BRISTOL - A year ago, the St. Paul baseball team was coming off a loss to Oxford and looking to bounce back, with its biggest game of the season against Holy Cross on the horizon.
The Falcons’ did so with an 8-5 victory over the Crusaders on the road. The win handed Holy Cross its first and only loss of the season.
Today the script is set for a similar story.
St. Paul (15-4) is fresh off an 8-4 loss to Oxford on Monday and today’s season finale against Holy Cross (17-2) offers a chance for the Falcons to enter postseason play on a high note. They will need to do so in arguably their biggest game up to this point in the year.
The Crusaders went on to win the NVL and eventually beat Lyman Memorial 13-9 to capture the Class S state championship last season.
For the Falcons, those results are familiar, as they won the Class S state championship in 2016.
“It’s going to be great,” St. Paul senior second baseman Nick Morrell said. “Last year they came [to St. Paul] and we bumped them. They were undefeated and we gave them their only loss. So I think it’s going to be a good game at their place. We’re going to have to bring our best pitching, our best defense and our best offense to win. If we do, I think we’re going to be pretty set.”
For St. Paul starting pitcher Ethan Rembish, it will be his first start against the Crusaders.
Last year, Wes Lahey got the start and pitched a complete game in the win.
Rembish knows this game has implications that stretch beyond the final regular season tilt.
“We obviously want to beat them going into the NVLs and states because it’s a good chance we’re going to see them in both those tournaments,” Rembish said. “So we want to get off on the right foot there. I think we have a good shot to.”
Rembish has been solid for the Falcons this season, forming a 1-2 pitching punch with fellow sophomore Julian Thayer, who is set to pitch in relief if needed against the Crusaders.
Pitching isn’t expected to be a problem with Rembish and Thayer both rested after not pitching in the loss to Oxford.
“Ethan and Julian have been doing it for us all year,” St. Paul coach Vic Rinaldi said. “I have nothing but confidence in those two. It’s more about us making the plays behind them and that’s always a question with us. We’re a young team and sometimes we kind of have some lapses in the field. We’re going to get Ethan’s best and hopefully we’re playing good defense behind him.”
With big bats in the order such as Ryan Greene, Josh Cofrancesco, Thayer, Morrell and Ryan Parent, this year’s version of St. Paul and Holy Cross should be another battle.
“Holy Cross is a good team, but we’re also a good team,” Greene said. “If we battle, we should be able to win the game. We’re trying to emphasize that to the young guys. It’s going to be a good one.”