St. Vincent de Paul’s varsity baseball team finished the 2012 season on a high note, winning the North Suburban Parochial School League title Wednesday, May 24, in Robbinsdale, for the school’s third ever hard ball championship and first in 21 years.
The Royals entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed but due to a first round field conflict, were disappointed in not having home field advantage for their first round game. The Blue & Gold traveled to No. 6 St. Raphael’s Tuesday, May 22, and topped the Saints in a nail-bitter, 9-7.
The Royals next visited No. 2 St. Alphonus Tuesday, May 29 and knocked off the Crusaders 8-2 to advance to the league title game, the following night at top seeded Sacred Heart.
The Rams and Royals had split in two regular season meetings, with the rubber match for all the marbles at John Scanlon Memorial Field in Robbinsdale. The Royals used clutch hitting and strong pitching to win 5-2.
St. Vincent’s took an early (2-1) lead behind a strong pitching effort from eighth grader Ben Zitur only to watch Sacred Heart battle back to tie it up at two apiece. St. V’s then mounted a three-run rally in the top of the fifth inning, sparked by eighth grader Nolan Thune’s solid single to right moving the eventual winning run into scoring position.
Eighth grader Will Blake brought home what turned out to be the game winner with a sacrifice fly scoring seventh grader Nick Hadzima, whose lead-off single started the inning. Seventh grader Jayden Walsh followed Blake with a base hit to drive in Thune with the all-important insurance run, followed by Zitur’s misplayed flyball scoring Walsh, to make it 5-2 St. Vincent’s.
The Royals then held off Sacred Heart for the win as eighth grader Nick Holtan closed the deal by striking out the final hitter with two runners on base.
"All the players continually got better throughout the season and we were playing our best baseball at the end of the year," commented coach and former Royal Jon Zitur. "Every guy was a contributing factor in the championship game, which is great for a coach to see. It was a great season and I am proud of all the kids."
St. Vincent’s won their previous NSPSL baseball titles in 1965 and 1991. The Royals finished with an 8-3 league record.