METHUEN — On Fridays in high school baseball, teams often scramble. Pitching staffs are depleted, lineups are often patched together. Rolls change in a second.
Not for Central Catholic senior Pat Gleason.
“Hit the baseball, that’s my job,” he said.
Yesterday, the Raider designated hitter from Amesbury did just that, punctuating a scalding week at the plate with three more hits and driving in the game-winning run in the seventh with a double as Central KO’d rival Methuen, 5-4, in an absolute thriller.
Gleason’s top of the seventh bomb to deep left-center broke a 4-4 deadlock, plating pinch-runner Paul Karamourtopoulos. Victory capped a 3-0 week for the Raiders.
“We’ve got a lot of Methuen guys on this team, and this is a big one for them, for all of us,” said Gleason. “We needed a 3-0 week and we got it. It brings us right back where we want to be in the league.”
Nobody in the conference may be hotter than Gleason right now. Riding an eight-game hitting streak, the slugger has gone 11 for his last 18 to bump the average to .419 on the year.
Gleason, who will study exercise science and not play baseball at West Virginia University next year, is clearly making the most of his final season.
“I just do it for my teammates,” he said.
Leadoff man Anthony Licari was the only other Raider to find success against Methuen’s righty-lefty pitching tandem of Enrique Veras and Brian Reyes. The Raider second baseman doubled and scored in the top of the first, then sliced home an RBI double to right to plate Jonathan Parsons, who had walked.
Methuen, meanwhile, had nine hits. The Rangers, down 4-2 in the sixth, knotted things on RBI hits by Gary Carbonneau and Derek Fox.
“My guys are working and getting better every day,” said coach Eric Cyr, whose Rangers are still in the thick of things at 3-3 in the league.