McCarthy Defeats Flanagan In 4-3 Thriller
Video clip of Lucas Serra delivering game-winning hit.
Back in 2013, when Archbishop McCarthy and Flanagan were at the height of their state and county dominance, HSBN introduced its Game of the Week feature, and the first thing that happened was matching two of the perennial powers in the country, teams who had never played each other before.
So the first ever HSBN Game of the Week between the two teams was a 5-2 Flanagan win. The Mavericks would be in the middle of the best run in state history, with seven state titles in eight years. But the one thing they could not do through that run was solve the Falcons.
Flanagan and McCarthy have been featured in an HSBN Game of the Week every year since 2013, with the Falcons winning all five game up until 2017. (McCarthy won in 2017 on the field, but the game later turned into a 7-0 Flanagan forfeit win.)
In 2018 the teams did not play, and that brought us to Wednesday night at McCarthy. With a packed house, and the HSBN Broadcast team in the booth, it looked as though Flanagan was going to again show their dominance in the cross-town rivalry.
That was until the seventh inning, when the Mavericks overcame a 3-0 deficit, tied the game, and then won the game 4-3 in the bottom of the 10th on a Lucas Serra walk-off base hit. For a team that has been up and down this year, the game served as a shot in the arm heading down the stretch.
“One game can change the direction of a season,” said Mavericks Manager Aaron Vorachek. “We have been waiting all year to put together that signature-type game, and tonight I couldn’t be more proud of the way the guys battled after falling behind early.”
McCarthy was on the defensive at the plate most of the night thanks to Flanagan starter Stephen Schissler. The senior took the mound with an ERA of 1.40 on the season, and dominated Maverick hitters for most of the night.
“Stephen threw a great game tonight,” said Falcons Manager Noel Figueroa. “He is right where we want him to be as we head towards the playoffs. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get through those final three outs.”
Flanagan had taken the lead in the fourth on a Ray Rivera single. They then appeared to put the game away in the seventh when Rivera launched a two-run home run.
McCarthy, however, had other ideas in the bottom of the seventh. Buzz Vorachek had what at the time looked like a harmless one-out home run, cutting the lead to 3-1. When Mason Moore and Andres Gancedo both singled, suddenly the Mavericks had the tying runs on base.
Nick Modica walked, loading the bases, and Dominik Ramil drilled a ball down the third basde line into the corner. Originally, all three runs scored, but an umpire review determined the ball had gone under the outfield fence, resulting in a ground-rule double. McCarthy had tied the score at three.
Flanagan was able to wiggle out of the second and third jam and force extra innings when Alex Ducasse gunned down the winning run at the plate on a fly ball to left field.
From there, the teams exchanged zeroes until the bottom of the 10th, when Lucas Serra played the role of hero, singling in the winning run on a line drive to center.
“I was just looking for something I could handle, something I could hit on a line,” said Serra. “We have lost some tough games this year, so it was fun to be apart of a game where we came from behind to win.”
It was the type game that sparks seasons.
“It is just great to beat a team of this caliber,” said Vorachek. “They are a very good team, well-coached, and talented. Tonight was a great game for our kids. They never gave up and good things happened to them there at the end.”
For Flanagan, it was just their second loss in the last 11 games, and one that Figueroa knows may have been a good thing with the playoffs right around the corner.
“You never want to lose,” said Figueroa. “But the game of baseball has a way of humbling you. I think maybe our guys have gotten too comfortable lately, and games like this can be important to show that if you aren’t always focused, things like this can happen. I give a lot of credit to McCarthy, they battled hard all night and they got us there at the end.”