Home Local Sports Salesianum School rallies for extra-innings win, heads to DIAA baseball championship game:...

Salesianum School rallies for extra-innings win, heads to DIAA baseball championship game: Photo gallery

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Jude Swift, right, is greeted by teammate Jimmy Gray after scoring the Sals' first run of the afternoon. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Salesianum lost two leads during the DIAA baseball semifinal against top-seeded Sussex Central, but the No. 13 Sals tied the game in the seventh, then won it in the eighth on a sunny May 30 afternoon at Frawley Stadium, 7-5. The Sals will meet the sixth seed, Caesar Rodney, on Saturday night at Frawley for the state championship.

The Sals took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but Dylan Briggs worked a leadoff walk off Salesianum reliever James Lai. He was sacrificed to second, and pinch runner Chet Mariner came home on a single by Jace Jarmon, leveling the score. Three more batters walked before the inning was up, with Chet Furmanek getting the run batted in as Jarmon gave the Golden Knights the lead.

With some work to do, Matt Speicher walked to open the seventh, and Michael Dell’Oso entered as a pinch runner. Tre Villanova was hit by a pitch, and Jimmy Gray laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. Matt McSorley came up next, and he drove a single to left past the drawn-in third baseman, tying the game.

Central loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Lai got out of the inning with a groundout to shortstop.

C.J. Moxley singled to center to start the eighth inning. Michael Gioia sacrificed him to second, and Jude Swift followed with a run-scoring single to left. Swift took second when the throw home sailed over the catcher’s head, and pinch runner Brooks O’Hanlon took third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Speicher, Sussex Central pitcher Noah Burroughs threw a pitch that got behind the catcher, but only by a few feet. O’Hanlon never hesitated, sliding into the plate head-first ahead of the tag for an insurance run.

Lai went back out to try to clinch the win, and he got the job done. He sandwiched two strikeouts around a ground ball to third, and the Sals’ Cinderella march survived another round.

The Sals scored two runs without a hit in the third inning of Central starter Joaquin Rodriguez, who started when the Knights defeated Salesianum, 15-2, in early April. Swift walked and eventually scored on a throwing error, and McSorley drove in Speicher on a sacrifice fly to shallow right.

The Golden Knights responded with three in their half of the third off Speicher. After the first two batters walked, Osiah Kelley drove a triple to the corner in right field to tie the game. Kelley scored the go-ahead run on a Rodriguez single.

Salesianum went right back on top in the fourth. Moxley singled and Landon Johnston walked with one out, and Moxley stole third. Swift bunted, and Moxley beat the play at the plate. Villanova scored Johnston with a two-out double.

Villanova and Speicher both reached base four times, and Moxley was on three times and scored twice. McSorley and Swift each drove in two runs. Speicher and Lai combined for seven strikeouts. The Sals improved to 15-7.

Burroughs had two hits, two RBI and a run scored, and he was on base three times. Jarmon also reached three times and scored two runs. Rodriguez, Burroughs and Kelley combined for five strikeouts. The Golden Knights finished 17-3.

The Sals will play for the program’s seventh state championship and first since 2008, which was also the last time they reached the final. It will be their 11th appearance overall in the championship game.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets for that and for the boys lacrosse final are available at gofan.co/app/school/DIAA. The Sals will also be competing in that at nearby Delaware Military Academy at 3 p.m.

Photos by Mike Lang.