John Paul II pitcher Brendan Caruso delivers a pitch during Game 1 against Etowah on Wednesday at home.

St. John Paul II Falcons go down swinging against Etowah in third round

HUNTSVILLE — It was a season unlike any other for St. John Paul II baseball as the Falcons took a deep playoff run that ended with two games to none series loss to Etowah in the third round of the 4A playoffs on Thursday.

Wednesday storms halted Game 1 by nearly two hours and ended up being a victory for the Blue Devils 9-3.

The pressure was on John Paul II to take Game 2 to avoid being swept on Thursday as the action picked back up with better weather.

The Falcons were getting no-hit through 5 1/3 innings by Etowah lefthander Caleb Freeman when a single to right field by center fielder Cody Johnson broke up the streak.

Etowah scored solo runs in the first and third innings to lead 2-0 late in the game.

One guy that Freeman could not get out was JPII’s senior shortstop Paul Andrzejewski who collected his third walk of the game in the top of the sixth inning.

Andrzejewski moved to second base when Johnson got the single and suddenly the Falcons had something brewing with one out.

When the Etowah catcher attempted to gun down Johnson who was streaking toward second base on a double steal, his throw caused the second baseman St. Clair to fall down.

The chaos afforded Andrzejewski enough of a window to dart all the way home for a massive first run for JPII that sliced the Etowah lead in half at 2-1.

An inning later, the Falcons had the game-tying run at third base with one out, but back to back strikeouts sent John Paul II in to the offseason with a 2-1 Game 2 loss.

“Today we just went up against a really good team,” John Paul II head coach Robby Seeman said.

“We got outplayed, we got outcoached a little bit.”

As the team in green and white took some time to hug and remember all of the special moments from this remarkable season, some of the eyes of the players got a little misty.

“We’re a scrappy team so we tried to scrap back late like we have done all year,” Andrzejewski said.

“This time it just didn’t work out for us, but the guys worked hard all year and I couldn’t have wanted to go out any other way.”

For a deeper dive into this playoff series for John Paul II, be sure to read the full story in the print edition of the Madison Record on Wednesday, May 17.

 

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