A March 22 game between teams from different leagues, one public and one private, might seem unlikely to take on a postseason feel.
The Cadets rallied for six runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to pull out an unlikely win in a game they trailed 5-0, thanks in part to five errors.
Down 7-4 entering the seventh, St. John’s batted around to piece together the decisive inning: With one out, senior Bobby Campbell and junior Adrian Peralta got hit by pitches and senior Errol Robinson reached on an error to load the bases.
Then senior Josh Neal singled to left to drive in two runs to make it 7-6, sophomore A.J. Lee drew a walk and junior Bo Williams reached on an error that brought in the tying and go-ahead runs. Junior Brodie Leftridge then doubled in two runs before senior left-hander Justin Sneed entered to record the final out.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hylton senior Joe King led off with a walk but St. John’s retired the next three batters, to the delight of its raucous dugout, which was a chorus of chatter all game.
Both teams enter the season with high aspirations after successful but unfulfilling 2012 seasons. Hylton lost to eventual Virginia AAA champion Lake Braddock in the state semifinals and St. John’s, the top seed in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, was upset by eighth seed McNamara in the first round of the league playoffs.
With the loss, Hylton drops to 1-4. St. John’s is 3-2.
Hylton had two base runners picked off and cost itself another two runs with errors or hesitation on the base paths.
Hylton added three runs in the fourth off St. John’s senior right-hander Harry Thomas.
Scrubb led off by dumping a single into short right field and King reached on an error, the third by three Cadet infielders. Sneed got hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Junior Will Frazier drilled a line drive off Thomas’s glove, who tracked down the ball to throw to first for an out. One out later, junior Trey Bridis delivered a two-run double into the left field corner.
St. John’s got two runs back in the top of the fifth. Robinson reached on an error to lead off the inning and senior Cory Paton singled to right. Neal bunted his way on to load the bases. Lee hit a sacrifice fly to center and Williams followed with an RBI single to left. Leftridge singled to left to reload the bases and chase Hylton left-hander King.
Junior right-hander Austin Magestro, who committed this week to UNC Wilmington, struck out the first batter he faced and King, who had moved to right field, made a running grab toward the line to end the inning.
St. John’s made it 5-4 in the sixth. Adrian Peralta led off with a walk and Robinson singled to center. Each moved up on a wild pitch. Paton walked to load the bases. Neal hit a sacrifice fly to left, and Lee hit an RBI double down the left field line to make it 5-4 with runners on second and third.
Magestro struck out Williams and Leftridge flied out to center to end the inning.
Hylton, which on Sunday heads to the Fort Launderdale Sunshine Classic for spring break, tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth.