St. Laurence Coach Pete Lotus wanted his team to build from a lesson learned.
Down 6 runs to rival St. Rita in summer regional play, the Vikings bounced back, scoring 4 runs in the seventh for the win.
The next day, the Vikings fell into an early 4-0 deficit. The bats came alive again as host St. Laurence defeated St. Rita 11-8 on June 26 to win the summer regional title.
“We were much better mentally today and better offensively,” Lotus said. “It was a good example of it rolling over [from the previous game]. We were down right away but had some big hits. Our young guys have to learn to have good approaches from start to finish, not ‘We’re down; let’s go!’”
St. Laurence will play Marist on July 8 at 12:30 p.m. at the Richards summer sectional. The double-elimination sectional will be July 8-10.
Taking down St. Rita in the championship, St. Laurence scored in every inning, plating 3 in the first and going up for good with 2 runs in the second.
However, the Mustangs hovered within striking distance, scoring a run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Working with a 9-8 lead in the sixth, it was senior Cole Anderson providing some cushion with a clutch 2-run single to right-center field.
Kevin McCormick and Jason Krol scored to put St. Laurence up 11-8.
Anderson tipped his cap to teammate Chris Seropian for some advice on what to look for.
“Chris said the pitcher had a good curveball and to watch for it down,” Anderson said. “After fastball on strike one, I had a feeling he’d go with a curve. I saw it really well out of his hand and got it down for some insurance runs.”
Exclusively a pitcher for the last season-plus, Anderson asked the coaching staff about hitting this summer and hopefully into the 2020 spring season.
“We lost some of our big guys in the lineup [for the summer], so I asked if it’d be all right if I started hitting again to fill the spot,” Anderson said. “Coach said it was a good idea, whatever helps the team get the win.”
Anderson finished 1 for 3 with a run and 3 RBI.
Mike Gentile (2 runs), Edwin Alvarez (3 hits, 2 runs), Marc Babicz (2 runs), Krol (4 runs, 2 hits) and Luke Montgomery (2 runs) led the offense.
Montgomery’s efforts weren’t limited to his bat.
Entering the game in the second, the senior southpaw threw 6 gutsy innings in relief, allowing 4 runs on 10 runs with 2 strikeouts.
Typically the Vikings’ leadoff man and starting center fielder, Montgomery said he knows his number may get called more for pitching duties as a senior.
“Usually for travel ball, I’m the closer. I’ll pitch once a weekend,” Montgomery said. “I’m not a huge, dominant pitcher, so I really trust my defense. I try to let them make all the plays for me.”
Lotus said the senior’s effort was impressive.
“We threw him a few times [this spring], and he did a good job,” Lotus said. “He has the ability. He throws three pitches for strikes and throws hard enough to get people out. He’s a competitor. He wanted to stay in the game. That’s awesome to see.”
Leading the Mustangs were Chris McDevitt (3 hits, 2-run HR, 3 RBI), Luke Napleton (3 hits, 2 RBI), Sean McDevitt (2 hits, 2 runs), Jason Reis (2 hits) and Steve Sanderson (2 runs).