LAWRENCE — As far as opening statements go, Andrew Hamel let it fly.
He’s the senior. He’s the horse. And with the big, 6-foot-5 lefty on the hill, Central Catholic becomes a mighty stiff chore.
“I wanted to build off what I did to end last season, and I think I did that,” said Hamel, a four-year varsity mound man. “Coach (Marc Pelletier) told me he needed four innings, and we’d go from there. I nearly went the whole way.”
Hamel shut Lawrence down yesterday in a near complete-game effort, striking out three in six innings as the Raiders held off a late Lancer charge, 4-2.
Nicked for a pair of runs in the seventh, Hamel needed a bit of relief help from Raider hoop teammate Aaron Hall, who came on with the bases loaded in the seventh, got a strikeout then induced the game-ending double-play grounder — Central’s third of the afternoon.
“They had a blooper behind first and really didn’t hit the ball hard,” explained Hamel, who admitted he probably shouldn’t have started the ninth as he walked one and hit another batter. “It was great to see Aaron was right there and ready to step up for us. He did a great job to get us out of it with the save.”
In all, Hamel went six-plus innings, allowing just two soft singles. He walked a pair and hit two batters, but benefitted by a couple of sweet double-play turns in the middle by Cam Devanney and Nick Delois and a diving catch in center by Kevin Regan early to escape any trouble.
With the defense ballin’, Hamel looked relaxed.
When the Raider bats got rolling, Hamel was downright nasty.
“You just can’t knock going out there when your team picks you up with a couple of runs,” said Hamel, who watched the Raiders build a 4-0 lead.