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"(St. Peter Marian is) deep, one through nine in the lineup," said Barnaby, whose team split with SPM, winning 7 6 and losing 6 0, during the regular season. "Whoever we face, we expect it to be a one or two run ballgame."
"We've been there before and were in the finals last year," the LHS coach said. "We got down, but felt like something good was going to happen. We embraced the moment and picked each other up. And Neil picked us up and carried us."
"I would take Neil in any competition," said Barnaby, admitting he knew O'Connor was going to be special four years ago after the then freshman earned wins in relief against Quabbin and Milford in the district playoffs. "I'd take him in pingpong. He hates to lose. The bigger the moment, the more he steps up. He's a special player."
A St. John's baserunner dives back ahead of the pick off throw to Leominster first baseman Tanner Jakola during Wednesday's Central Mass. Division 1 baseball semifinal. SENTINEL ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN
Barnaby said recent tournament failure, including last year's loss to Nashoba Regional in the district final, helped Leominster seize the moment against the Pioneers in the semifinals.
against St. John's on the mound with a complete game gem, but it was his bat that eventually won the game with a two run homer in the sixth inning to propel his team to a emotional Prada Bags Cahier 2 1 victory and a berth in the final.
Leominster has been a resilient bunch, winning the ultra tough Midland League A title and eventually earning the No. 1 seed and a first round bye in the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament.
Leominster doesn't want season to Rolex Daytona Platinum Diamond
Leominster High can thank retired legendary Hall of Fame coach Emile Johnson for those annual lofty expectations.
First things first, however.
Leominster, which has been to the CMass. semifinals in eight out of the past 10 years, must find a way to beat St. Sunday at Tivnan Field to capture its first district crown since 1996.
"It's starts with coach Johnson," Barnaby said. "He won three state championships and won something like 15 20 games a year for over 40 years. You've got to win a state title to be measured with those teams. He set the standard so high that the kids know when you put this uniform on you expect to win a state title."
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Leominster (18 4) in the midst of a six game winning streak isn't remotely satisfied with two playoff wins, however. From day one, these Blue Devils Rolex Datejust 41 Jubilee Blue
Leominster also has a special talent one of the best players in Central Mass. in senior Neil O'Connor. The hard throwing right hander delivered for the Blue Devils Rolex Datejust 36 Blue Dial
just like every season talk about the end goal being a state championship in hand.
"Obviously our goals haven't been met yet, but it's important for them to take this all in and enjoy the moments, but at the same time you can't be satisfied," Leominster first year coach Rich Barnaby said.
"They don't want to see this end," said Barnaby, who has 11 seniors on the roster. "They want to finish this by doing something special. I'd love to see another state championship."
That 1996 district champion squad went on to win the state title. And, go figure, the third baseman on that team was Barnaby.
So far, the Blue Devils have been impressive with a 10 1 triumph over Shepherd Hill in a quarterfinal and a dramatic 2 1 victory over No. 4 St. John's of Shrewsbury in a semifinal Wednesday night at Tivnan Field in Worcester.
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