This past weekend, the Manchester Essex baseball team took home the program's first ever Division 4 North championship. On Wednesday at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, the Hornets earned the program's first ever trip to the state championship game.
Manchester Essex started out fast and held on late for a 7-3 win over South champ St. John Paul II. The Hornets will take on Central champ Tahanto at LeLacheur Park in Lowell for the Division 4 State title. Date, time and location TBA.
The Hornets (19-5) got it going right away with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, giving pitcher Harry Painter a cushion before he even threw a pitch.
Dylan Wilson's RBI single made it 1-0 and Mike Quill later delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
The Hornets essentially put the game away in the top of the fourth with three more runs. Lars Arntsen's bases loaded bloop single extended the lead to 3-0. After a wild pitch made it 4-0, Bennett O'Leary walked with the bases loaded to give Manchester Essex a commanding 5-0 lead.
St. John Paul II got on the board with a pair of runs in the fifth on a Will Good RBI single, he later scored on a double steal to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Manchester Essex, however, tacked on one two more in the seventh when Lars Arnsten walked with the bases loaded and Will Janowicz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 7-2. The Lions added a run in the seventh on a two-out double and loaded the bases to bring the tying run to the plate, but the Hornets got out of the jam.
Painter earned the win on the mound and the Cape Ann League Baker Division Player of the Year was rock solid, allowing two runs in five innings of work while striking out eight. Dylan Wilson pitched the final two innings to close it out.