STANDISH — Joe Cronin was just hoping the bottom of the order would give him a chance.

Cronin got it and belted a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Scarborough a 7-5 victory against Cheverus and the Western Class A baseball title Tuesday night at St. Joseph’s College.

Cronin’s blast broke a 5-5 tie and sent the No. 2 Red Storm (17-2) to Saturday’s state final against Messalonskee here at noon.

Cronin, the winning pitcher, sent a 2-2 fastball from Cheverus right-hander Louie DiStasio high into the wet night air over the left-field fence.

Sam Terry gave Cronin the chance to win, walking between a pair of strikeouts.

In a game of dramatic moments, Cronin, a senior headed for Boston College in the fall, saved the biggest for last.

“I told the guys ahead of me, just give me an at-bat,” said Cronin. “I didn’t think I would hit a homer, but I wanted to get on so that maybe Ben Wessel would have a chance to hit one.

“I geared up for a fastball because that’s what I would have thrown. It was right down the middle and I put a swing on it. I thought it had a chance but I wasn’t sure. When I was approaching first, I thought I better start running and when I touched the bag, I saw it clear the fence and my teammates go crazy.

“This is the best game I’ve ever been a part of.”

The game was back and forth with both teams having dramatic moments.

Harry Ridge kept Cheverus’ hopes alive with a two-out, two-run single to tie it in the top of the seventh. Cronin got two quick strikes on Ridge and thought he had the third on a curve. He didn’t get the call and Ridge battled, finally dropping a base hit into right-center.

“Scarborough got their last at-bats and Cronin got the big hit. And that was that,” said Cheverus Coach Mac McKew.

“Our guys didn’t quit. They don’t quit. Our seven seniors had a great career. They got their rings last year.”

The fourth-seeded Stags (14-4) were seeking a second straight regional title and a chance to defend the state championship they won by beating Lewiston.

Exactly a month ago, Scarborough beat Cheverus 2-0 in the regular season.

The Red Storm trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 and also refused to quit.

“I told the kids to keep grinding,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Coutts.

And grind they did.

The Stags took a 1-0 lead in the third when DiStasio hit a breaking ball off Cronin high over the fence. Cheverus went on top 2-0 in the fourth when Ryan Casale’s grounder scored Ridge.

DiStasio allowed the Red Storm’s first run when he threw a wild pitch in the fourth. Cronin was hit by a pitch leading off. One out later, he went to third on Wessel’s single and scored on DiStasio’s errant pitch.

Scarborough tied it in the fifth after Ben Greenberg had a leadoff triple. Aaron Ravin, the next batter, hit a sacrifice fly.

The Stags took a 3-2 lead in the sixth, but in the bottom half the Red Storm scored three to make it 5-3. The highlight was Nick Bagley’s two-run homer down the left-field line.

Cheverus staged its own dramatic comeback the next inning, only to be trumped by Cronin and his teammates.

DiStasio held Scarborough hitless for the first three innings. Wessel had Scarborough’s first hit, a single in the fourth.

Cronin struck out 11. DiStasio fanned seven.


Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH