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Bishop Hendricken wins Division I baseball battle against La Salle

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PROVIDENCE – It took a little patience at the plate and a fireman on the mound to decide this showdown in Division I baseball rivalry.

Bishop Hendricken pounced on La Salle's bullpen and found the relief answer he needed in Cooper Maher. That was enough for the Hawks to hand the Rams a loss on a rough Thursday afternoon at the Toti Baseball Diamond.

The visitors piled up seven runs in the top of the sixth inning to finally turn things around. Maher retired four players while recording the final eight outs and Bishop Hendricken walked away with a 9-6 triumph over La Salle.

“The energy on the bus ride – you could tell everyone was ready to play this game,” Maher said. “This is always a big topic for us.”

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The state's two most prominent Catholic rivals compete in multiple sports, and baseball is no exception. The Rams were racing to a 5-2 lead behind Patrick Jones before the roof collapsed as three relievers wobbled through the final two innings. Frank Tillinghast's two-run double to the left corner broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Hawks the lead to stay.

“Everyone went to the base one by one and did their jobs,” Tillinghast said. “It was a complete team effort. I was able to do that.”

Two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases with no one out in the sixth. Jack LaRose's infield single and consecutive walks by Ryan Thompson and Braeden Campbell brought Bishop Hendricken even. Tillinghast sliced ​​one to the opposite field, Cole Camara led a sacrifice fly to center and Maher helped himself by hitting an RBI single to left.

“I know our offense will always come through,” Maher said. “I see them in the cages.”

Jones was particularly tough in lefty-lefty duels in the first five innings. The Hawks (5-0) were just 1-for-8 in those situations against the Maine commit, including a swing strikeout that followed RBI singles by Maher and Parker Ford in the top of the fourth. Jones walked away with the pitch count increasing and what felt like a reasonable lead, but trouble was just around the corner.

“In the fourth inning we knew he had a high count,” Tillinghast said. “We knew we would see someone else soon.”

La Salle (4-3) gave Jones the lead by erasing a 2-1 deficit at the end of the fourth period. Aiden Ciprian added an RBI single to center and two errors by Bishop Hendricken made it a 4-2 game. Caden Calabro made it a three-run lead in the fifth when he secured the win with an attempted squeeze bunt.

From there, the Rams stumbled, and Maher held them to a single run in the sixth on what turned out to be a 6-3 double play. He left men on the corners with an inning-ending strikeout and saved the tying run in the on-deck circle in the seventh when Tommy Malloy singled to center.

“We knew he was going to come out here and pump gas,” Tillinghast said. “That’s what we expected and that’s what he did.”

Bishop Hendricken 000 207 0 – 9 10 2

La Salle 100 311 0 – 6 9 1

Ryan Thompson, Dylan Lynch (4), Cooper Maher (5) and Braeden Campbell. Patrick Jones, Michael Mita (6), Domenic McNeil (6), Aiden Ciprian (6) and Nate Bautista.

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