The Olympic/Colonial appeared ready to continue a difficult pattern in the Carpenter Cup baseball tournament.
Even though the Olympic/Colonial has won a record five Carpenter Cup titles, the franchise entered this season's 25th edition having lost eight consecutive first-round games.
And when the team trailed, 9-5, to fellow South Jersey foe Tri-Cape with two outs and a runner on third base in the top of the ninth inning, the dubious streak appeared ready to continue.
That was before the Olympic/Colonial put together one of the great comebacks in Carpenter Cup history, eventually tying the score on a three-run home run by Bishop Eustace's John Litz and getting the lead run on an attempted double steal that was aided by an error.
It resulted in an eventual 10-9 win at F.D.R. Park's Ashburn Field after Haddon Township's Ryan Easterday pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to earn the save.
"Anything is possible, and that is why they give you 27 outs," said Washington Township catcher Nick Favatella, who doubled and scored the sixth run with two outs in the ninth on a wild pitch.
That was not a misprint.
Favatella, The Inquirer's South Jersey player of the year, is usually a shortstop but caught because the team had a shortage in that area.
After Favatella scored to cut the lead to 9-6, Cherry Hill East's Dante Cassano (2 for 2 with 2 RBIs) beat out an infield hit, and Eastern's Eric Oliver singled, putting runners on first and second.
Litz tied the score with a three-run home run to left field.
"I saw a lot of sliders my previous at-bat and got a hanging slider and put a good swing on it," Litz said.
Camden County Tech's Wilson Ulloa, an Inquirer second-team all-South Jersey selection, then doubled and advanced to third when Winslow Township's Robert Humes reached base on an error.
Humes then purposely got himself in a rundown between first and second, drew a throw and saw Ulloa dart home for the lead run after an error by the second baseman on the throw home.
"Everybody came together in that last inning," Oliver said.
The Tri-Cape was hampered a bit because Cumberland's Darren Fischer was unable to pitch and Clearview's Shane Taylor was already attending summer classes at the University of North Carolina.
Fischer, a 46th-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Angels, was unable to pitch because he had thrown a bullpen session for an Angels scout on Sunday.
"I would have loved to pitch, but I threw a long session, and I couldn't pitch," Fischer said.
Lost in the defeat was the performance of Hammonton's Nick Crescenzo, a Rider recruit who played third base and was 4 for 4 with two runs scored.
"It's a tough way to lose," said Holy Spirit coach Keith Gorman, who guided the Tri-Cape. "We had two outs, and we just didn't close the door."
Olympic/Colonial 002 010 205 - 10 14 4
Tri-Cape 131 004 000 - 9 9 3
WP: Ryan Shellock. LP: Issac Gonzalez. 2B: OC-Greg Brodzinski, Nick Favatella, Jim Yezzo, Mike McGee, Wilson Ulloa; TC-Nick Crescenzo. HR: OC-John Litz