in the Class 6A state championship game.

"We've got nothing to hang our heads about," Jesuit coach Miguel Menendez said. "We pushed all our chips in."

The Mavericks broke up a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh when they scored four runs, including two on bases loaded walks and another when a batter was hit by a pitch.

Still tied heading into the seventh, Jesuit made a pitching change after starter Hakanson reached his pitch count limit. He was replaced by Price Sartor.

Sartor walked the first two batters, then a sac bunt advanced runners to second and third. A fielding error loaded the bases to set up another walk to send the winning run across the plate.

Jesuit went on to make two more pitching changes as McCarthy capped off the rally.

There was a tense moment when the McCarthy batter was hit by a pitch. He started heading toward the mound and flipped his bat at the Jesuit pitcher. He was replaced at first by a pinch runner as McCarthy coaches had to hold back players in the dugout from charging the field.

Early on, it was all Jesuit.

The defense showed off early. In the second inning, with a runner on first and two outs, the Tigers got the third out when pitcher Jeff Hakanson picked off the runner with a throw to first baseman Jake Jones.

The bats followed in the bottom of the second. Thomas Bencivenga led off with a single to left field, followed by Duncan Hunter's blooper to center. Alex Mocny moved the runners to second and third with his sac bunt.

Designated hitter Mitchell Thrower loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. But the runners were left stranded when the Mavericks retired the next two batters.

Jesuit ended the scoreless game in the fourth with Thrower's RBI single that scored Bencivenga.

A controversial ending to the fourth inning, when Mocny was caught in a run down for the second out, then Thrower was called out trying to steal third. Chaos ensued, but the umpire overturned the call. Spectrum Sports replay showed Thrower was safe.

McCarthy tied it up in the fifth. 

"It's a special group," Menendez said of his graduating seniors. "These guys, I came here and they were sophomores when I took over. It's not always an easy situation. They've given me everything I could ask for."