WALLINGFORD — Sheehan scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat crosstown rival Lyman Hall, 8-7, at a bone chillng Robert M. Neubauer Field on Monday afternoon.
The biggest blow was a three-run triple by Chris Barkasy that tied the game, 7-7. Moments later Barkasy scored the game-winning run on a sacrafice fly off the bat of junior Josh Mikulski.
“I knew Chris at third and is one of the fastest kids on the team and I knew I needed to get it in the outfield and get him in,” Mikulski said. “We just put the bat on the ball and things started to happen. We went to the basics and just went run by run.”
Prior to the seventh inning, the Titans had been to just one run through six by the Lyman Hall pitching combination of Justin Hackett and Owen Rich. Hackett, a senior, went the first two and Rich, a freshman, went the next four-plus frames.
He allowed three hits and five walks and fanned three before re-entering to face Mikulski, who ended up being the final hitter in the game.
Earlier in the seventh, Rich allowed the first two Sheehan batters reach on a walk and an error. Kyle Mitchell came on in relief and uncorked a wild pitch. Then Matt Moconyi and John Cotter came through with back-to-back RBI singles for the Titans to close the gap to 7-3.
Tony Sutera, who had a four-hit day for Sheehan, followed with an RBI single up the middle as the rally continued. Now within 7-4, the Titans began to get louder in the dugout.
Up stepped Barkasy, who blasted a bases-clearing, three-run triple to tie the game at 7-7.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard again and I got a good pitch to hit and it went into the gap,” Barkasy said. “Before I went to the plate, all of my teammates were telling me that we need a ‘Bark triple.’”
The senior is developing a reputation as a clutch player. Barkasy had a two-run triple in the seventh inning earlier this season at Cromwell. That hit came in the midst of a four-run rally that erased a 3-0 deficit.
“He’s a gamer,” Sheehan coach Dom Lombardozzi said of Barkasy. “It’s an over-used word in sports, but it applies to Chris. He’s cool and composed, and the situation is never too big for him. There was no doubt in my mind he would do something there for us. I think he has three triples this year.”
After Barkasy’s triple, Lyman Hall coach Billy Rich walked to bases loaded to set up a force at any base.
At that time he pulled Mitchell and Owen Rich re-entered, but wasn’t allowed any warmup pitches. Mikulski got 2-0 fastball and hit it deep to left, easily scoring Barkasy.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Barkasy said. “It’s still unreal to me.”
Lombardozzi said he was proud of the way his team fought.
“I’m happy we showed some competitiveness,” Lombardozzi said. “It would have been easy for us to mail it in, but the guys just did their jobs and got it done. It shows we never give up no matter what.”
Lost in the shuffle of the incredible Sheehan comeback was a great day Lyman Hall’s Hackett.
The Bryant-bound senior cracked a towering two-run homer in the fourth inning. Hackett also stole five bases, including one of home in the sixth inning, and finished 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored.
Lyman Hall ran wild in building its 7-1 lead. The Trojans swiped eight bases as a team without being caught.
Lyman Hall broke through with a run in the third inning. The Trojans loaded the bases with one out as Hackett and Dylan Gay worked walks and Mitchell was plunked by a pitch.
Sheehan right-handed starter Matthew Moconyi drew a visit from Lombardozzi and proceeded to strike out Owen Rich.
On the first pitch to Jack Pesta, however, the Lyman Hall junior laced a single to score Hackett for a 1-0 lead. Monconyi fanned Jacob Morrison to limit the damage to one run.
Hackett had three stolen bases in the first three innings. He singled and swiped second in the first. In the third, he stole second and third before scoring the first run of the game.
Hackett also threw the first two innings. He pitched around trouble in the first inning, a frame in which Sheehan had two hits and two walks and didn’t score.
That’s because the Titans made two outs on the bases. Sutera walked and was caught stealing on a perfect throw by Gay.
After Hackett induced a groundout, Charles Ennis and Moconyi worked walks. On a hit by Mikulski, Ennis was sent home only to get thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from Pesta in left field to Mitchell at short to Gay at the plate.
Hackett made it a 3-0 game with his home run over the left-centerfield fence. Leadoff hitter Ty Casey scored on the play after reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Owen Rich pitched around a pair of Sheehan runners in the third and fourth innings to keep the Titans off the board.
Sheehan finally broke through with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Sutera (4-for-5) stroked a hard single through the first and second-base hole to start the inning and Mikuski later muscled a groundball RBI single through past the shortstop and third baseman.
The Titans loaded the bases with two outs, but Rich hustled to grab a foul pop up in front of the Sheehan dugout to end the threat.
Lyman Hall got two runs in the top of the sixth to go back up, 5-1. Casey walked and went to third on an errant pickoff throw. Hackett was intentionally walked and swiped second. Casey scored on a sac fly by Gay.
Hackett went to third on a groundout. With two outs, during a pitch to Owen Rich, Hackett broke for home. He slid in head first just before the tag for a 5-1 lead.
Lyman Hall added its final runs in the top of the seventh. Jon Kirby delivered a sacrifice fly to center and Casey capped the scoring with an RBI double to right off Sheehan reliever Lorenzo Perone, who ended up being the winning pitcher following the comeback.
“It was a tough first six and a half innings,” Lombardozzi said. “We were struggling in a lot of areas of the game and beating ourselves. But every once in a while the baseball gods are looking down on you.”
Sheehan evened its record at 3-3 while Lyman Hall fell to 2-3. The Wallingford rivals, who split last season, will meet again on May 11 at Pat Wall Field.
Monday was the first of three home games for Sheehan this week. The Titans host Notre Dame on Wednesday and Hand on Friday. Lyman Hall will play six of its next seven games at Pat Wall Field.