While this season has been anything but typical for the Braintree baseball team, the Wamps found themselves in familiar postseason territory after the two-time Super 8 champions advanced to the semifinals of the Division 1 South sectional bracket with a 5-4 victory over host Brookline.
Senior Alex Kennedy delivered the decisive blow with a two-run single that highlighted a sixth-inning rally and helped the 12th-seeded Wamps (13-9) earn a date against eighth-seeded Needham.
“It was fun being the underdog,” said Braintree coach Bill O’Connell. “I know we have had some tradition [as a favorite], but that’s in the past.
“We got some clutch hits in that big inning, and our pitching was phenomenal today.”
After fourth-seeded Brookline (15-7) won the first meeting over its Bay State Conference rival in a 10-7 thriller May 17, it came as no surprise Monday afternoon’s sectional quarterfinal at Parsons Field went down to the wire.
Jack Collins started for Braintree, going just two innings and giving up one run, before Kyle Roche (three innings) and John Tellier (two innings) closed it out against a dangerous Warriors lineup.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Warriors surged to a 3-1 lead on Jack Roche’s RBI single and Pete Montgomery’s ground-rule RBI double.
Brookline righthanded starter Casey Wisel recorded seven strikeouts in five innings, but allowed five walks. He was knocked out of the game with nobody out in the sixth when he allowed Braintree to load the bases.
Cole Yee came in to pitch and gave up a quick run-scoring single to Braintree’s Justin Adams, but followed with two quick outs. The junior was one pitch away from escaping the jam, but a walk to Jackson Duffy tied the game, 3-3.
No stranger to the big moment, Kennedy pulled a ground ball down the first base line to drive in two runs for Braintree.
Xaverian 2, Brockton 0 — Junior Dylan Vaglica went the distance as the seventh-seeded Hawks (14-8) blanked the Boxers in a quarterfinal at Campanelli Stadium.
Division 1 North
Lowell 7, Newton North 4 — A five-run fourth powered the host Red Raiders (14-7) past the 11th-seeded Tigers (8-14) and into a semifinal meeting with second-seeded Medford.
Division 2 North
Beverly 3, St. Mary’s 2 — Tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, senior captain Tim McCarthy legged out a walkoff, inside-the-park home run to send the third-seeded Panthers (18-2) to the semis against Burlington.
Division 2 South
North Attleborough 5, Somerset Berkley 0 — Nick Sinacola struck out 12 batters, including the first six in a row, and Nate Pearce went 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI doubles to help the Red Rocketeers (19-2) advance to the semis against Dartmouth.
Duxbury 2, Hopkinton 1 — Charlie Coon scored the winning run in the eighth on a Jack Murphy sacrifice fly to lift the seventh-seeded Dragons (14-8) over the second-seeded Hillers (14-4).
Division 3 North
Lynnfield 2, North Reading 0 — Fernando Gonzalez threw a complete-game four-hitter and had the winning RBI hit for the Pioneers (18-4), who advanced to the semis.
Division 4 South
Mashpee 6, Avon 5 — Trailing, 5-1, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the second-seeded Falcons (19-3) rallied for five runs on Michael Frazier’s two-run single, Zach Landry’s two-RBI double, and Freddie Hannah’s walkoff RBI single to reach the semis.