HOCKESSIN — Salesianum and Sanford entered the seventh inning of their second-round DIAA baseball tournament game on May 27 scoreless, a testament primarily to the effectiveness of both starting pitchers and also the defenses behind them. But with extra innings looming, the Sals — seeded 10th — pushed across a run, the only score in the 1-0 win over the No. 7 Warriors.
The drama nearly overshadowed the performance of Salesianum pitcher Jack Rossi, who came within one out of a no-hitter.
The Sals had just one hit and four base runners against Sanford starting pitcher Brady Fox after six innings, and Fox retired the leadoff hitter in the seventh. Jude Swift walked, and Brandon Baffone followed with a single to left. Swift’s courtesy runner, however, was gunned down at third for the second out. Baffone stole second, and that would prove to be key. The next hitter, Liam O’Brien, chopped a ball toward third base, and it went under the glove of the fielder and into foul territory in short left field. Baffone narrowly missed the ball as he slid into third, and he quickly got back on his feet and scampered home.
Sals pitcher Jack Rossi still needed three outs to clinch the win. He retired the first two batters in short order, but Brady Bollman singled sharply up the middle for the Warriors’ only hit of the afternoon. Jack Lazarski then hit a fly ball to left, where Sallies’ Aiden Tesche was waiting for the final out.
That ended a quick game that had Fox and Rossi mowing down the opposition. The Warriors were in business in the second after the first two batters reached on a walk and error, but a strikeout and a 1-6-3 double play ended that threat.
Jude Carter picked up the Sals’ first hit, a single to left, to lead off the third, but he was thrown out trying to steal second. Sanford also turned a double play, this one in the sixth.
Rossi allowed Bollman’s hit and struck out eight while walking one. O’Brien was on base twice, on a walk and the single. The Sals (13-8) will take on No. 2 Delaware Military Academy on May 30 at a location and time to be announced. The Sals did not play the Seahawks this season.
Fox gave up just three hits. He walked three and hit two batters, and he struck out seven. The Warriors finished the season 16-2, reaching the DIAA tournament for the third straight season. They had just one senior on the roster.
In other second-round play, No. 1 Saint Mark’s advanced to the quarterfinals after a 7-4 win over No. 17 Appoquinimink. The Spartans will host No. 8 Sussex Central on Tuesday at a time to be announced.
All photos by Mike Lang.