English and Latin Academy came out as winners in the Boston city league baseball semifinals on Monday to set up a rematch of last year’s city championship.
The Dragons defeated the Central champions, East Boston, 7-2, behind a huge 5-run sixth inning in the second of the double-header at Madison Park.
With two outs and the bases loaded, sophomore Wilberto Colon, the last hitter in coach Anthony Bernazzani’s lineup, hit a 2-run RBI double to left center field to give Latin Academy a 3-2 lead. Senior Nick Hicks and junior Eddie Funes followed with doubles of their own bringing in 3 more runs in the inning.
“It was pretty big. We needed that hit and it just started everything,” Colon said. “It was late in the inning but we needed it.”
Senior Vincent Lopriore had another great performance from the mound allowing just two runs over seven innings to go along with 13 strikeouts.
“It’s always great to be in the city league playoffs every year, it means that we’ve had a pretty good season so hopefully we can keep it going,” Bernazzani said. “English is obviously a great team, they’ve got some great players and a great coach so it should be fun.”
Coach Ricardo Figueroa’s team lived up to that greatness on Monday morning defeating first-year program and South champion, New Mission, 13-3.
After New Mission scored the first two runs in the game behind a 2-run RBI single from Rafael Ruiz in the first inning, junior pitcher Alberto Navarro didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning.
Figueroa said Navarro getting command of his fastball and curveball was key to his success.
Frankely Gonzalez opened the game up in the third inning with a 3-run homerun over the left field fence to give the north champions a comfortable 9-2 lead. Every player in the English lineup got on base in the blowout.
Figueroa said that facing their old coach, Modesto Gomez, gave his players extra motivation.
“Mo was coach last year and they want to prove that they can keep playing good baseball,” Figueroa said.
However, the New Mission coach wouldn’t allow his connection with the defending city champions to take aware from English’s win.
“They deserve credit. I think they’re the best team in the city and they showed it today,” Gomez said. “We’re a new program and for a first-year program, to get this far is a major accomplishment.”
English will look to keeping proving their worth in the championship game on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Madison Park.
“We just want to have the back-to-back championship and win the game,” Gonzalez said.
The only thing standing in English’s way is their North rivals Latin Academy.
“Everyone knows that’s kind of our archrivals,” Hicks said. “We’re going to approach them the same way we usually approach them; come out swinging and hopefully we get a win.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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