In its seventh consecutive Massachusetts Bay Independent League title game, varsity baseball’s 7-1 victory over Boston Trinity Academy (BTA) at Brandeis University on Tuesday earned the Gators their third championship in four years.
“I’m really proud of my teammates, who stepped up when he pressure was on,” says Co-Captain Matthew Hastings ’18, who, out with an injury, served as the game’s first base coach. “We had a lot of players who haven’t played baseball in a long time, and many of the younger players had a crucial role in the successful development of the season.”
After starting pitcher Grant Iuliano ’18 shut down BTA in the top of the first inning, the Gators grabbed an early 1-0 lead. After getting on base, Iuliano stole third and when the throw for his out sailed into left field, he ran home to put the Gators on the scoreboard.
The team added a second run in the third when Jimmy Yfantopulos ’18 led off with a triple to right field. He also scored on a passed ball.
“It felt great to participate in my first championship at Brimmer,” says Yfantopulos. “The atmosphere was great and everybody in the team did their part for us to come out with a win.”
BTA scored its lone run in the top of the fifth on a single, an error and another single—before the Gators snuffed out the brief rally.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brimmer put up four runs to put the game out of reach. Paxton Wong ’20 led off with a walk. Michael Donahue ’19 bunted Wong to second, who, a few plays later, crossed the plate on an error to shortstop. Yfantopulos reached first on a fielder’s choice and made his way to third after a stolen base and wild pitch.
Later in the inning, Iuliano walked and stole second. Jack Donnelly ’18 singled to deep short to score. Yfantopulos moved Iuliano to third, before Donnelly stole second and Michael Hastings ’18 rifled a ball up the middle for a 2-run single.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to get on base,” says Donahue. “The pitcher bobbled it and I just ran hard. Honestly, I was just glad to help the team bring back the championship.”
In the top of the sixth, Iuliano struck out the third and fourth hitters before allowing an infielder roller for a single. He then struck out the next hitter.
The Gators added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Justin Ewing ’19 led off with a walk and stole second. Yfantopulos reached first after being hit in the leg with a pitch. During Dylan Rigol’s ’18 at-bat, Ewing crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
While only managing four hits throughout the game, Brimmer made them count by taking advantage of errors and stealing eight bases—three by Yfantopulos, two by Iuliano, and one by Donnelly and Ewing each.
Defensively, the Gators committed only one error and made strong fine plays in the field. Gabe Bryan ’19 caught a pop foul to end the third inning, while the outfield sent a line to the catcher to get the out on the runner heading to the plate,
Donnelly, who pitched an outstanding game against Gann in the semifinal last week, called and caught a great game behind the plate. Iuliano finished the game allowing four hits, one walk, and one unearned run. He managed 10 strike outs, maintaining a 0.00 earned run average in league play for the season, as well as the tournament.