Winthrop coach Marc Fortier knows the luxury of having a roster loaded with seniors and underclasmen who play like seniors.

Seven seniors, six of them regulars in the starting lineup, have led the Ramblers (16-2) this far — the Western Class C championship game (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, St. Joseph’s College). Having that kind of experience on the field can make a coach’s job a lot easier.

St. Dominic (14-5) isn’t quite as senior laden, but it does have several seniors who are not strangers to Mahaney Diamond and came up through the ranks learning the ins and outs of a program that has punched a ticket to Standish in 12 of the last 13 years.

That should make for an intriguing regional final. Both teams follow the lead of the expected starting pitchers — Winthrop’s Ben Allen and St. Dom’s Mike Bryant — both seniors. Both are staff aces, although Bryant did miss part of the season with a hamstring injury.

Allen, a lefthander, has been the Ramblers’ ace but hasn’t had to be a workhorse because Fortin keeps his pitchers on a strict one-start-per-week regimen. Still, there’s no one Winthrop’s coach would rather give the ball to on Wednesday.

“Somebody said ‘How did you sleep last night,’ and I said, ‘Pretty good. I always sleep pretty good when I know Benny’s on the mound,'” Fortier said after Winthrop held on to beat No. 6 Monmouth 9-8 in the semifinals.”He’s a pretty solid competitor.”

“It’s not just Ben,” he added. “It’s a pretty solid team.”

Indeed, the Ramblers have played solid all-around baseball all year. Perhaps more important, they have enough mileage on them to know the consequences when they don’t.

An example of that came in Saturday’s semifinal, when they made four errors which led to five unearned runs.

Senior Dakota Carter sets the tone for the Ramblers behind the plate. The keystone combination of senior Adam Hachey at second base and sophomore Jacob Hickey is strong, having turned some key double plays. The outfield of Bennett Brooks in left, Matt Sekerak in center and Matt Ingram or Ben Caprera in right is capable of chasing down outs at Mahaney Diamond that would be hits for others.

But Winthrop’s biggest strength is the offense, which can do damage in any part of the lineup.

“We have eight (hitting) above .300 and Jacob’s knocking on the door at .282, so we feel pretty good with the lineup,” Fortier said.

The Ramblers cranked out 13 hits in their 8-2 quarterfinal win over Hall-Dale, then nine more against Monmouth. Hachey, the No. 9 hitter, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in each game. No. 3 hitter Mario Meucci was 5-for-8 with two triples three RBIs and four runs scored.

Winthrop won the only regular-season confrontation with the Saints, 7-4 on May 8. That was when Bryant was sidelined. The Ramblers expect him to be front-and-center Wednesday.

“It appears that’s what we’ll see and he’s a quality pitcher, so we’ll have our work cut out for us,” Fortier said.

The Saints haven’t bashed the ball like the Ramblers this year, but they do have a knack for getting timely hits and making opponents pay for giving them extra outs. Bryant, Ray Mosca, Mitch Lorenz, Caleb Labrie and Gavin Bates are their top hitters.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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