Friars take a victory over the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in nine innings

September 3, 2014

On a sultry Labor Day morning, with DC swamp conditions bogging down fly balls and grounders alike, the Dominicans hosted the Marians of the Immaculate Conception for another chapter in their storied history of softball contests. The Friars extended their winning streak to five consecutive years with a 13-0 win over the Marians. MVP honors went to Br. Thomas Davenport, who went 2-for-3 with a triple, four runs-batted-in, and two runs scored, and to Br. Jordan Zajac who went 3-for-3 at the plate, and pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. Fr. Brain Chrzastek, the Vicar of the Priory of the Immaculate Conception, led both teams in prayer before the game and the first pitch was thrown by Fr. Sylvester Willoughby, who, not insignificantly, chose a baseball for the task, an homage to the most hallowed recreation of his studium days in the mid-forties. Last year’s nail-biting victory in extra innings gave the Friars cause for trepidation, as memories of the narrow-margin precluded any overconfidence or sanguine predictions from the bench. In the top of the first, Br. Jordan Zajac faced some of the MIC’s most consistent contributors, with Br. Joe Lappe leading off and Fr. Mark Baron batting third. But unphased by first year jitters, the oppressive heat, and a lethal offense, Br. Jordan saw the MICs retired in order. No one could have predicted what came next. In a manner hitherto unknown, the Friars poured on the offense in the bottom of the first. With two of the first three batters reaching on errors and a well hit ball from Br. John Mark Solitario, the Friars loaded the bases for Br. Thomas Davenport, hitting clean-up. With a power that has characterized Br. Thomas’s career from his arrival on the DHS softball scene three years ago, he sent a towering fly deep into left-center, clearing the bases for a stand-up triple. Hits followed from the bats of Brs. Jonah Teller, Dominic Verner, and Jordan Zajac. Coupled with some errors and heads up base running, the Friars closed the inning with a 7-0 lead. Stellar defense kept the MICS off the board in the top of the second. Hits from Br. Justin Bolger and Br. Luke Hoyt padded the lead with an additional run, as the Friars went into the third up 8-0. With exemplary defense from both teams, particularly from the outfielding duo of Fr. Mark Baron and Br. Joe Lappe in Left and Center respectively, the next four innings passed for both teams in scoreless fashion. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Friars heated up the bats for another volley of offense. With singles from seven consecutive batters, the Friars supplemented their lead with an additional five runs, making the total 13-0 going into the eighth. After seven scoreless innings from Br. Jordan Zajac, the manager went to the bullpen and brought in Br. John Paul Kern to secure the last six outs. And that he did. After a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth, the Friars retired the first two batters of the ninth, and stood within one out of a victory. Not to be shown slack in zeal though, the Marians rallied with a well hit single, followed by a double to the gap. With the throw coming from left, the cutoff relayed the ball home for a dramatic out at the plate, ending the inning and another chapter in the Dominican-Marian epic. The Friars’ victory was due in large part to significant contributions from first-year-brothers, notably Brs. John Mark Solitario, Paul Clarke, Jonah Teller, and Jordan Zajac, as well as the consistent performance from returning veterans on whom this squad has come to rely so much. As shortstop Br. Jonah said after the game: “Yoked as we young guys were to the older brothers, we couldn’t help but plow straight on to victory.” — Br. Gregory Maria Pine, OP

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