Brett Hilton's path toward earning more playing time as a junior for St. Francis came at the expense of St. Joe's.
During that regular-season victory, Hilton's pinch-hit, two-run homer proved to be the game-winner. It also proved to be the shot that put him in position not just for more playing time but also in a spot to deliver quite possibly the biggest hit of his career Tuesday afternoon.
Hilton's single up the middle with two-on, two-outs in the bottom of the seventh plated Michael Hartman from second and enabled the Red Raiders to walk off Coca-Cola Field as Georgetown Cup champion following a 1-0 triumph over St. Joe's.
Hilton's single capped the lone big inning of a game of this pitcher's duel before an estimated 600. It also ended the Marauders' quest at back-to-back Georgetown Cup championships as St. Francis captured the best-of-3 series via two-game sweep. It's the Red Raiders' first Cup victory since 2015.
"Once I saw the hit go through … I was just filled with joy and adrenaline," Hilton said. "I can't even describe it."
"It's awesome," added winning pitcher Gavin Krawiec, who limited the St. Joe's to four hits and struck out five.
St. Francis pounded the ball during its semifinal series win over Canisius but hits were harder to come by in the championship series. The constant for the Red Raiders against the Marauders was their pitching and defense as St. Francis limited St. Joe's to just one run over two games.
The Maruaders lost a series in which their pitchers yielded just four runs, including Elliot Widenor's gem Tuesday in which he scattered five hits and yielded just the one run.
"Great pitching battle," St. Joe's coach Paul Nasca said. "It's as good of a baseball game as you could find. Two guys threw the heck out of it. They were great."
Krawiec made perhaps the defensive gem of the game in the top seventh. With one on, the Marauders tried to move the base runner into scoring position via sacrifice bunt. Krawiec threw a high, fast one that Jack Haxton popped up. Krawiec made a diving catch and then threw to first to complete the double play.
"We just didn't get one across," Nasca said. "It was kind of the story of the playoffs."
Hilton also's part of the story.
While a championship game, walk-off hit is unforgettable it does beg the question?
It that his favorite moment, or is it that two-run blast that resulted in him earning more playing time.
"They were both pretty big but I'd have to go with this," Hilton said. "Walk off in the seventh to finish the sweep for the Georgetown Cup definitely feels pretty good."