The St. Joseph’s Manchester Crusaders are the eighth-grade CYC City/County Champions.
All the boys are 14 years old. Eight of them attend school at St. Joseph Catholic School in Manchester while five of the remaining six are parishioners who attend local public schools, with one boy attending St. Alban Roe in Wildwood.
“This is the first year all the boys have played together on one team,” manager Jeff Dacus said. “Many of them have played together over the years on different teams but not for CYC. Prior to the season, several of the boys asked if they could form a CYC team for their eighth-grade year and all play on one team.”
During the regular season, the boys went 8-1. The Crusaders scored 138 runs while only allowing 21. They won the West County Division of the CYC baseball league and that allowed them to represent West County in the CYC City/County playoffs.
“Going into the tournament we knew it would be tough to win the championship as there were many good teams in it,” Dacus said. “Once we found out that we would be playing St. Catherine Laboure in the first round – the defending champion and undefeated this year – we knew the task was even tougher. Fortunately we played very well in the opening round and made it to the semifinals.”
The Crusaders beat the defending champs 15-9 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, St. Joseph’s Manchester played well, beating the St. Charles champion, Immaculate Conception Dardenne, 14-4.
In the championship game, the Crusaders bested St. Simon 5-3.
“In the finals we didn’t play as well, not hitting the ball like we had been and had several errors that resulted in unearned runs being scored,” Dacus said. “Our pitcher in the championship game had a very good game that kept us in it.
“In the championship game, the MVP for our team was Joey Baumann. Joey struck out 15 of St. Simon’s batters while only giving up two hits.”
Dacus said the win capped off a solid summer for the team.
“It was a great season for not only the boys but for the coaches and parents as well,” Dacus said. “It was fun to watch them play together. They were great sports throughout the season and played well as one unit. It is a great group of boys, and I am glad they were able to play together and win the championship to end their eighth-grade year.”