LOWELL — Coming off a one-game suspension for disciplinary reasons, Raymond Tejada wanted nothing more than to make it up to his teammates in the Division 4 North baseball final at LaLacheur Stadium on Sunday morning.
Perhaps he wanted to make it up too much in what was ultimately a 12-3 loss to Lowell Catholic.
Trailing 2-1 in the third inning, West Roxbury’s defense fell apart as senior Chris Underwood and junior Nick Cervizzi scored on an a West Roxbury throwing error to first base. On the next at bat, senior Alex Larnard came in on a passed ball.
The string of follies started with Tejada bobbling a hard hit ball to centerfield by Craig Maxfield.
The Raiders bobbled another ball on the next play before giving up the three unearned runs in the inning to fall down 5-1.
“I overran it by a half of step and it hit the heal of my glove,” Tejada said on his way out of the stadium the Lowell Spinners call home. “That really got me off my game; I was really emotional after that. I’m a really emotional player. I don’t know, I just kept trying; I just tried to forget it and go to the next play.”
In the semifinals on Thursday, West Roxbury beat No. 1-seed Boston International despite Tejada and starting pitcher Sean Haugh being suspended for disciplinary reasons. But while Tejada only received a one game suspension, Haugh was not permitted to return for Sunday's final.
“It’s tough, you know. I got suspended, I got in trouble in school and I really, it really didn’t hurt my team as much, so that’s good, but coming in here I felt I could have done better,” Tejada said. “My whole team, I felt that we did pretty good but we just made errors. I don’t know, it’s kind of painful but hey.”
After making six errors in a semifinal victory against Georgetown on Thursday, Lowell Catholic buttoned up its defense on Sunday to win its first Division 4 North title.
“It was nice to tighten up the defense,” Lowell Catholic coach Matt Stone said after the 12-3 victory against West Roxbury. “A couple of the errors were questionable, they were base hits in the book but we still made three or four solid errors last time so we went to practice, we went to work, took ground balls, back to the fundamentals of things, and tightened up today and made two. Next game it will be one.”
On Sunday, No. 2 Lowell Catholic committed two errors behind winning pitcher Joe Levasseur, who struck out four batters and gave up four hits and two earned runs in seven innings.
Making its first trip to a Division 4 North final in program history, No. 5 West Roxbury (12-9) committed five errors.
“This was great run for us as a Boston team, getting out of our environment and playing a state tournament,” Raiders coach Clifton Wilson said. “We weren’t sure how we would do compared to other teams but this has been beyond anything I personally as a coach could’ve predicted. And I think it grew. As we won it grew. Unfortunately today it didn’t end the way we’d like but we were beaten by a far superior team."
In the last two games West Roxbury only made a combination of two errors in two games.
“We did not execute today like we had in the past,” Wilson said.
Lowell Catholic’s bats got an early start when Maxfield’s sacrifice fly scored junior Aaron Crandall in the first inning and senior Alex Larnard’s single knocked in junior Connor Sullivan to go up 2-0.
West Roxbury got one run back in the second after senior third baseman Christopher Moreta scored on a passed ball after getting to third with a triple hit to deep right field. Moreta walked in the fourth before scoring on an error to account for West Roxbury’s second run.
“Chris was one of our two seniors on the team, certainly one of our leaders all year,” Wilson said of Moreta, who also pitched two innings in relief. “I was really, really glad to see him be a leader today out there in the field. Unfortunately he had a sore arm so he was gutting it out and throwing. Our starting pitcher [Alejandro Lopez] only had two day’s rest. We had no pitching.”
Moreta and Lopez are the only seniors on the team.
“It was great, I loved the experience, hopefully next year we’ll be here and we’re going to come out on the winning end,” Tejada, who only reached base once on a walk, said of playing in a pro park. “We have a lot of juniors here, we’re going to be well prepared, we’re going to be experienced and we’re going to come here knowing what the deal is and we’re going to work hard and we’re going to come out on the winning end next year.”
Even though Tejada wasn’t able to atone for his transgressions on the field, he said it is nice to know that they at least walked away with the second-place trophy.
“It’s a good feeling that we came out with the trophy; open the trophy case that hasn’t been opened in quite a while,” he said. “It’s alright. We’ll be here next year with the golden trophy.”
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