But as the St. Albans senior ran toward third base after tagging up and saw Coach RJ Johnsen motioning, he realized he needed to keep going.
Burelli used his speed to take advantage of Maret’s botched relay and turn a routine flyball into a pivotal run in the D.C. State Athletic Association championship.
It was the little things that made the difference for St. Albans in its 2-1 victory Friday afternoon in Northwest Washington.
Playing on their home field in front of a packed student section, the Bulldogs (16-16) leaned on a dominant pitching performance from junior Andrew Keane and scraped away just enough offense to claim the DCSAA title.
“I looked around and the throw is going toward second base, going into the outfield,” Burelli said. “So I took the turn, kept going as hard as I could, and then just got there and celebrated with my teammates.”
Runs were hard to come by with Keane and Maret sophomore John Spaller on the mound.
Keane escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and got better as the game went on, allowing only three hits and one unearned run.
The Bulldogs scored first thanks to Burelli’s heads-up base running. The center fielder led off the fourth inning by ripping a base hit into left field and hustled past first base to stretch a single into a double. That put him in position to capitalize on Maret’s errant relay throw.
Coulter then drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to double the St. Albans advantage.
But Keane, who had his final exams earlier in the day, kept his composure. With two outs and two strikes, the St. Albans students rose to their feet behind home plate. Keane threw a fastball and ended the game with a strikeout before getting bombarded by his teammates and landing at the bottom of a dogpile on the mound.
“It amps me up. It’s like an energy drink,” Keane said. “It was a pretty electric atmosphere. It was just really fun. This is what baseball should be.”