Central Catholic Raiders Baseball '16

Fri, Jun 03, 2016 04:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Final
Lexington 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Central Catholic 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 5

Mercuri uses arm and bat to fuel Central

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Friday, June, 03 By Kyle Gaudette

NORTH ANDOVER — With just one line, a fan in the Central Catholic student section put into words what everyone at the ball-park was thinking, "Don't worry, he's got this."

The line was directed at Central's center fielder Johandy Gonzalez as he tracked down a deep fly ball in the top of the sixth, but it might as well have been said about the Raiders starting pitcher and recently crowned MVC Player of the Year Mike Mercuri.

Mercuri threw a three-hit shutout on the mound, and No. 6 Central (13-8) used a four-run first inning to beat No. 11 Lexington (12-11) 5-0 at Merrimack College in the first round of the Division 1 North playoffs.

"I was feeling pretty good tonight," said Mercuri. "My curveball was working well and the fastball was pretty good too."

"[Mercuri's] a big game player," said Central head coach Marc Pelletier. "He's not afraid of the bright lights. He's a threat at the plate and a threat on the bases, and we kept him under 90 pitches today and shut down a really good offense."

Mercuri almost hit it out of the stadium twice, going 2 for 2 with a double and a triple and two runs scored. His double to left in the third inning one-hopped the 335-foot wall, while his triple in the fifth inning sent Lexington center fielder Michael Battista racing back to the 410-foot fence. 

After Mercuri reached on an error in the first, Dominic Keegan and Connor Suech followed with back-to-back singles to score the game's first run. Greg Margraff crushed a double to left field that score Keegan, and after a wild pitch scored Suech, Kyle Coolidge hit a sacrafice fly to center to make it 4-0 after the first inning.

Coolidge had a team-high two RBI's on the day, as he singled in Mercuri in the bottom of the sixth inning for the team's final run.

Mercuri got plenty of help from his middle infielders. Third baseman Andrew Purdy made a sensational charging, bare-handed pick and throw to first after Mercuri knocked down a hard line drive with one out in the fifth. Then with two outs and a runner at first in the top of the seventh, shortstop Noah Lucier made a diving stop to his right and threw across his body to get the force at second to end the game.

Mercuri struck out three, and only allowed one batter to get past first base after a single and a wild pitch. Lexington's Henry Potdevin got a leadoff single in the top of the fifth, but was thrown out after he slipped trying to steal second. 

"The key to Mike today was getting first-pitch strikes," said Pelletier. "Lexington never threatened past second base. The battery did a good job taking away their running game, and it's pretty tough getting thrown out at second base which quieted down their offense too."   

Central's win forces an MVC quarterfinal showdown between them and three-seeded Lawrence Monday at 4 p.m. at Lawrence HS. This will be the third meeting between the two rivals this season. Central won the first meeting 7-4, while the Lancers took the second game 6-0. 

"We know what type of baseball games they play," said Pelletier. "The last four years have been split right down the middle between us. It's a good rivalry and we'll let the chips fall where they may. But for right now we're just happy to be advancing. It's been a couple years since we've advanced a few rounds in the tournament, so I'm very happy for these seniors."

"It's a big inner-city rivalry," said the senior Mercuri. "We've played them a bunch of times and we know whose going to be pitching for them. It would feel great to end the career with a title, so we just have to keep winning."  




The scoreboard reads 5-5 over the past five years between the Lancers and Raiders.


4/27  Central  7-4

5/23  Lawrence  6-0


4/24  Lawrence  9-8

5/18  Central  2-1

6/8  Lawrence  7-6


4/18  Lawrence  6-3


4/4  Central  4-2

4/18  Lawrence 3-1


5/2  Central  5-0

5/16  Central 7-1

Game Statistics:

Division 1 First Round

Central Catholic (5): Noah Lucier ss 3-0-0, Mike Mercuri p 2-2-2, Dominic Keegan C 3-1-1, Connor Suech dh 3-1-1, Greg Margraff lf 1-1-1, Kyle Coolidge 2b 2-0-1, Steve Hajjar 1b 3-0-1, Harrison Gibbs rf 3-0-0, Andrew Purdy 3b 3-0-0, Johandy Gonzalez cf 0-0-0. Totals 23-5-7   

Lexington (0): Sal Frelick ss 3-0-2, Nico Frelick c 3-0-0, Ryan Cervone rf 3-0-0, Jack Pawloski cf/p 2-0-0, Zach Stevens 1b 3-0-0, Henry Potdevin 3b 2-0-1, Mark Jones p 3-0-0, Kazu Ebihara 2b 2-0-0, Dyland Arnold lf 2-0-0, Michael Battista cf 0-0-0. Totals 23-0-3  

RBI: Coolidge 2, Margraff, Suech

WP: Mercuri; LP: Jones

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