BRISTOL - Trailing 8-4, the St. Paul baseball team needed some final-inning heroics against Oxford reliever Chris Twombly.
But it was Oxford that got the job done, as the Falcons lost at home by that 8-4 score.
With the heart of the lineup set to hit for the Falcons, the opportunity was there.
Julian Thayer drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh to give cleanup hitter Ryan Greene an opportunity.
Greene ripped a ball to left-center field, but Wolverines center fielder Joe Yacovelli tracked it down and launched his body to make an eye-opening diving grab to record the first out of the inning.
After that, the Falcons’ offense was done.
“It was definitely a momentum killer,” Greene said. “But I had all the faith we could have kept it going. One through nine, everybody can get it done, so we’re never really out of it.”
With it being senior day for St. Paul, Joe Persechino, one of three seniors on the Falcons roster, earned his first start of the season.
In his first two innings Persechino looked strong. But he gave up a pair of runs in the third, on a bunt single by Quinn Hillman to drive in the first run and a passed ball that scored Mike Kashuba.
The next inning Yacovelli had an RBI single and Hillman ripped a two-run double with two outs to extend the Oxford lead to 5-0, which led to Falcons coach Vic Rinaldi turning to Scott Winters to relive Persechino on the mound.
Persechino was charged with the loss for St. Paul.
“He did a really good job early on and kind of let it get away a little bit but he pitched well,” Rinaldi said. “He earned the start for all the years he’s put in with the program and that was the plan. We wanted to get him his first start.”
Quality at bats at the plate were absent for the Falcons through the first four innings.
St. Paul had one hit on opposing starter Saar Rosa, who had the Falcons hitters off balance as he mixed in quality off-speed pitches with his fastball.
Rosa recorded four strikeouts through four scoreless innings.
“Their starting pitcher did a really good job early on keeping us off balance with his slider,” Rinaldi said. “He pitched really well.”
In the fifth inning the St. Paul offense came alive.
Walker Sharp got the offense rolling with a leadoff single against Rosa. Then No. 9 hitter Ethan Rembish drew a walk and the top of the order followed with one out.
St. Paul’s big bats took advantage.
Josh Cofrancesco walked to load the bases and No. 2 hitter Nick Morrell drove in the first run of the game. The Falcons trailed 5-1.
Thayer followed Morrell with a single to score a pair of runs and he later came in to score on a wild pitch by Rosa.
The four-run inning made it a one-run game going into the sixth.
Oxford got right back at St. Paul, though, and did so playing small ball.
Kashuba and Hillman each had bunt singles. Yacovelli and Hunter Keller had a pair of sacrifice bunts in the three-run inning.
“They put the ball on the line both times and it’s tough to defend when it’s executed like that,” Rinaldi said. “You have to give them credit.”
The insurance runs for Oxford were too much for the Falcons.
St. Paul freshman Shaun Remillard pitched the seventh inning and looked impressive. He ended the inning with a high fastball that Hillman chased for a strikeout.
The Falcons hope their offense comes back to life and does so quickly. St. Paul is on the road today against defending state champion Holy Cross.
Last season, the Falcons defeated the Crusaders 8-5 at home to give them their first loss of the season.
It’s going to be a battle of powerhouses as the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in Class S go at it. Ethan Rembish will be on the mound for the Falcons.
“I’m excited for the matchup,” Rembish said. “I know they have a couple great hitters at the top of their order, but they’re a little top heavy and I think we can do a good job as a team getting them out.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or