Simmons, Holy Cross rally

Paul VI's Matt McKeown is safe at home as Holy Cross catcher David Noworyta can't hold onto the ball. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Paul VI's Matt McKeown is safe at home as Holy Cross catcher David Noworyta can't hold onto the ball. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: April 18, 2014

Brandon Simmons said he was trying to be "ordinary."

He was a smashing failure.

Simmons cracked a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to power Holy Cross to a 4-3 victory over Paul VI on Wednesday in a nonleague baseball game.

"I was just trying to move the runners over," Simmons said. "Coach [Steve Paolini] always says, 'Be ordinary, not extraordinary.' What comes extra is a bonus."

Simmons, a junior lefthander, also earned the win by pitching the final 11/3 innings for Holy Cross (5-1).

The fast-paced, well-played game between Non-Public A rivals took just 1 hour and 50 minutes, thanks to strong work from starting pitchers Ryan Aleszczyk of Paul VI and Vince Naurath.

Aleszczyk, a senior righthander making his first varsity start, allowed six hits and three runs, two earned. He faced just 18 batters through the first five innings.

"It's a shame to see someone pitch that well and end up on the wrong side of the ledger," Paul VI coach Pat Fisher said. "He was given an opportunity, and he did a great job. He earned more opportunities."

Naurath, a junior righthander, worked 51/3 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight.

"He did a great job," Paolini said. "He wants to be out there."

Paul VI (2-2) jumped in front, 2-0, in the third inning on an RBI double by junior second baseman Matt McKeown and an RBI single by senior rightfielder Devin Ruiz.

Aleszczyk cruised into the sixth with the 2-0 lead and retired the first batter.

Holy Cross sophomore shortstop Joe Paolini, the coach's son, started the Lancers' rally with a single. Aleszczyk induced a potential double-play ball from the next batter, but an infield error put runners on first and second.

Holy Cross senior catcher David Noworyta delivered an RBI single, cutting Paul VI's lead to 2-1 and ending Aleszczyk's day.

Simmons came to bat with runners on second and third and the infield drawn in. He wasn't thinking home run.

"When you start thinking about hitting one, that's when you don't," Simmons said.

Simmons drove a 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence, just inside the foul pole in the shortest part of the Lancers' home field.

"I love playing here," Simmons said of being a lefthanded hitter on a home field that is just 270 feet down the right-field line.

Simmons said he wasn't trying to drive a pitch into the high screen that protects Holy Cross' tennis courts.

"I was trying to not do anything special," Simmons said. "I knew the situation. I was trying to get a runner home, move those guys along.

"I was just trying to be ordinary up there."

Paul VI 002 000 1 - 3 6 1

Holy Cross 000 004 x - 4 8 1

WP: Brandon Simmons. LP: Ryan Aleszczyk. 2B: PVI-Matt McKeown, John Petrongolo. HR: HC-Brandon Simmons.


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@PhilAnastasia

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