Ascension claims NLESD baseball crown
The Ascension Collegiate Astros baseball team made things a bit closer then they needed to be in the championship of the NLESD senior high baseball tournament.
Leading the Holy Heart Highlanders 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning at St. Pat’s Ballfield in St. John’s on May 31, the Bay Roberts-based Astros surrendered three runs after registering two outs and needed an all-ornothing play from centerfielder Nicholas Parsons to notch the final out.
Facing the bottom third of the Highlanders order, it appeared victory was a foregone conclusion for the Astros. However after registering the first two outs of the inning, the Highlanders found life and closed the gap to 8-4 after scoring a pair of runs.
With two runners on, Ben Murphy hit a ball into the gap between center and right field. One run had scored when Parsons picked the ball up and hurled towards home plate. As the second run seemed ready to score and prolong the inning, pitcher Bradley Adams cut the ball at the mound and fired a strike to catcher Mark Barrett, who applied the tag on the runner to seal the 8-5 victory and the gold medal for Ascension.
“It seemed like a nothing play,” said coach Trevor Dixon. “Seemed like the play was over and the run was scoring. Then we made the quick turnaround to toss it to home for the out.”
Parsons had put everything he had in the game-saving throw and could be seen holding his right arm during medal presentations.
For many of the Ascension players, the throw to home must have felt like déjà vu. In the AAAA softball tournament final, a similar play at the plate occurred that led to the Ascension victory.
“My heart went to my throat as the umpire signaled the out call,” said Adams. “I went to go find Nicko (Parsons) after the play. It didn’t seem real.”
It was not the only clutch play for the Astros. Ascension had a pair of two-out rallies in the first and fifth innings that pushed their run totals to eight. Ryan Petten and Noah Wilson had a pair of hits in the contest. They also pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the fourth inning.
However, it was the splurge of runs in the fifth that sealed the deal for Ascension.
Noah Donovan started the game for the Astros and picked up the victory. The Level I student went 3-0 on the mound in the tournament.
“It was a team effort,” said Donovan, shunning the spotlight. “Everyone was on the same page with one objective in mind — taking home the banner.”
“There as never an inning where he seemed like he was in trouble,” added Dixon.
The Astros posted a fairly clean record at the four-day tournament. The team registered wins over Mount Pearl Senior High, Queen Elizabeth from Foxtrap, Holy Trintiy from Torbay, St. John’s school Gonzaga and Holy Heart.
The only blemish came in the form of a tie with Holy Spirit High of Manuels.
“We got better as the tourna- ment went on,” said Dixon. “Our bats came alive in the fourth game and carried us through.”
The championship marked the second such title for Ascension. The school also won it all in 2011 in the tournament’s first year.
“(The banner) was great,” said pitcher Noah Wilson. “All the hard work finally paid off and everything that happened throughout the tournament was worth it.”
“It’s great to get gold,” added Adams.
The Ascension Collegiate Astros baseball team defeated the St. John’s based Holy Heart Highlanders 8-5 in the final of the NLESD senior high baseball tournament at St. Pat’s Ballfield in St. John’s on May 31. Members of the team are: front(l-r) — Noah Donovan, Ryan Petten, Nicholas Parsons, Bradley Adams, Jeremy Penney and Mark Barrett; back — teacehr Lisa Doucette, statisticien Zachary Parsons, coach Trevor Dixon, Noah Wilson, Tyler Lundrigan, Jonny Smith, Colin Parsons, Ryan Glavine, Jeremy Snow, coach David Butt, Jordan Coombs, Brady Ryan and coach Nicholas Mercer.