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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The spring of 2018 will forever be known as the time when Needham High School baseball simply refused to die, rallying seemingly every other game throughout the MIAA Division I State Tournament until finally, their resilience and grit paid off with a state championship in dramatic fashion.
In the South semifinals against perennial power Braintree, Needham trailed 4-0 after two innings, but rallied to a 5-4 victory, thanks to a walk-off RBI infield hit by Alec Sharton. The Rockets took down arch rival Wellesley, 11-8, two days later, again coming from behind, to claim the South Sectional title.
After a 6-3 victory over Boston Latin in the state semifinals, Needham again found themselves behind, 5-1, in the Division I state championship game against St. Peter Marian entering the top of the seventh inning. Incredibly - but somewhat predictably, given their recent track record in the clutch - Needham rallied for four runs to tie the game before taking the lead in extras, thanks to an RBI double by Alex Luscher. The Rockets hung on for a 6-5 win to claim their first state title in program history.
On July 14, the Division I champion Rockets were honored in the Mecca of baseball, Fenway Park, before the start of the Red Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It seems fitting that with the comeback kids from Needham in the house, the Red Sox rallied to tie the game at two in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to an RBI double by Jackie Bradley Jr., before Xander Bogaerts belted a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the tenth.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.