Saints John and Paul (SJP) junior varsity and varsity baseball teams both emerged victorious as Westchester Catholic Baseball Association (WCBA) champions in two nail-biting title games. They are the first baseball teams in the history of the school to bring home the titles. Both teams played Annunciation, a perennial baseball powerhouse.
The JV team, which consists of 5th and 6th grade boys from the SJP parish, bested Annunciation 6 in a thrilling three-game series held at Schultze Field in Crestwood. The teams had split the first two games by a single run, with the losing team in each case having the tying run on third base at the last out.
It was only fitting that the championship game was decided by one run as well, with a final score of 5-4. Coach Ralph Berardi was delighted with the strong defense his team displayed against a hard hitting Annunciation team.
Varsity Takes Its Best Chance
The varsity team, consisting of 7th and 8th grade boys, had another stellar season. The team has consistently been a strong group over the past few years, placing second to Annunciation in the 2008 season.
Not this year. Unlike their JV counterparts, the varsity team had only one chance to best Annunciation 8. And as with the JV team, the game, held at Salesian High School, was decided by one run in the bottom of the 7th inning.
“This was a great group of boys,” said Coach Jerry Pilla. “The team exemplified leadership in athleticism and character.”
The assistant commissioner of the WCBA, Mary Van Zandt, extended her congratulations to SJP and Annunciation, commending both on their spectacular seasons, caliber of play, drive, determination and talent.
The athletic director for SJP, John Hannaway, says he can’t wait until October when not one, but two banners will be raised in the Saints John and Paul gym on Weaver Street to recognize the teams’ achievements. For those 8th grade boys who played their last WCBA season, the raising of the banners will be bittersweet indeed.