Boston High School: John Lavoie

Recap: Medford 6, No. 24 Everett 4

May, 14, 2013
MEDFORD, Mass. -- John Lavoie wasn't easily distracted.

Against Everett, the Medford High ace had no problem shrugging off gusting winds, a few long innings and the din of the Commuter Rail, which occasionally chugged by a few hundred feet from Playstead Park. In fact, Lavoie only showed emotion as he was mobbed by teammates after striking out Everett's Mike Rossi to clinch a 6-4 comeback win for the Mustangs.

“Lavoie is a tough customer. He's up on the mound, and nothing bothers him. He's always in the game,” said Everett head coach Joe Lento. “He throws a great curveball -– he just throws it for a strike whenever he needs to. It's his safety net. It's his out pitch.”

Lavoie scattered four runs over seven innings and struck out seven Crimson Tide batters. He picked up some much-needed run support in the bottom of the sixth inning when sophomore Dom Ramasci hit a bases-clearing triple off of Everett ace Zarief Pajazetovic to put Medford up 6-3.

Ramasci, who pinch-hit for leadoff man Nick Rocco, has been fighting for playing time during the past few games. His game-winning hit was likely good for his campaign.

“Believe it or not, he's been in and out of the lineup so much the past couple of games due to a couple of inconsistencies and struggling at the plate, as you expect from a sophomore,” Medford head coach Mike Nestor said. “Today he went out there, did his job, and the ball went the other way.”

Everett made one final push during its final at bats. Mac Singleton started off the top of the seventh with a deep triple to center field. Pajazetovic then cranked an RBI double to left and was relieved by pinch-runner Omar Graciano. After walking Jamel Vilmont, Lavoie picked up three straight outs on 12 pitches.

Lento said giving up five runs in the sixth inning may have taken the wind out of his team's sails.

“That team stepped up when they needed to and made plays when they needed to. They stepped up, and they won the game,” he said. “I don't want to stand here and take anything away from them, but I kind of think we gave up a little bit during and after that sixth inning.”

Pajazetovic, who shut out Medford during the teams' last meeting on April 26, appeared in control during his first five innings of work. The hard-throwing righty used a combination of fastballs, curveballs and changeups to keep the Mustangs off-balanced.

He retired the first six batters he faced and struck out six Mustangs before getting touched up in the bottom of the sixth.

“It was a typical Everett/Medford, hard-fought baseball game. There were two great pitchers on the mound, and they battled to the end,” Nestor said. “We just lasted a little bit longer than they did.”

Hidden Ace: Nestor believes that Lavoie is one of the more underrated pitchers in the area. The righty doesn't have the most powerful fastball, but he uses a combination of pitches –- and pinpoint accuracy –- to whittle away at batters.

“He's been unrecognized the whole year. He's been our leader. He's our No. 1. Every time he gets on the mound, he just deals,” Nestor said. “He not only knows how to pitch, but he knows what he's throwing, and he knows what he's throwing the next pitch – he can set a kid up. He's just a really smart kid.”

Lavoie said was “missing some spots early” and was “wasting some fastballs.” He eventually settled in and began relying on his looping curve to set aside Everett batters.

Nestor said he wanted to let Lavoie finish the game, especially since he was battling against rival Pajazetovic, who's known as “Z” in the Greater Boston League.

“Him and Z have been battling for so many years together. If it was too blown out, or his pitch count was getting up there, we would have re-evaluated. He earned it, and it was his game to win because he battled,” Nestor said.

Proving Grounds: Everett, which made its first appearance in ESPN Boston's Top 25 this week, has a tough schedule ahead. The Crimson Tide has eight games in 10 days -– all on the road -- and takes on No. 1 St. John's Prep on May 15.

Lento sees it as a defining stretch for his team.

“We're at a point in the season right now where we can go one of two ways,” he said. “We've got eight games in 10 days, 20 bus rides, no home field and no last ups no matter where we go. We're either going to tuck tail and go home or we're going to step up and win some baseball games.”

Porrazzo to WPI: Jake Porrazzo, Medford's senior catcher and captain, will play baseball for Worcester Polytechnic Institute next year, according to Nestor.

“He's been on a tear for us. He leads the league in RBI, and he has two game-winning home runs. He's good, he's solid,” he said.

Bay State Games: July 10 recap

July, 10, 2012
Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's baseball action:

WALTHAM, Mass. -– The second day of the 2012 Bay State Games baseball tournament saw a pitcher’s duel and two convincing wins as the Northeast and West teams picked up their second wins of the tournament. Those two teams will try to stay undefeated tomorrow when they play in the first game of Day 3 at 9:00 pm at Bentley University.

Coastal 2, Central 0
The Coastal Region out-dueled Central and scored the only two runs in the game in the fourth inning to improve to 1-1 in the 2012 tournament. A sacrifice fly from shortstop James Marcello (Duxbury) and an RBI single from right fielder Joshua Cabucio (East Freetown) brought across Cody Younger (Middleboro) and Matthew Peterson (South Dennis). Coastal had loaded the bases on walks to Younger and Peterson and a hit batsman.

Mike Bruemmel (Bridgewater) was outstanding on the mound for Coastal, pitching three innings and scattering just two hits while striking out three.

Central had their best threat in the sixth inning, loading the bases on singles by Owen Shea (Northborough) and Mike Vaitkunas (Auburn) but Bruemmel, who struck out four, shut the door. Central was held to just three hits in the game.

Central starter Jack Riley (West Boylston) went the first two innings and struck out two, allowing just one hit.

West 11, Metro 1
West got on the board early and often and scored six unearned runs in their second win of the tournament. The damage started in the first on a bloop RBI single from catcher Phillip Jasak (Palmer). Andrew Noonan (Springfield) followed with a single through the left side to plate another run, and Mackenzie Hale (Florence) drew a bases loaded walk to give the West a 3-0 lead.

West tacked on another run in the third inning, two more in the fourth and five unearned runs in the fifth, capped by a two-run double by Kenny Potts (Southwick). Metro escaped further damage when center fielder Mark Fusco (Medford) made a spectacular diving catch to end the top of the third inning with West stranding two base-runners.

West got great production out of their four-spot as Evan Delaney (Hadley) walked, singled and hit an RBI double and scored three times. He crossed the plate after his run-producing hit on Jasak’s second RBI single of the day before giving way to Potts.

West second baseman Mike Paleologopoulos (South Hadley) was 3-5 in the game, scoring twice and driving in a run.

Metro grabbed their lone run in the fifth when Tom McDonald (Quincy) doubled to lead off the inning and crossed the plate on after singles by Nathan Spielvogel (Brookline) and Seth Coiley (Arlington).

John Lavoie (Medford) pitched a perfect final two innings of relief for Metro, striking out four.

Northeast 9, Southeast 3
Northeast broke open a tight game with five runs on five hits in the top of the seventh inning to squash a Southeast comeback attempt. The Southeast, down 4-1, had scored twice in the bottom of the sixth.

Rory McHarg (Wayland) smacked a two-run single in the seventh and Jordan Roper (Lynnfield), Colby Ingraham (Georgetown) and Nicholas Comei (Bradford) also drove in runs for Northeast.

The top of the order for the Northeast was on base four times. Leadoff starter Cam Farnham (Andover) singled in the first and fourth, the second time driving in two runs before bein replaced by Ingraham.

Dan Connors was 2-2 with two RBI singles for the Northeast, who got five innings of one-run ball from starter Ryan McAuliffe (North Reading).

Southeast tied the game at one run apiece in the second inning when Gino Larossa (Braintree) doubled and scored on a single by center fielder Jake Fishman (Sharon). They pulled within a run in the sixth when substitute catcher Connor Goetz (Cohasset) delivered a two run single to center, scoring Sean Roche (Rockland) and Mark Saulnier (Norwood).

Northeast leadoff man Cam Farnham (Andover) opened the game with a single and stole second before scoring on a two-out single by second baseman Dan Connors (Danvers).

Southeast could have grabbed a run in the fifth as well on a single by Steven Gilbert (Franklin), but a tremendous play and a great lead by Northeast catcher Jose Cedrano (Lawrence) gunned out Brandon Eccher (Franklin) who was trying to score from second base.