This is how he imagined it ending.
Evan Brydon has led the Lowell baseball team in a number of key offensive and pitching statistical categories this season, helped the team to a perfect run through the Academic Athletic Association schedule and led it to a second consecutive San Francisco Section championship.
In Game 2of the Transbay Series against Skyline of Oakland on Tuesday at Benedetti Diamond, the senior came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, a runner on third and the Cardinals needing one run to win the title. Brydon delivered a ground single through the right side to seal the 4-3 victory and had time to pump his fist and fling his helmet in celebration before being mobbed by his teammates.
Lowell (26-6-1) swept the Titans for the title, and the Cardinals earned revenge after Skyline beat them in two games last year.
“I think that’s the way everybody wants to end their career,” Brydon said. “It felt pretty good to have a dog pile in front of their dugout.”
Brydon — who went 2-for-4 — was also the winning pitcher, allowing just one earned run in a complete-game effort for his 10th victory against one defeat this season. The left-hander allowed six hits, struck out three and walked none while throwing 57 strikes in 84 pitches.
“He got all our toughest games,” Lowell coach John Donahue said of Brydon. “He always came through.”
All season, Donahue has heaped praise on a group of 10 seniors who led the team. And while many of the usual suspects — Brydon, designated hitter Max Schumm (2-for-3), shortstop Max Newman (1-for-4, several nice defensive plays) — came through, it was former team manager Otto Cardona who scored the winning run.
After the 5-foot-5, 120-pound senior was cut last season, he kept the book, cleaned up and “did whatever the coaches needed me to” while practicing with the team. He earned a spot on the varsity this year and was called on to pinch-run Tuesday when Adam Berke reached first to lead off the seventh after a wild pitch following a strikeout. Cardona advanced to second on another wild pitch, went to third on a groundout and scored on Brydon’s hit.
“My heart was pounding out there, but I settled down and I knew I’d do whatever it took to score,” Cardona said. “And crossing that plate was about the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Skyline (18-7) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Cardinals battled back with single runs in the first, second and fifth to go ahead 3-1. The Titans drew even with two unearned runs in the top of the sixth as Moises Espinosa delivered an RBI single and Tyler Mihalopoulos lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.
Lowell 4, Skyline 3
Skyline 100 002 0 — 3 6 3
Lowell 110 010 1 — 4 7 2
Leading hitters: Max Schumm (L) 2×3, Brydon (L) 2×4. HR—None.