By Phil Anastasia
Not every game-winning rally is going to feature a crackling line drives and clutch hits.
Sometimes, a team has to grind away and find a way.
That's what Bishop Eustace senior first baseman Dan Marano did in the top of the seventh inning of Sunday's Ralph Shaw Classic championship baseball game against host Audubon.
Behind 0-2 in the count with the bases loaded and two outs, Marano battled back to work a walk to drive in the winning run in Bishop Eustace's 4-3 victory before a large crowd on a sunny afternoon at Hank Greenberg Field.
"I knew it was a big situation," Marano said. "I got behind in the count and then I was just trying to put something in play. Then I kept trying to push the count, push the count."
Junior right-hander Justin Hagenman (pictured) worked five strong innings and also doubled and scored a run for Bishop Eustace (4-0), the No. 2 team in The Inquirer's new Top 10 rankings.
Senior right-hander Kevin Terifay pitched six solid innings and also scored two runs for Audubon (3-1).
"It was a great baseball game between two good clubs that always battle each other," Audubon coach Rich Horan said. "We missed some opportunities but they did too. I was proud of the way our kids battled."
Bishop Eustace coach Sam Tropiano said his team needed to play determined baseball to beat the Green Wave on their home field.
"They play so hard," Tropiano said of Audubon. "You know you always are going to be in a battle with them."
Hagenman said he relied heavily on his change-up and sinker because of Audubon's aggressiveness at the plate. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
"He gutted it out," Tropiano said of Hagenman, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Pitcher.
Terifay allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out seven.
"He just goes out and does his job," Horan said of Terifay.
Bishop Eustace senior sinker-baller Alex Hull earned the save, pitching a scoreless seventh inning. He got a lift when senior third baseman Mike Rabbitz made a backhanded running catch of a foul pop for the last out.
"He's our 'Mo,'" Tropiano said of Hull, who wears No. 42 like former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
Senior catcher John Panchella and junior shortstop Chris Jones delivered RBI singles for Bishop Eustace, while senior catcher Zak Chiaradia rapped an RBI single for Audubon.
Audubon tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth as Terifay reached base on an infield single, took second on an error and raced home on senior third baseman Austin Polidoro's RBI double.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Jones reached on a walk. Jones, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third onsenior Mike Krusinki's single.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Audubon opted to walk junior right-fielder Nick Browne and pitch to Marano with the bases loaded.
Marano, who drove in the Crusaders' third run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, got the winning run home with an seven-pitch at-bat that ended with the biggest bases-on-bases of the early part of the season for Bishop Eustace.
"He just battled up there," Hagenman said. "He did the job. It was huge for the team."
Bishop Eustace 021 000 1 -- 4 7 4
Audubon 110 001 0 -- 3 5 1
WP: Tyler Phillips. LP: Eric Schorr.
2B: BE-Justin Hagenman, Devin Smeltzer, Ryan DiMeo; A-Austin Polidoro.