Anthony Delmonaco made the most of his two at-bats on Wednesday.
After getting his job done as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning with a run-scoring groundout, the Norwood High senior delivered a go-ahead two-run single with two outs in the ninth that lifted the Mustangs to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Newton North and clinched a share of the program’s first Bay State Conference Herget Division title since 2004.
"We have a great group of kids, we have 19 seniors, so it’s awesome," said Delmonaco. "We are all great buddies. To do it like this, go out with a bang, its awesome."
Later that night, Norwood was left as outright champs after Braintree outlasted Walpole, 11-10, to tie the Tigers for the Carey crown. The Mustangs had pulled even with their rival with a 2-1 triumph over the Rebels on Monday night.
Norwood (15-4) closed the league season with wins in its final nine BSC contests for a 14-2 mark.
"We’ve got a great coaching staff, the O’Leary boys, (Steve) Eckhardt and (Paul) Erker…but these guys brought it back, we just pointed them in the right direction," said Norwood coach Kevin Igoe of his team. "We got off course and now we are pointed back in the right direction and they should be proud. That senior class should be really proud."
Joe Rydzewski earned the win for the Mustangs with a complete-game performance, outdueling counterpart Brendan Ryan, who also went the distance. After walking the tightrope for the first three innings, Rydzewski settled into a groove, holding the Tigers hitless the final frames.
It was the second straight game Norwood handed an unbeaten ace his first defeat after pinning a loss on Walpole’s Mike Gaughan.
Trailing 2-1, Anthony Perriello singled to begin the top of the ninth, but Kenny Michael and Mark Saulnier both flew out to left, leaving John Galvin as Norwood’s last hope. With Perriello on the move, Galvin drilled a ball through the vacated hole on the right side for his third hit of the game, putting runners at the corners.
"It wasn’t a hit and run – it was a definite run," said a smiling Igoe of the play. "We lucked out, hit it to the right spot. We didn’t go hit and run, we were definitely running. We just needed to make something happen. That kid was excellent on the mound, he kept us guessing."