BRISTOL - After three innings the St. Paul baseball team was trailing Notre Dame-Fairfield 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class S tournament.
It was the first deficit the Falcons had faced all postseason and the Lancers didn’t let their lead slip away as Notre Dame-Fairfield ended St. Paul’s state title hopes with a 7-1 victory Saturday afternoon at the Falcons home field.
“They were a good team,” St. Paul senior second baseman Nick Morrell said. “They played a little harder than us today and they got the job done. We’ll be rooting for them.”
The Falcons started sophomore Ethan Rembish on the mound. Rembish had been stellar all season for St. Paul.
Rembish was strong in the first two innings. He delivered a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first and in the top of the second stranded a pair of runners on base with a pair of strikeouts to close out the frame.
It was in the third inning that the top of the Lancers order began to heat up.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Romano stepped into the box with one out and singled. Romano then stole second base to put himself in scoring position.
A couple of batters later, Jacob Rainey delivered a RBI double to score Romano and then Pete Minore singled home Rainey. Quickly the scoreboard read 2-0 in favor of Notre Dame-Fairfield after three and its starting pitcher Dillon Higgins was in midst of a perfect game at that point.
The Lancers extended their lead with a big fourth inning.
With two outs Romano delivered a RBI single to make it 3-0. Higgins followed it up with a double to score two runs and put Notre Dame-Fairfield up 5-0.
Falcons coach Vic Rinaldi walked to the mound and it was the end of the day for Rembish. Dylan Gagnon came into pitch in relief.
Minore drove in the sixth run of the game to give the Lancers a 6-0 lead in the fourth.
St. Paul had its opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings but left the bases loaded in both and only one run scored in those two innings on a walk drawn by Ryan Parent.
The Falcons left eight runners on base in the game.
“I think we had a better plan at the plate the second and third time through,” Rinaldi said. “But again their lineup did a good job of getting him a lead, it’s a lot easier to pitch with a lead and he did a good job there. When you give him a six-run lead it’s a little easier to pitch when you’re up six than up one or two.”
The 1-4 hitters for Notre-Dame Fairfield drove in all seven runs.
Five of St. Paul’s six hits came from the top four hitters in its lineup.
Morrell, Julian Thayer and Ryan Greene each had singles in the fourth inning. Josh Cofrancesco had a single in the fifth inning and the seventh. Walker Sharp added the other hit for the Falcons in the game.
“We’ve had complete confidence in [the bottom of the order] all year,” Greene said. “We’re a complete team. Anybody 1-9 could get it done but it’s a lot of credit to them. They’re a great team. They hit the ball and we just didn’t today. It’s how baseball is sometimes.”
With the loss, St. Paul concludes its season with an overall record of 19-7.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org