The Barnstable Patriot
December 30, 2106
Hearts of Lions
St. John Paul II baseball three-peats
By Mike Richard firstname.lastname@example.org
No team from Central or Eastern Mass. had ever won three consecutive state baseball titles.
No team, that is, until the St. John Paul II squad of coach Mark Santos turned the trick last June.
The Lions defeated Oxford in the Division 4 championship game 8-7 to become only the third team in state baseball history to three-peat as champions.
The only other teams to win three consecutive state titles were Western Mass. teams – Chicopee (196163) and Springfield Tech (1968-70).
The Lions closed out their amazing season with a 25-1 record, with a 6-5 regular season loss to Division 1 South champion Silver Lake the squad’s only blemish.
Led by senior pitching ace Joe Oriola, with classmates second baseman Jake Good, right fielder Johnny Warden, center fielder Eric Del Rosso, shortstop Bobby Higgins and Kyle Coolidge, the Lions knocked off Lowell Catholic in the state semifinals.
“It was quite a ride,” said Santos, who has been the only baseball coach in school’s history. “Our goal at the outset of the year was to put ourselves in a position to defend the (state) title.”
It has been an amazing run for a school that is not yet a decade old.
And all this is from a school that is not yet even a decade old.
In 2007, Pope John Paul II (as it was called at the time) moved into the old Barnstable High School on High School Road in Hyannis. The baseball team didn’t make its debut until 2011.
In that first season of 2011, the Lions went 13-7 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. The next year they finished 18-3 and lost in the second round.
The 2013 edition of the Lions advanced to the state finals, losing 1-0 to Lowell Catholic allowing the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to close at 23-3.
From there, it was backto- back state titles and undefeated seasons. The 2014 team went 25-0 and blanked Hopkins Academy in the state title game, 3-0. Then in 2015, the Lions were 24-0 and topped Smith Academy, 8-6 in the title tilt.
Despite the departure of those six talented seniors, the Lions return a slew of players who have “been there-done that” before.
Catcher Shay Souza and twins Cole and Keith Campbell will lead a nucleus of players who will set their sights on a run at a possible fourth straight state championship this coming spring.
Contact Mike Richard at mikerichard0725@gmail. com