The Monroe Catholic Rams knew they wouldn’t be playing for a state championship this year when they went into Friday afternoon’s consolation game against Grace Christian.
The way it went, however, the DII State Championship better hope it’s as good as the wild show we got between Monroe and Grace Christian.
Monroe was down early, came back early, got down again and came back in a major way to earn a thrilling 12-8 win over Grace Christian Friday afternoon at Wasilla High School. As victors, the Rams advance to the fourth place game in the DII State Tournament consolation bracket on Saturday.
Things didn’t look good for the Rams in the top of the first inning as Grace Christian easily put two runs on the board. Monroe struck back in the bottom of the first, however, beginning with Gabe Angaiak’s RBI single to score Aden Sadler. The Rams took the lead two at-bats later when Jonathan Swank’s two-run RBI double scored Angaiak and Shaun Conwell and make it a 4-2 game in favor of Monroe. Tommy Bast picked up an RBI single to score Swank right after that and suddenly the Rams were up 4-2.
Grace Christian didn’t take long to answer, however. With two outs in the top of the second, a three-run RBI triple shifted the score to 5-4 before Grace Christian made it 6-4 the next at-bat. Monroe cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the second as Brighton Higbee’s bunt scored Jack Mavencamp.
After a scoreless third inning, the Rams came back with a vengeance in the fourth. With two outs, Angaiak’s two-run RBI single scored Higbee and Sadler to return the lead to Monroe. The next at-bat, Miles Fowler reached on an error that allowed Conwell and Angaiak to score make it a 9-6 game in favor of the Rams.
After holding Grace Christian scoreless in the top of the fifth, Monroe kept it going in the bottom of the fifth. Jase McCullough’s RBI single managed to score Bast and increase the Ram lead to four.
Grace Christian managed to add a run in the top of the sixth inning to trim the deficit to three, but Monroe got it back to four in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Angaiak’s RBI double that scored Malakai Taylor-Oates. The Rams managed to add another run the same inning when Bast’s RBI ground out scored Angaiak to make it 12-7 Monroe.
There was some late drama as Grace Christian managed to add an eighth run in the top of the 7th inning with just one out, but the Rams were able to secure a double play right after and end the game with a victory.
Angaiak led the team with a sensational day. He went 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBI’s. Sadler (2-for-4, two runs), Conwell (2-for-3, two runs), Swank (2-for-4, one run, two RBI’s), and Bast (2-for-4, one run, two RBI’s) all had multi-hit days as well. Angaiak pitched a complete game from the mound, giving up just four hits, four earned runs, walking four batters, and striking out four.
As winners of the game, Monroe will face Homer at 10 a.m. on Saturday for fourth place in the tournament.
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.