When Brian Flacco hit a ground ball to third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday, he might have made the last out of his career.
He didn't let that happen.
"Somebody else might have been nonchalant, and the game would have been over," Audubon coach Rich Horan said. "That's not Brian. He busted it down the line and beat it out."
It was just an infield single for Flacco, who has collected more than 100 hits as a three-year starter for the Green Wave. But it was a defining moment for the three-sport athlete who is nearing the end of an accomplished career.
"I thought, 'Oh, no, I'm going to make the last out of the season,' " Flacco said. "I didn't want that to happen."
Flacco beat the baseball to first base, driving in the tying run in Audubon's remarkable rally from an 8-3 deficit in the South Jersey Group 1 championship game against Pennsville. The Green Wave won, 9-8, in eight innings to advance to Tuesday's state semifinal against Florence at Rider.
"That's Audubon baseball," Flacco said. "We're never going to give up."
Flacco, the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, has come to personify Audubon sports during his career. He was an all-South Jersey football player in the fall, rushing for 1,159 yards and 16 touchdowns as a running back and making 171 tackles and forcing 11 fumbles as a linebacker. He was a two-time district champion as a wrestler with a 110-34 career mark.
Baseball is his No. 1 game. Flacco was hitting .402 with 33 runs, six doubles, and six triples at the start of the state tournament. He hit a leadoff homer in a semifinal victory over Haddon Township and drove in the tying run in the sectional title game.
"He's a gamer," Horan said. "He doesn't get worked up. He keeps the status quo. But he's always going to play hard."
Flacco is quiet, almost laconic. He keeps his emotions in check. But he said he senses the importance of this time of the season, especially for the seniors who were members of the Audubon team that lost in the Group 2 state final last season.
"We saw how tough that was on the seniors last year," Flacco said. "We definitely don't want to do that again."
Flacco plans to attend Catonsville Community College in Catonsville, Md., next season to play baseball and live with his brother Mike, who plays for the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Baltimore Orioles' single-A farm team. Mike Flacco, who was drafted by the Orioles in the 31st round in 2009, is batting .281 with 29 RBIs in 43 games as a first baseman.
Brian Flacco is the last member of his accomplished family to play for Audubon, as his younger brother, Tom, is an emerging football and baseball star as a freshman at Camden Catholic.
So these last days of the baseball season signal an end of an era in Audubon.
"It's kind of sad," Flacco said. "But not too much. I know I'll always be around and come back and see how these teams are doing."