EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

May 18, 2013

Should Central be feared?

Ignored everywhere else, red-hot Raiders rampaging through MVC

(Continued)

Look at the numbers piling up.

Cam Devanney? The sophomore lynchpin at a steady .407. His slick double-play partner, Anthony Licari? Booming at .371.

Pat Gleason, Aaron Hall, catcher Jon Parsons?

“It seems like every day someone else is stepping up and catching up,” said Devanney. “It starts with our team chemistry. Maybe we’re not the best, most talented team out there, but we pick each other up and it works.”

But how long will it work?

Even Central can’t be sure. The Raiders have feasted on an average at-best MVC. Of the non-leaguers, only St. John’s is a power program.

And while the Eagles cold-cocked Central, it’s tough to judge, considering the Raiders ran out a No. 3 or 4 arm and the Prep put it away early.

“I believe we’re going to go pretty far,” said Abraham. “Whoever takes us out, let’s just say it’s going to take an awful lot to beat us.”

If history means anything in the North Tourney, you have to hit the baseball to win in Division 1.

Sure, there’s been the odd, pitcher-dominated seasons. Jeff Allison strapped Peabody on his back. And folks in these parts will always be reminded of the legend of Jim Hanning, who went 3-0 with a pair of saves in a spectacular Andover High run to state title glory in 1992. Most years, though, it’s a bludgeoning contest.

It should make for an interesting June on Hampshire Street.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 8, ANDOVER 3 MVC race update: If Central beats Andover Tuesday, the Raiders will share the MVC Large title with Chelmsford. Ride the big horse: For the umpteenth time this season, Andrew Hamel (5-1) delivered. The big fella rolled through six scoreless innings before tiring. He gave up nine hits and a walk, striking out three in 6.1 innings. "We absolutely expect this from him," said teammate Brady Abraham. "The score doesn't matter to him. He just goes out there and gets it done." Hit parade: Four Andover pitchers had no answer as the Raiders put up four in the third, two in the fourth and two more in the sixth. Central's 2-5 hitters were 8 for 16 with four runs and five RBIs. Well-kept secret: Central sophomore shortstop Cam Devanney should get credit as one of the top position players in EMass. His first-inning diving stop on a scorcher by Andrew Deloury might be the defensive play of the season. And he just keeps hitting with 19 runs and 19 RBIs. Warrior highlight: A tough, 0-3 week ended with a Senior Day thud. The 9-7 Warriors need one more win to qualify for the state tourney. One bright spot on the day? How about junior Jack Cox. The left-fielder robbed Jon Parsons of extra bases with a sweet dive-and-catch. He came in to pitch the sixth and iced down the Raider bats with a pair of scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Finally, in the three-run seventh, Cox singled and scored. No rest for weary: Andover heads to Londonderry this morning for a 10 a.m. waker-upper. The Warriors requested the early opening since tomorrow is prom night. Central has to go halfway, driving to Braintree tomorrow to face Sandwich High in a 1 p.m. non-leaguer.

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