By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
The game was tied, but things did not look good for the McAuley Catholic Warriors.
McAuley entered the bottom of the seventh with its 7-8-9 hitters coming to the plate and its top two pitchers out of innings.
However, the bottom of the order came through for the Warriors.
Anthony Calcagno and Greg Carney both reached base before Cole Lowry hit a run-scoring single, lifting McAuley to a 7-6 victory over the Golden City Eagles in the Class 1 District 6 championship on Wednesday at Wendell Redden Stadium.
The win gave the Warriors (7-7) their first district championship in baseball since 1982. They open state tournament play on Monday at Dadeville (16-7).
McAuley’s final three hitters were a combined 0-for-6 going into the bottom of the seventh.
“They came in clutch at the key time,” McAuley coach Jason McVey said. “We kind of struggled at the bottom of the order today, so for all three of them to step up was huge.”
Calcagno led off the inning with a single. Carney walked, and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third with two outs.
That brought up Lowry, who struck out, was hit by a pitch and walked in his three previous plate appearances.
Lowry delivered with a line drive to right field to score Calcagno.
“I struck out all my at-bats except that one, and it feels great,” Lowry said. “On the bench, I got some advice to sit back on that pitch and wait for it. In that situation, you have to be smart and take a pitch you can take.”
McAuley entered the game limited in pitching. Anthony Bertoncino, who pitched a two-hit shutout to beat Exeter on Monday, and Shaw Robertson, who had 13 strikeouts in a win over Hurley on Tuesday, each had only three innings available to throw against Golden City.
Bertoncino held the Eagles to two runs on two hits over the first three innings. Trey Melton allowed three runs on three hits in the fourth, before Robertson allowed one run over the final three innings. McAuley would have brought Melton back in to pitch the eighth if the game went to extra innings.
Melton’s sandwich inning in the fourth was crucial, leaving the mound with the game tied at 5.
“He came in and battled for us,” McVey said. “There were two errors, I believe, that inning. But he kept his composure and stayed out there and stepped up.”
Catcher Adam Robertson caught Golden City’s Gus Scott stealing to end the top of the fourth.
“That was very key,” McVey said. “They were at the top of their order, and their 1 through 4 hitters are good. He had a couple missed throws, but that was the biggest one right there.”
With the scored knotted at 5, the game was halted in the top of fifth because of rain. A tarp was placed on the field, so that it would be playable once the storm passed.
“The administration has been great,” McVey said. “Five or six our kids leave tomorrow for state track, so we had to get this game in today. The administration helped out huge.”
Golden City advanced to the district championship after a pair of one-run victories over Lockwood and Greenfield.
“Nobody expected us to be here today,” Golden City coach Tyler Gray said. “We haven’t even had a baseball team in two years. So for us to even be here was a huge accomplishment for our kids.”