WILMINGTON – Eighth-seeded Salesianum found its offense late as they topped the 24th seed, Polytech, 8-3, on May 26 in the DIAA state baseball tournament.
The Sals started Eugene Holler on the mound, and the righty got the first two outs. Then the Panthers’ Mitch Barter crushed a ball past the outfielders and tried to turn it into an inside-the-park home run. The Sals gunned down Barter at the plate thanks to a great throw from shortstop Jon Baker.
The Sals got on the board in the bottom of the third as Zach Gwynn drew a leadoff walk and reached with no outs on a single by Michael Cautillo. Senior Josh McGuire hit a deep fly ball to score Gwynn on a sacrifice fly to give the Sals a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers tied it in the top of the fourth as Barter had a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by Louis Whitaker. The Sals responded in the bottom of that inning as Joe Setting drew a one-out walk. Baker then reached on an error and Ryan Pratt walked to load the bases. Gwynn ripped a single to score two runs to give the Sals a 3-1 lead. Cautillo grounded into a fielders choice, plating Pratt. Cautillo stole second and, on a dropped third strike on McGuire, scored from second base to extend the Sals’ lead to 5-1 after four innings.
The Panthers responded in the sixth as Barter led off with an infield single. After a hit by a pitch and a single, that loaded the bases and chased Holler from the game. Baker came in and the first batter he faced was the dangerous Whitaker, who crushed the first pitch for a two-run double. The Panthers had the tying run on second base with no outs. Baker got out of the jam with no more damage as first baseman Connor Murphy gunned down Alexander Pingatore at home.
Sallies answered in the bottom of the sixth. McGuire reached on an error, and Anthony Frechette worked a two-out walk. Matthew Poma then crushed a ball that almost rolled to Broom Street for a three-run homer and a, 8-3 lead. Baker retired the Panthers in order in the seventh to send the Sals to the quarterfinals.
The Sals (13-6) will host No. 17 Dover on Wednesday at a time to be determined. Dover advanced with an upset of top-seeded William Penn.
Polytech’s season came to a close but they played two extra games then they thought they would a week ago. They advanced to Saturday’s round after upsetting ninth-seeded Friends, 3-1, in eight innings on Thursday. They finished the season 11-9.