By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published March 1, 2012
On a balmy, February winter afternoon, the St. Pius X High School baseball team christened its new field, the Seaver Family Sports Complex, on the first day of the 2012 season with a 2-1 victory over Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell.
In the school’s 53-year history, it was the baseball team’s first home game on its campus. In recent years the team has played all its home games at Oglethorpe University.
The Feb. 20 game was preceded by opening day festivities: remarks by St. Pius X Principal Steve Spellman, an opening prayer by the athletic director, Mark Kelly, an aerial flyover and a ceremonial first pitch. The concession stand also served up free hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn.
Taking off from nearby DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Andy May, a 1974 graduate, conducted a flyover with a fellow pilot in an American Champion Decathlon single engine airplane.
The ceremonial first pitch was actually a series of three pitches, the first by Jim Seaver, the second by Marty Flanagan, and the third by Jay Wolverton. Seaver and his wife graduated in 1964 and their son in 1995. Through the family’s generous efforts they provided a great deal of financial support to the school’s “Expanding Our Legacy” Capital Campaign and the sports complex is named in their honor. Flanagan is a current St. Pius parent and was one of the parent leaders of the capital campaign. Wolverton is also a current St. Pius parent and the president of Wolverton & Associates, the company who designed the sports complex.
In addition to the synthetic turf baseball diamond, which was dedicated and blessed last August, the sports complex also includes a synthetic turf multipurpose field.
Once the game got underway, Blessed Trinity starting pitcher Keenan Innis led off the game with a double off St. Pius starting pitcher Chad Mabini. Catcher C.J. Brazil followed up with a single to put runners on the corners. When second baseman Jeff Sidlovsky came up to face Mabini, he hit a sacrifice fly ball to the outfield, which brought the first run in and gave Blessed Trinity a 1-0 lead.
Over the next two and half innings, both starting pitchers held their opponents scoreless with the help of those playing in the field behind them. St. Pius second baseman Jack Pelt was hit by a pitch to start off the bottom half of the fourth inning. When Mabini came up, the third batter in the order, he hit a double to bring in the tying run.
The score remained tied until the final inning of the game when St. Pius senior, right fielder Jake Delany, knocked in the game winning run off a 3-2 fastball.
“It feels good to drive home the winning run in the inaugural home game at our new stadium because I was struggling earlier in the game. When I went up to bat, mentally I kept telling myself, see the ball, hit the ball,” said Delany.
It was a day of mixed emotions for Blessed Trinity head coach Andy Harlin. Before taking over the coaching reins at Blessed Trinity in 2003, Harlin was the head baseball coach at St. Pius for eight years.
“It was very exciting to be a part of that atmosphere, especially against such a good team like St. Pius X. It had a playoff feel to it, and it was very special to be a part of their first home game in school history,” said Harlin. “That was the most exciting opening day game we have ever been a part of, no doubt. The fact that it was two great Catholic schools playing on a beautiful day, at a new facility, definitely planted some memories.”