Central Catholic Raiders Baseball '22

Sun, Jun 05, 2022 01:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Final
Lowell 0 1 0 0 0 1
Central Catholic 0 9 1 6 0 16

Florence, Central roll in opener

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HAVERHILL – Central Catholic certainly picked the right day to have its best couple innings of the season.

The 11th-seeded Raiders twice batted around Sunday afternoon at Northern Essex Community College in their Division 1 Round of 32, pounding No. 22 Lowell 16-1.

After spotting Lowell a run in the top of the second, Central scored nine in the bottom of the inning and added six in the fourth to quickly put away the visitors. The Raiders previous high was 14 runs against Lawrence in April.

“I think that’s fair to say (it was our best innings),” Central coach John Sexton said about his squad’s massive frames. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

With five hits, three walks, an error and two fielder’s choices, each of the first 10 Raiders reached base in the second inning, and all nine players crossed the plate. Ryan Cloutier delivered the biggest blow with a two-run double into the right-field alley.

Jack Savio and Charlie Antonopoulos, who made a couple nice defensive plays at third, each had an RBI single while Jeremy Delacruz and Kyle Bishop each drew bases-loaded walks. Kyle Espinola and Nate Kearney each drove in a run with ground balls.

“We all had a great vibe going in the dugout,” said Cloutier, who had a game-high four RBIs. “Everyone knew when they got up there they were going to do some damage. We’ve been inconsistent, but we’ve shown some flashes. It was really good to get the bats going in the first round of the playoffs.”

That was more than enough offense for sophomore Josh Florence, who won for the fifth time in seven decisions. Having had a week off since the regular-season finale, Sexton had his full pitching arsenal available.

Both the senior Cloutier, who earned a no decision in an earlier loss to Lowell, and junior Francisco Melendez, who struck out 10 in a shutout victory over Lowell on May 20, were fresh. But Sexton didn’t hesitate going with the youngster.

“Lowell is a very good team and they had seen Cloutier for an extended outing and Melendez in a complete game,” Sexton said. “They both pitched well against them, and I wasn’t crazy about them getting another look at either of those guys. Josh has had a very solid year. He’s a strike thrower and a competitor. I felt good about him starting the game today.”

The sophomore was up to the challenge, allowing only a first-inning hit to a batter who then was doubled up. Florence walked two, struck out four and had only two balls hit out of the infield in his four innings.

“We were all fully loaded (to pitch), but I was lucky enough to get the start,” Florence said. “We were all prepared and we had a lot of arms behind me. But I thought I was very ready for this moment.”


Lowell’s run in the second came after a leadoff walk was followed by a ground out and wild pitch then a ground out that shortstop Jeremy Delacruz nicely handled up the middle for an out that scored the run.

“I was just pounding the strike zone and getting ahead,” Florence said. “I wanted to locate the first pitch and attack hitters. It was definitely nice to get those runs. In between innings I would toss a little bit. My focus each time was to just throw the first one and then it’ll play out. That was my thought process.”

Andrew Lesofsky threw the final inning, striking out three on 15 pitches.

Central (15-8) added a run in the third on a Cloutier fielder’s choice. The Raiders sent 12 to the plate in a fourth inning that featured doubles by Espinola and Delacruz, a two-run single by Bishop and RBI singles from Cloutier and Brady Rickenbach.

“The pitching for the most part in 23 games has been pretty good almost all the way through,” Sexton said. “The defense has been pretty good almost all the way through. The offense has come and gone in spurts and starts. Obviously today was a good offensive day for us.”

In the round of 16, Central will play the winner of today’s game between No. 6 St. John’s (12-8) and No. 27 Algonguin (10-10) at a time to be determined. The higher seed will play host.

Game Statistics:

Lowell (1): Declan Silva ss/p 2-0-0, Kiernan Foyle rf 1-0-1, Jayden Villanueva cf 2-0-0, Joe Auger dh 1-0-0, Rivera 3b 0-0-0, Ben Kotsifas lf 2-0-0, Jack Aylward 1b/3b 2-0-0, Stevan Betty p 1-0-0, Caden Smith p/1b 0-0-0, Matt Desroches p 0-0-0, Descherieaux p 0-0-0, Javen Abreu 3b 1-0-0, Ethan Chanthompalit c 1-0-0, Kyle Frechette ph 1-0-0, Omar Carvajal 2b 1-0-0. Totals 15-1-1

Central Catholic (16): Kyle Espinola 2b 4-2-2, Tyler Gavriel 2b 0-0-0, Nate Kearney 1b 3-1-1, Jaiden LeDuc 1b 0-0-0, Ryan Cloutier rf 4-2-2, Jack Savio dh 3-1-1, Tyler Normandie lf 3-1-1, Brady Rickenback c 3-0-3, Jake Bartlett c 0-0-0, Charlie Antonopoulos 3b 3-2-2, Jeremy Delaceruz ss 3-2-1, Luke Maresca ss 0-0-0, Kyle Bishop cf 1-3-1, Brendan Ferris cr/cf 0-2-0. Totals 27-16-14

RBI: Lowell — Aylward; CC — Cloutier 4, Rickenbach 3, Kearney 2, Rickenbach 2, Delacruz 2, Espinola, Savio, Antonopoulos

WP: Josh Florence 5-2 (4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER 2 BB, 4 SO) Also: Andrew Lesofsky (1,0,0,0,0,3); LP: Betty

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