All Systems Go: St. John Paul II Rides Marsh’s Gem to Sectional Title (VIDEO/SLIDESHOW)

BROCKTON – They say it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but it is the size of the fight in the dog.

And in the heart of the City of Champions, with the grandson of the late undefeated heavyweight world champion Rocky Marciano umpiring third base (Peter Marciano Jr.), St. John Paul II’s Kevin Marsh showed just how much fight he had in him by turning in a complete-game, four-hit, 11-0 shutout over the #6-seeded Mashpee Falcons Saturday morning.

St. John Paul II pitcher Kevin Marsh went the distance with eight strikeouts to pace the Lions to the south sectional title Saturday morning. Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

St. John Paul II pitcher Kevin Marsh went the distance with eight strikeouts to pace the Lions to the south sectional title Saturday morning.
Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

On the heels of one of the toughest weeks of his young life with the passing of his mother Donna Marsh, the senior right-hander led his top-seeded Lions to their third straight MIAA Division 4 South Sectional championship title with an eight-strikeout, no-run performance that was, in turn, a mirrored-reflection of the cumulative Lions’ effort to date.

Marsh, who was also coming off an ankle injury, walked one, scattered four hits and added a 2-for-4 performance at the plate that included a two-run double.

“I knew he was well-rested,” St. John Paul II head coach Mark Santos said. “It was just a matter of the ankle holding up which, at this point, is a non-issue. He got ahead on batters and threw strikes all day… he was a bulldog out there.”

Marsh needed just 92 pitches for his seven-inning, complete-game performance and when the final Mashpee (18-8) out was made he was instantly swarmed by his teammates. St. John Paul II is now an incredible 48-2 since the start of the 2014 season.

St. John Paul II will likely play Tuesday at a site to be determined against the Division 4 North Sectional champion but there is speculation the game will be held at Lowell’s Edward A. LeLacheur Park. The Division 4 State Championship will be held at Holy Cross on Saturday, June 20.

Coach Santos said that the bus ride home to Cape Cod Saturday afternoon was “very upbeat” but that the team nevertheless appeared to be “very focused.”

St. John Paul II head coach Mark Santos with his seniors and the sectional title trophy. Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

St. John Paul II head coach Mark Santos with his seniors and the sectional title trophy.
Sean Walsh/Capecod.com Sports

“We will have work to do,” he said.

The Lions’ leadoff hitter Bobby Higgins (1-4, run) set the tone for the sectional championship final with a basehit off of starter Mashpee Pat Madden, which was promptly followed by a Blake Waters (3-4, triple) single, a hit batsman and eventually a two-run blooper into shallow left from junior right-fielder Jonny Warden (1-4, 2 RBI) that made it 3-0.

The Lions added three more in the third inning and then exploded for five more in the fifth. Waters, Joe Oriola (1-3, triple, two RBI) and Eric Del Rosso (1-4, t2 RBI, triple) each hammered triples for the Lions in the game.

After Waters singled and Matt Santos was hit by a pitch to start the Bottom of the fifth inning, Mashpee head coach Dan Patenaude brought in southpaw ace Jason Demers to try and stop the bleeding with the Lions ahead, 6-0, but Marsh had different ideas and hammered a two-run double to make it 8-0.

Coach Santos then sent in pinch-runner Pat Connolly for Marsh and Marsh returned to the dugout to a loud standing ovation from the St. John Paul II fan section.

Mashpee’s Dan Crowley, Nick Carpenter, Ari Purdy and Alex Morry each had basehits for the Falcons. It was the 26th straight game this season that Carpenter had registered at least one basehit. Carpenter came in to relieve Demers but by that time the Lions had built an 11-0 lead.

— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is seanwalsh@ccb-media.com. Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm

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