Central Catholic Raiders Baseball '10

Sun, May 30, 2010 01:00 PM @ Lowell
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Final
Central Catholic 0 0 4 2 0 4 2 12
Lowell 0 2 2 0 1 0 1 6

Emotional Central claims share of MVC large

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Sunday, May, 30 By Hector Longo


LOWELL - Under Marc Pelletier in the last 24 years, Central Catholic has made bolder on-field proclamations as the boss of the Merrimack Valley Conference large division.

None have been more satisfying or more gritty.

Yesterday, Pelletier's Raiders, overlooked by most everyone in the preseason and written as a 3-6 also-ran back in April, carved up Lowell, 12-6, and sliced a chunk of championship pie for a job well done.

"It's our number one goal every year," said Pelletier, whose club at 7-6 in the league shares the title with Lowell and Andover. "We talk about a banner every day. At 3-6, everyone had us buried. Who'd have thought this."

The championship makes it three in a row for the resilient Raiders, but this one came with plenty of sweat and more than its share of tears, especially for Pelletier and his all-conference backstop/son Matt.

With tears welling up in his eyes, Marc brandished a pink Central Catholic T-shirt - one he's sported all season - a symbol of respect to his wife and Matt's mom, Eileen, who has spent the better part of the last year in her own personal fight with breast cancer.

Per usual, Eileen was fighting with her men on every pitch from the stands yesterday.

"She's as tough as a 1-2 slider. I tell her that all the time," said Marc. "And this has been, for Matt and I, our own personal fight for her."

Matt, who will play at Mass. Maritime next fall, is the one link to the three straight Central title teams.

"I think the last two years, we were pretty much expected to do it, but this year we shocked a lot of people," said Matt, who singled and doubled, driving in a pair of runs in the Raiders' 17-hit barrage.

"This team never gave up, and we never gave in. For this seniors, a lot of guys who didn't play a lot last year but stuck it out and won jobs, it's pretty special."

The Raiders got some help. Andover did itself and Central a huge favor last week by opening the door to title town with a 10-2 win over Lowell.

But Central made its own luck, too, stinging both the Warriors and Lowell twice.

It's a title the Raiders, who head to the Division 1 North tourney prelims at 11-9 overall, will savor and won't soon forget.

"The perseverance," said Marc Pelletier. "I just can't say enough about it. For these kids, to do this is really something."


Raking Raiders rap Lowell


In the end, against an all-conference arm in Lowell's Chad Gens, Central Catholic simply bludgeoned its way to victory.

Leadoff man Zach Bardwell, an all-conference junior, led the way with a single and two doubles, scoring three runs.

Connor Perry was particularly a pest in the No.2 hole, with two singles and two walks with four runs scored. Colin Walsh, Karl Mann, D.J. Swarbrick and Chris Berganti had two-hit days.

On the hill, righty Dan Shields fought through four tough innings for the win, overcoming a trio of errors behind him to leave the game with a 6-4 lead. Classmate Alex Valenti came on to work the final three for the save, delivering the knockout shot with his glove.

At 6-5 in the fifth, Lowell had runners on the corners with one out. Valenti deftly stabbed a one-hopper, spun and fired to Pelletier, trapping the runner at third.

After two throws, Valenti applied the tag then leaped across third to nail the second runner looking to move up for a miracle escape.

Smelling blood, Central piled on four more to kick-start the championship celebration in the sixth.

Game Statistics:

Central (12):  Zach Bardwell cf 5-3-3, Connor Perry dh 3-4-2, Colin Walsh 2b 4-1-2, Karl Mann 3b 5-2-2, D.J. Swarbrick rf 3-1-2, Matt Pelletier c 4-1-2, Chris Berganti lf 5-0-2, Adam Johnson 1b 5-0-1, Dan Shields p 3-0-1, Alex Valenti p 1-0-0, Brian Allen ss 0-0-0, Totals 38-12-17

Lowell (6):  Derek Reed cf 4-0-2, Padraic Donovan 2b 2-0-0, Chad Gens p 4-1-0, Jimmy Ricoy 1b 3-1-1, Matt Tulley 2b 2-1-0, R.J. Noel ph 1-1-1, Andrew Mourassa rf 2-1-1, Josh Commiskie rf 2-1-1, Costas Tingas dh 3-0-2, Matt Roberge lf 3-0-1, Robby Daly ss 3-0-1, Kyle Edwards 2b 0-0-0, totals 29-6-9

RBI: CC - Perry, Pelletier 2, Berganti 2, Swarbrick 

WP: Shields (4 ip, 2er, 6h, 1bb, 1k, 2hbp); LP:  Gens; S: Valenti (3 ip, 1er, 3h, 1bb, 1k)

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