Saturday, June 9, 2018

Keegan Powers Central Catholic to Super Eight Semifinals

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Staring at a trip to the Super Eight semifinals, Central Catholic’s biggest star came through in the game’s biggest moment.

With No. 4 Central Catholic and top-seeded BC High knotted at three in the top of the seventh, Raiders’ catcher Dominic Keegan belted a go-ahead home run to center field as part of a 4-for-4 day at the plate. In the bottom of the ninth, the Raiders held off a BC High rally with Noah Lucier stranding a pair as Central Catholic defeated BC High, 7-5, in a Super Eight Quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon at Campanelli Stadium.

Central Catholic will take on Franklin in the Super Eight semifinals on Wednesday night. BC High falls to the one-loss bracket and will play Wachusett on Tuesday night.

“These games are an absolute marathon," said Central Catholic coach Marc Pelletier. "When Dom threw that ball over the centerfield fence that was a shot for us. He just picked us up. He led us offensively today."

The Raiders trailed 3-1 after four innings, but came back to the tie the game in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Mike Pierro and an RBI double from Lucier.

BC High starter John MacDonald (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 Ks) required just 12 pitches to get through the sixth, but due to total pitch count was removed to begin the seventh inning.

Once in the Eagles’ bullpen, Central took control. Facing BC High reliever Tim Albert, Keegan fell behind in the count 0-2. Albert’s ensuing fastball bled back over the middle of the plate and Keegan crushed it to dead centerfield for a solo shot to put Central Catholic on top 4-3.

“First pitch I saw was a changeup and my weight was forward so I had to adjust my swing,” recalled Keegan. “Next pitch was a fastball and I just missed it, and I did not see anything else before it so I was just sitting fastball and got ahold of it. I was just trying to hit a single.

The Raiders added insurance later in the inning with Lucier fisting a two run single into left center and pinch-hitter Patrick Casserly grounding an RBI single to center to put Central Catholic on top 7-3.

Lot of moves worked for us today,” said Pelletier. “We’re not a one man team. We’re 2-0 in the Super Eight. That’s a credit to the kids.”

BC High got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Connor Flavin, and in the bottom of the ninth threatened putting the first two men on to bring the tying run to the plate.

Lucier, who came on in for Aiden Abernathy (2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 Ks) with one out in the seventh, rebounded to get a pair of groundball outs but Sean O’Connell hit an RBI single through the right side to pull the Eagles within 7-5.

Now facing the winning run at the plate in Luke Murphy, Lucier threw a fastball up and away inducing a soft fly out to left to cement the Raiders’ spot in the semifinals.

“This was probably one of our best days offensively,” said Keegan. “We’re happy but not satisfied. We’re heading in the right direction.”

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