As­cen­sion claims NLESD base­ball crown

The Compass - - SPORTS - nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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 tour­na­ment

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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