ALLENTOWN - With his team trailing by six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jimmy Kerrigan said he was able to imagine a comeback for the Catholic League as he sat in the first-base dugout.
Four innings later, Kerrigan made that a reality as he drove home Corey Baiada for the winning run in walk-off fashion as the Catholic League won, 9-8, over Chester County in the second game of a Carpenter Cup quarterfinal doubleheader at Coca-Cola Park.
In the first game, Burlington County topped Suburban One National/Bicentennial, 10-4, to set up a semifinal meeting with the Catholic League at 1 p.m. Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
With two strikes against him, Kerrigan was expecting a change-up from Chester County pitcher Bill Krebs.
Instead, Kerrigan received a fastball, chest high, and made the adjustment to earn his first hit of the game and set off a wild celebration as he rounded the first-base bag.
"It's awesome. I love being in that spot," the junior from Neumann-Goretti said. "We're always confident."
Neumann-Goretti teammate Mike Zolk triggered the comeback as he drove a two-run double to right in the seventh inning.
With the Catholic League down to its last out in the ninth inning, Shane Williams knocked in two runs to tie the score and force extra innings.
In Saturday's first game, Burlington County rattled off five runs in the bottom of the first inning and went on to score 10 straight times on the way to building an eight-run lead.
With two outs and one on in the first, designated hitter Jose Martinez (Pemberton) smashed a 390-foot line drive to dead center field to drive home Nick Cieri (Rancocas Valley) for the team's fifth run.
Martinez said he was sitting on a fastball in the full count and got just that from Suburban One starter Bobby Andris. Martinez waited back on the outside, belt-high pitch and said he knew he made solid contact as soon as it left his aluminum bat.
"I was trying to go three, but with two outs, Coach held me up at second," said Martinez, who finished the game with two hits and two RBIs before being substituted for after the fourth inning.
The Catholic League had last advanced to the semifinals in 2009. Burlington County has played in two straight championship games, capturing the title in 2009.
This will be the first time since 2006 that a Suburban One squad does not advance to Citizens Bank Park, site of the semifinals and championship game.
SOL Nat./Bicen. 200000020 - 4121
Burlington County 50130010x - 10121
WP: Jeff Singer. LP: Bobby Andris. 2B: SOL-Mike Tentalucci, Billy Fleming; BC-Vince Corbi, Bryan Clayton, Gabe Santone, Jose Martinez.
Chester County 00411200000 - 8112
Catholic League 20000040201 - 9134
WP: Sean McCloskey. LP: Bill Krebs. 2B: CC-David Iaccobucci, Jack Ashburn, Nate Strauss, Matt Gosik; CL-Mike Zolk. 3B: CC-Tom Grabewski.