A wild finish in Scituate saw the Falmouth High School baseball team run through every imaginable emotion, but ending with the one that they wanted—elation.
The Clippers took a two-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning and were an out away from advancing into the round of 16 when the inning began to unravel, and the team came a bounce, and a correct ruling by the umpires, from being eliminated.
Reliever Jackson Scarpellini had entered the game in the sixth inning and had to put out a fire, leaving the bases loaded by getting a key strikeout to end that inning and close the book on a fantastic performance out of the bullpen by Jared Lopes. In the sixth, Scarpellini looked primed to finish the game off as he got the first batter to fly out, then things got crazy. A walk on a 3-2 pitch put the first man aboard for SHS, but then Scarpellini got his second K of the night to put the Clippers an out away from the win. Another walk, on another 3-2 offering, extended the game further, and an infield single loaded the bases for Henry Gates.
Gates launched one to left-center that cleared the fence. The Sailors went crazy, celebrating an apparent walk-off grand slam.
While the jumping up and down commenced, the umpires met to talk the play over and ruled that the ball had bounced over the fence and not cleared it on the fly. Instead of a win right then and there, Scituate had to send runners back to second and third and the game was instead tied at 6-6.
Head Coach Josh Oliver had the next man intentionally walked, and stuck with Scarpellini to try to get out of the jam. The senior came up huge, striking out the next batter to extend the game and keep hope alive for Falmouth.
It did not take long for the complexion of the game to turn in favor of FHS. After avoiding complete catastrophe, the visitors rebounded quickly, thanks in large part to senior Kyle Souza. The number-nine hitter for FHS saw a steady diet of curveballs, but jumped on a 3-2 fastball and smoked it to center for a leadoff triple, putting the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. Senior Chris Maseda then jumped on the first pitch that he saw, lining a hit to left that reclaimed the lead for Falmouth in the top of the eighth, 7-6. A strikeout and a double play ended the inning, but Falmouth was again three outs away from moving on.
The bottom of the eighth played out with the tension level dialed up to 10. Scituate singled on Scarpellini’s first pitch of the frame, and then was able to move him along with a sacrifice, but the Falmouth pitcher got his team to the finish line. Scarpellini struck out the next man, then issued a walk, but ended the game by striking out Nick Sullivan to finish off a crazy win.
“(Scarpellini) has been one of our best on the mound all year,” Coach Josh Oliver said. “Jared (Lopes) came in and gave us a chance to win doing what he did.”
Mike Matta started the game for Falmouth but had a rough outing. He allowed three earned runs in the bottom of the first, and was able to get just one out. The Clippers had scored four in the top of the inning, so he turned the ball over to Lopes with the lead still in hand.
Lopes was excellent. He worked five and a third innings and gave up just one run on six hits with six walks and five strikeouts. Scarpellini got the win, working two and a third.
At the plate, Maseda had a monster of a game, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs batted in and a run scored. Souza and Connor Henningan both had two hits in three trips.
No. 28 Pope Francis scored its second-straight win of the tournament, knocking off No. 5 St. Mary’s, 3-0, and set up a home game for Falmouth in the round of 16. The Clippers were set to host the Cardinals at Fuller Field on June 9, but inclement weather forced it to be postponed. The game will be held today, Friday, June 10, at Fuller at 4 PM.