The Bishop Hendricken Hawks were beaten 3-2 by the Coventry Oakers at McCarthy Field during the Division I, Regional Pod 1 Winners-bracket Final. Coventry freshman Will Turner drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 10 inning and earned the Oakers a date with South Kingstown in the state championship at McCoy Stadium.
Hendricken would have needed to beat Coventry, who was unbeaten in the bracket, twice to get to the championship.
The Oakers had the Hawks’ number this year, defeating them 5-2 back on May 11 and 2-0 earlier in the bracket before the Hawks won Saturday’s Game 1 by a score of 2-1 and forced a Game 2.
In Game 1, Hendricken got a complete game from junior Kyle Marrapese, who struck out three and gave up six hits.
“Kyle gave us everything we needed and he pitched with a lot of heart yesterday,” Hendricken head coach Ed Holloway said. “He’s a tough kid and he rose to the occasion and gave us a chance to play again today. So, he did a really good job for us.”
Hendricken junior outfielder Kevin Gower came through in the clutch for the Hawks during game 1, driving in what proved to be the games’ winning run in the top of the sixth with a hard line drive single down the first baseline.
“Kevin’s been playing really well for us and doing a great job both with the bat and in the outfield, playing great defense,” Holloway said. “So, he came on and had a really good junior year and he’s going to be good next year.”
Randy Reyes, also a junior, started on the hill for the Hawks in Game 2, pitching five innings and striking out nine while yielding just two hits with one earned run. He was replaced by reliever Blake Roberge, who inherited runners at the corners with none out.
“He pitched well,” Holloway said of Reyes. “He gave us a great five innings and then they got a leadoff hit and a bunt we didn’t handle and it led to them getting two runs. We were lucky to get out of there giving up just the two runs because they had more opportunities.”
The Hawks were trailing 2-1 and down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh when their senior and designated hitter, Jaimen Albizu blasted a dramatic RBI double to left and knotted the game at 2.
“In the playoffs here, we’ve been scoring late, as in the last inning or in extra innings, and it was kind of the same thing today and it gave us hope that we could pull it out,” Holloway said. “But it was a tough game and they did a really good job. Coventry played really well all three games that we played. So, you just have to congratulate them on winning. It’s not like we lost, they won it. They played very well. And I thought we played well too.”
Holloway said that he is disappointed with the loss, but proud of the way that his team played throughout the season and in the championship. Hendricken finished the regular season with a record of 14-6.
“I thought we had a very good year,” Holloway said. “I guess it’s only great if you win the whole thing, but I thought we played really well. We were the first seed and won 14 games and played really well in the playoffs and just lost to a really good team in 10 innings. Just tip your hat to them.”
Hendricken took a 1-0 edge in Game 2 during the bottom of the third inning when junior David Bordieri Jr. hit an RBI single down the third baseline to score sophomore Dom Crocenzi.
In the top of the sixth, Coventry evened it at 1 when Lucas Garcia drove in Devyn Vezina with an infield hit. Then, with the bases loaded, Anthony Braddock drove in Nick Fuentes on a ground ball out and put Coventry up 2-1.
Hendricken would tie the score at 2, as stated above, when Albizu rocketed a two-out RBI double to left in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
Later in the top of the 10th with two outs and a runner at second, Coventry freshman Will Turner ripped an RBI single through the middle to score Garcia and gave Coventry a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Garcia, who was on in relief, retired the side in order to preserve the victory for the Oakers.
The Division I playoffs are divided into two pods with two brackets and the winner of each bracket plays for the championship at McCoy. Coventry, who was a 13-seed and won the Pod 1 bracket plays 2-seeded South Kingstown, who won the Pod II bracket, after beating Cumberland 7-6 in the Pod II final.