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OTTAWA — It’s been said a million times before and once again the old saying ‘it’s not how you start the game, it’s how you finish’ came true. Luckily for St. Bede they were the ones who finished the game strong as the Bruins topped Seneca 7-6 in the semifinals of the Class 2A Marquette Baseball Regional Wednesday afternoon in Ottawa.
The Irish got off to a strong start in large part to a 3-run home run in the bottom of the second inning by Brian Bergeson, who blasted his eighth home run of the season for a 5-0 lead after two innings of action.
“They (Seneca) deserved to win,” St. Bede head coach John Bellino said. “Obviously that big three-run shot was big, but we are very fortunate to get this win. We can’t wait till the sixth inning to start hitting the ball either and expect to keep winning in the post season.”
The Bruins did not manage a hit until the fifth inning when they cut their deficit to 5-4. Brandon Pietrowski and Jake Postula led off the fifth with back to back singles for St. Bede’s first hits of the game.
Seneca had a big error and Sam Lucas made them pay for it with a big three-run triple to make it a 5-4 deficit for the Bruins.
The Irish picked up a another run in the seventh for a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh where Bobby Morrow led with a walk and Lucas singled to left. Two batters later, Austin Schwab slapped a huge two- run double down the left field line to send the game into extra innings.
Thanks in part to terrific relief pitching from Damon Smith, the defense behind him kept the Irish from getting a big inning started.
“We had our chances today,” Seneca head coach Kirk Houchen said. When you’re playing a team like that you have to take advantage of opportunities that are giving to you, but we didn’t do that enough and St. Bede did.”
In the bottom of the 10th, Schwab reached on an error and then scored the winning run when Pietrowski flied to right in foul territory, allowing Schwab to tag up and give the Bruins a 7-6 victory to secure a spot in Saturday’s regional final.
“I think we started out rusty and maybe took these guys for granted,” Smith said. We have to step up and make sure that doesn’t happen again”
Lucas led the Bruins with two hits and three RBIs while Smith picked up the win on the mound for St. Bede.
The Bruins will face the winner of the Hall and Marquette, who play today at 4:30 p.m. in Ottawa.