The Varsity Baseball Team Caps an 18-1 Season with the D1 Title
In a year when championships were hard to come by (with state tournament play largely cancelled due to COVID concerns), Xaverian’s varsity baseball Division-1 title win felt sweeter than ever for the Hawks. It almost seemed like it wouldn’t happen as rain cancellations dragged an already late season into July. However, on July 5, the Hawks defeated Leominster 2-0 to clinch the third D1 title in school history—the first since 2012. This team was ready for it. They dominated throughout their 18-1 season, beating conference foes BC High and St. John’s Prep three times each, and eliminating highly-ranked King Phillip, Braintree, Taunton, and Franklin in tournament play. They picked up the Catholic Conference tournament crown on their road to the championship, and for the first time in 30 years, a Hawk was named Catholic Conference MVP. That honor went to catcher Matt Brinker ’22, who is already committed to Northeastern University.
Marc Cedrone ’21 (Bentley University), who pitched a no-hitter in his first varsity appearance on May 10 against BC High, was in total command against Leominster, pitching a complete-game shutout and striking out 13 batters with no walks. And facing one of the state’s top pitchers, the Hawks did what was needed at the plate to secure the title. Henry Fleckner ’21 (Tufts University) and Matt Brinker drew first-inning walks. Ryan Douglas ’21 (Stonehill College) singled up the middle to send Fleckner home for the early 1-0 lead. John Connolly ’21 (Endicott College) smashed a solo home run in the fourth, expanding the Hawks lead to 2-0. Cedrone stifled the Leominster offense for the rest of the afternoon, allowing just three hits in seven innings.
Pitching, defense, and timely hitting were the keys throughout the postseason. The Hawks outscored their opponents 34-13 through the D1 playoffs. Each game, it seemed that a different member of the team stepped up to be the hero. John Connolly launched two clutch home runs to eliminate Franklin High, Matt Brinker had two wall-ball doubles in the State Semifinals vs. the Prep, and Ryan Douglas crushed a 400-foot moonshot against King Phillip.
The last play of the title game was a microcosm of the season. With two outs, Cedrone induced a soft grounder to the shortstop, but an errant throw sailed over the first baseman’s glove. The Leominster runner scrambled toward second base, attempting to capitalize on the throwing error, not realizing that catcher Matt Brinker had sprinted down the first baseline anticipating a potential overthrow. Brinker picked up the ball and delivered a perfect throw to second baseman Henry Fleckner, who slapped down the tag for the final out of the game.
“This was an extremely challenging year for many reasons, but this team and coaching staff really capped it off in a way that we couldn’t imagine,” says Mr. Ted Currle, Xaverian’s Director of Athletics. “It was a great run and they beat some phenomenal teams. We’re just so proud of them.”
A private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12. The Boston area prep school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, a well-developed campus ministry program focused on faith, character, and leadership, and a proud athletic tradition featuring competitive Division 1 high school athletics in the Catholic Conference.