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Franklin scores Super 8 championship-winning run on suicide squeeze in ninth to beat Central

BROCKTON - After Central Catholic's Super 8 run last year ended after three games, coach Marc Pelletier made one point abundantly clear: This was the new precedent.

The program, which was making its first appearance a year ago, should strive to get back to the elite dance every year.

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Baseball, 06/20/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central Catholic 16, B.C. High 9

BROCKTON — Pitching is undoubtedly important. But sometimes it just pays off if you can hit the stuffing out of the ball.
 
That’s exactly what Central Catholic did yesterday afternoon against top-seeded Boston College High School in the Super 8 loser’s bracket final. The Raiders pounded out 21 hits and scored a whopping 16 runs to take down the Eagles, 16-9, to advance to the program’s first Super 8 final.
 
No. 4 Central (18-6) will play No. 7 Franklin — the team that send them to the loser’s bracket on Thursday in devastating fashion — on Monday at 7 p.m. at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium.
 
The Raiders, who have one loss in the double-elimination tournament, will need to beat Franklin twice to take home the Super 8. A potential Game 2 of the championship is not set, but is speculated to be on Saturday if necessary.
“As low as we were losing a one-run game to Franklin, it might have been the practice of their lives yesterday,” said Central coach Marc Pelletier. “It was an emotional practice. We fixed a couple of things, and the kids played just clean baseball today.
“You tell me 48 hours ago that we’re going to get 21 hits against a team with the caliber of pitching staff of BC High, I’d tell you that you’re absolutely crazy.”
While all 11 batters that Central sent to the plate on Saturday registered a hit, the offense was fueled by Steve Hajjar.
The stud lefty pitcher committed to Michigan has been unable to throw during the Super 8 due to tendinitis in his left forearm, but is still swinging a hot bat.
He went 4 for 6 with a triple, two doubles and four RBIs, getting the Raiders off to a 2-0 lead after the first inning and a 4-0 lead after four.
“I was seeing the ball really well,” said Hajjar. “I think it helped because we saw them a couple of days ago, those pitchers that they had, and yeah everyone was hitting today.
“I’m so proud of the team for how we were able to bounce back from that tough loss the other game and just come out today ready to play.” 
While the Raiders were tight in their loss to Franklin, they handled any adversity hurled their way on Saturday.
When the Eagles (18-7) scored in the bottom of the sixth to make it 4-1, Central answered a run in the top of the sixth.
When Luke Murphy brought the Eagles to within 5-4 with a bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the sixth, the Raiders responded with four runs in the top of the seventh — highlighted by a Noah Lucier double.
Leading 9-5 after seven, Central scored five more runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Raiders batted around in both the seventh and eighth inning.
While the top of Central’s order is as potent as it comes, Lucier (1 for 3, 3 RBIs) was part of a bottom half that had a field day. Sean Thompson had two hits out of the No. 7 spot, No. 8 hitter Mike Pierro had a double and, most important of all, No. 9 hitter Mike LeFebre went 3 for 5 with a game-high five RBIs.
“I think a lot of times a lot of us at the bottom of the order get a lot of guys at the top rolling,” said LeFebre.
With the bottom of the lineup hitting, and with stalwarts Hajjar, Dom Keegan (3 for 4, double) and Michael Borrelli (3 for 6, 4 RBIs) in the middle, there is no easy out in Central’s order.
And don’t forget about starter Thompson. The lefty had a no-hitter through four, and finished the day going 5.2 innings with four earned runs and 10 strikeouts.
With Hajjar shelved on the mound, and trusty relievers Aidan Abernathy and Lucier unavailable after pitching Thursday, the Raiders turned to junior Jonathan Montanile and sophomore Ryan Semenetz to finish the game. Both hadn’t pitched an inning in the Super 8 prior to Saturday. 
“What more can you say about Sean Thompson,” said Pelletier. 
Everyone knew how talented Central was entering the season.
But to be in the Super 8 championship was still coming as a shock to the Raiders after Saturday’s final out had been recorded.
“I really hoped to be in the Super 8 final,” said Hajjar. “But I can’t say I expected it though. This has been a great journey through the Super 8, but we just want to keep it going.
“Two more games.”
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Baseball, 06/16/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Andover had it ... then gave it away

WALTHAM — The game was only about 20 minutes old and it felt like Andover High was headed to the Div. 1 North semifinals.

The Golden Warriors led 7-zip. And team ace Cedric Gillette, who hadn't lost to a team this spring not named Central Catholic, had mowed through the first inning like he had so many times before.

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Baseball, 06/12/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Keegan, Lucier carry Central to Super 8 semifinal

BROCKTON - Finally, after all of these years, the age old question has finally been answered: Is Noah Lucier afraid of pressure, or is pressure afraid of Noah Lucier?

The answer: It's pressure that should be afraid.

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Baseball, 06/09/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Keane brilliant, but Knights fall

North Andover's Sebastian Keane struck out 15 over seven one-hit, shutout innings, but the No. 7 Scarlet Knights dropped a heartbreaker to No. 10 Burlington, 2-0 in eight innings in the Division 1 North first round. Keane also led the Knights with two hits.

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Baseball, 06/07/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lawrence falls short

Lawrence's Jairo Vasquez threw a complete-game four-hitter, but the No. 10 Lancers lost to No. 7 Peabody 3-1 in the Division 1 North first round. 

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Baseball, 06/07/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Royals shut out Matignon

The Georgetown baseball team rode a pair of terrific pitching performances to an 11-0 win over Matignon in the first round of the Division 4 North tournament. Kyle Greenler struck out 10 and allowed just one hit over five shutout innings, and Jason Bellefuielle finished the job with two scoreless innings of his own. Meanwhile, Jacob Adamsky went 4 for 4 with three RBIs, and the Royals put up 13 hits in total, breaking things wide open with seven runs in the fifth inning. Georgetown (13-8) now faces top-seeded Lowell Catholic in the Division 4 North quarterfinals on Monday at 4 p.m.

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Baseball, 06/07/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Bedford 14, Salem 4

Bedford jumped on Salem early, real early, and cruised to a 14-4 win in five innings Saturday in the Division 1 baseball state quarterfinals. The 20-1 Bulldogs scored 11 runs in the top of the first and were never challenged. Jake Emerson had two hits, a run and an RBI for the Blue Devils.

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Baseball, 06/03/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Outright champs

Whittier beat Greater Lawrence, 7-4, to clinch CAC Large title outright over Greater Lowell. Will Carpenter went 6.2 innings and Matt Michel put out the fire with the bases loaded, getting a game-ending groundout. Joey Santiago drove in three for the 16-2 Cats.

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Baseball, 06/03/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Remarkable Runge

Asa Runge had a remarkable day to lead No. 3 Pinkerton baseball to a 10-6 win over No. 11 Keene in the Division 1 quarterfinals. The sophomore went 4 for 4 at the plate with a grand slam and six RBIs, then came on to pitch the final two innings to send the Astros (17-4) to the next round.

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Baseball, 06/02/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pythons push champs to limit

Pelham was three times just one strike away from pulling the huge upset over No. 1 ranked Portsmouth (16-1). But the defending Division 2 champs got a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the seventh, then walked-off a 7-6 quarterfinals win when the next batter beat out an infield single. It was still a fantastic effort by the ninth-seeded Pythons (9-9), who got a 2 for 3 from Diggy Lawson and a 2 for 4 day from Matt Poff.

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Baseball, 06/02/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Four straight for Central

The moral of this story is that anytime you need a win to clinch the MVC Large title outright, send Steve Hajjar to the mound. The senior lefty got it done with an efficient shutout of Andover on just 79 pitches with 12 Ks to lead the Raiders to a 4-0 victory and their fourth straight Large title. All four years they've won it, Hajjar has been on the mound to clinch it.

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Baseball, 06/02/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Windham loses duel

Ryan Faria pitched six innings and allowed just two earned runs, but it wasn't enough as No. 7 Windham fell to Goffstown 3-1 in the Division 2 quarterfinals. Connor Hujsak struck out 11 over seven innings for the second-seeded Grizzles (16-3). The Jaguars end their season 11-7.

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Baseball, 06/02/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Salem 2, Timberlane 1

DEVILS DOWN OWLS, ADVANCE TO QUARTERS

BY JEFF HAMRICK

sports@eagletribune.com

PLAISTOW — The Salem baseball squad once again earned its berth in the Division 1 quarterfinals. The Blue Devils now look to avoid the troubles associated with that round.

Scoring the winning run with two outs in the sixth, ninth-seeded Salem knocked off Timberlane 2-1 in the first round of the New Hampshire playoffs Thursday afternoon. The Devils (11-8) will play at top-seeded Bedford (19-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs, who dropped a 3-2 decision last week to Pinkerton, knocked off Salem 7-5 on May 5.

"We're just going to be in it the whole game," said second baseman Jake Emerson, who is part of a senior class that has lost in the quarters each year. "We have to play like a team and have each other's backs. I think, we really have a chance this year. We had the bases loaded a couple times (against Bedford), but we just couldn't get them in."

It was Emerson who had the key hit against Timberlane (10-9). After the Owls tied the game in the fifth, Matt Soldano started the winning rally with a walk and stolen base. Emerson, who had grounded out his previous two at bats, lashed a single to center, easily scoring the speedy Soldano.

"I was obviously just looking for something to drive," Emerson said. "(Timberlane pitcher Ryan Bourque) kept throwing them outside, so I was looking to hit the other way (in earlier at bats). But I just sort of topped it a couple times."

Soldano also used his legs to score Salem's first run, leading off the game with a walk. After advancing to second on a grounder, Soldano stole third and scored on a Brandon Wall ground ball.

"It was aggressive base running to get to third where a ground ball could get him in," Salem coach Dan Kelleher said. "It doesn't seem like much at the time, but it turns out to be key."

The Devils received solid defense with double-play grounders in the first and second while outfielders Trevor Deminico and Corey Cochran hauled in a pair of tough running grabs. Starting pitcher Andrew Shumski allowed two hits over three innings while Matt Bergeron struck out five and gained the win, throwing the final four.

Timberlane, which tied the score in the fifth when Christian Allaire's single drove in Lucas Harmon, had three double plays in support of Bourque, who went the distance, allowing only four hits in the loss.

'It was a great high school baseball game," said Timberlane coach Jamie Fish, whose team was held to one run or fewer for the ninth time. "You couldn't ask for a better played game on defense. There was wonderful pitching for both teams. They just did a little more on offense than we did. "We just couldn't scrape enough hits, and that's been our problem."

Kelleher isn't sure who he's sending to the mound against Bedford, but he hopes his squad can at least duplicate the nine-hit performance in the season's earlier match up to break the run of quarterfinal losses in each of the past four seasons.

"We never talk about (the losses)," said Kelleher, in his 22nd year at the Devils' helm. "But before (the current run) we hadn't lost a quarterfinal game ... We're going to see (Bedford's) best. We didn't see they're best before, but we saw some pretty good pitching from them and we didn't back down."



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Baseball, 05/31/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pitcher's duel to Windham

Tyler Toohey and Ryan Faria combined on a one-hitter, leading No. 7 Windham past No. 10 Pelham 3-0 in the Division 2 first round. 
 
Toohey allowed one hit in 5.2 innings, striking out nine and earning the win. Faria picked up the save, going 1.1 innings of perfect relief. They out-dueled Sanborn's Chris Hanna, who allowed just two hits and two earned runs in a complete game. 
 
Tommy Langlois and Jojo Gallo each drove in a run for Windham, which will next travel to No. 2 Goffstown on Saturday at 4 p.m.
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Baseball, 05/31/18 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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