Boston High School: Mike Hart

D1 Baseball: Lowell 1, Westford 0

June, 3, 2012
LOWELL, Mass. -- As a blanket of dreary clouds rolled in overhead, Lowell’s Matt Tulley toed the rubber and stared in at Westford’s Luke Morse, Sunday’s opposing pitcher.

A hit batsman, throwing error, and single put Westford players on every base with only one out in the sixth inning. Neither team could get on the board up until that inning. A pop fly, at the very least, a ground ball to either the second baseman or shortstop would plate a Westford run.

With the count 1-2, Morse swung and hit a soft ground ball back to Tulley. He flipped it to his catcher, Mike Hart, for the force out to keep the score tied at zero. After working the count full against Danny Cerullo, he threw a fastball down the middle that Cerullo took and started jogging down to first base. Except it was strike three. The inning was over, the crisis was averted.

It was that kind of a game for Westford: the Grey Ghosts got runners in scoring position, but could never get any to cross the plate. It took a 129-pitch effort from Tulley, but Lowell hung on for the 1-0 victory to move on to the Division 1 North Quarterfinals.

“I don’t let anything bother me,” said Tulley. “No matter what the situation is, I don’t let it bother me, no matter what it is.”

The only run for Lowell (18-4) came in the seventh inning. After Morse walked Andrew Marasa and Joe Parisi to start the inning, he was relieve in favor of John Troy.

Marasa got picked off second base after Matt Sullivan, the catcher for Westford (11-10), threw down to second after noticing Marasa took too big a lead off the bag. He then got RJ Gray to fly out to center for the second out of the inning.

Roger Roman came up next and sent a ball into centerfield a single. The ball got by Mike Bibinski and kept rolling towards the warning track. This allowed Parisi to score all the way from first and Roman to roll into third.

It was a tough game for Bibinski, who went 1-for-5 at the plate with four strikeouts to go along with the fielding error.

Tulley had nine strikeouts heading into the final frame, and added another before being relieved by R.J. Noel.

If it was up to the senior righthander, he would have stayed in the game. However, the team knew Noel was more than capable of getting the final two outs in the game.

“I definitely wanted to throw the complete game, but it was a certain situation where R.J. is quick to the plate, and I was getting up there in pitches, so it was smart decision,” he said.

Rainy Day Fund: Due to inclement weather over the weekend, many of the remaining playoff teams have to play again on Monday, a back-to-back scenario rarely seen in high school baseball.

While having an extra day of rest would be preferred, Lowell coach Dan Graham doesn’t think the immediate turnaround will be a detrimental to his team.

“It’s not a bad thing,” he said. “I’m sure some of these kids are anxious. I’m sure they’d like to get some more at-bats right now. I think it will be a good thing for us to get right back out here tomorrow and play.”

Lowell plays against Malden Catholic on Monday at 4 p.m.

Morse leaves it all on the field: Morse deserved the standing ovation the fans gave him when he came out of the game in the sixth inning. He did everything he could to keep his team in the game against a powerful offensive team.

There was a stretch between the second and sixth innings when he allowed only two hits and four runners to reach base.

He ended his six-inning outing allowing four hits, three walks, one earned run, and two strikeouts. He pitched out of jams in the first and second innings where, each time, Lowell had runners on second and third with one out.

“He threw the ball well, credit him,” said Graham. “He was starting kids off offspeed, getting it for strikes and getting ahead in the count. He had enough on his fastball where, if you show them offspeed early, you can sneak fastballs by people.”

“I feel like we should’ve got out of those first couple innings with a run or two, which probably could have changed the complexion of the game. We probably would’ve settled in and been a little more comfortable at the plate. You’re not going to win many state tournament games putting up only one run. But we feel fortunate that it didn’t come back to bite us at the end of the game.”

Draft Tracking: By the time Lowell’s Division 1 North Quarterfinal matchup versus Malden Catholic is over Monday night, the Major League Baseball Player Draft will be underway.

The Red Raiders have two potential draftees in Tulley and infielder Chad Gens. Don’t look for them to be distracted from the task at hand though.

“I don’t think they’ll be distracted,” said Graham. “I don’t think they’re going to be bringing their cell phones into the dugout or anything waiting for a phone call. That’s really out of their control. They’ve played the season up until this point, so if it happens for them, great, if it doesn’t happen for them, it’s not like they’re finishing their college careers here. They’re just finishing the tail end of their high school careers. They have a lot of baseball in front of them.”

Tulley knows that even if he doesn’t get that phone call in the next few days, it won’t be the end of the line for him. The Virginia Tech commit will work to make the most of his time in the land of Division 1 college baseball.

“I’m just going to let it play out,” he said. “I hope I do (get drafted). It would be an honor. If it doesn’t happen, then I’ve got three years at Virginia Tech, and I’ll try my best to do it then.”

Worcester's Kuakumensah commits to Brown

October, 3, 2011
According to the Barrington (R.I.) Times, St. Andrew's power forward Cedric Kuakumensah gave Brown University a verbal commitment on Sunday.

The 6-foot-8 Worcester native -- who transferred to the Barrington, R.I. campus after his junior year at Worcester North High, and re-classified to the Class of 2012 -- chose the Bears over Holy Cross and Penn.

"It's a proud day for us and for Cedric," St. Andrew's head coach Mike Hart told the paper. "For one of our kids to go to Brown shows they're finally starting to get it. It's not all about basketball. It's about getting an education."

Kuakumensah is the first recruit for Brown in the 2012 class. His current evaluation on Scouts Inc. reads as follows:

A good interior defender with a strong body, Kuakamensah has filled his frame out nicely within the last year. He is active at both ends of the floor, has a good nose for the ball, is a consistent shot blocking presence, and consistent rebounding presence on both ends. He has some emerging offensive skills both playing with his back to the basket and facing up, runs the court pretty well, makes the majority of his free-throws, and can finish plays with both hands.

While Kuakamensah shows flashes of skill and potential offensively, he is far from a finished product and still inconsistent by most accounts. He can disappear for stretches at a time offensively and lacks a true weapon or go-to move. As his body continues to develop he needs to ensure that his additional mass doesn't come at the expense of his mobility and quickness. With more game experience he will continue to develop his basketball I.Q. and overall feel for the game.

Bottom Line:
A sturdily built four-man, Kuakamensah makes his biggest impact at the defensive end right now but shows flashes of the offensive talent to eventually catch-up.

St. Mark's cruises past St. Andrew's in AA semi's

March, 4, 2011
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. -- St. Mark’s practically has a small army at its disposal, which is why it was able to jump out to an early lead in last night's NEPSAC Class AA semifinal and dominate St. Andrew’s School throughout the game, winning 67-47 at The Roxbury Latin School.

With the win over St. A's (23-9), the Lions (28-2) advance to the Class AA championship game on Sunday, 3 p.m. at Endicott College against Tilton. But the boys haven't been dominating recently.

“Our last two games were really tough,” said St. Mark’s coach Dave Lubick. He specifically referenced the double-overtime victory his squad stole from Northfield Mount Hermon 82-74 last Friday. “We were down six with 20 seconds left and coming back to win that game gave our guys the idea that, ‘You don’t quit.”

Tonight, St. Mark’s took a double digit lead midway through the first half but played like they were down by two the rest of the game. They were up by 16 at the end of the first half, and St. Andrew’s came in the second with a full court press, but St. Mark’s moved easily through and around it.

“We have pretty smart players,” added Lubick. “Nik Stauskas (15 points) and Alex Murphy (14 points, seven rebounds), they’re big guys who can handle the ball and actually see over people. We’re a pretty tough team to press.”

Once the ball made it over half court, you have one big and one...growing option. The leading scorer for the game was 6-foot-2 freshman guard Kevin Zabo, with 19 points and 10 assists.

“Lot of poise, good shot, pretty good for a freshman, huh?,” asked Lubick about Zabo.

Although Lubick admits that Zabo entered camp with the skills necessary to command a team, he has developed since coming to St. Mark’s this year.

“His decision-making has gotten better and better, like all young point guards who have a lot of skill,” said Lubick. “That kid’s got big time ability to change speeds and we like to run. We allow him to get the ball out of his hands, get it back and create plays. I was a little worried thinking he’d be nervous, but he wasn’t.”

The big option is 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski, who was donning his white and red Beats by Dre headphones in the hallway outside of the team’s locker room.

To start the second half, Tarczewski (14 points, seven rebounds) threw down a couple of monster dunks that halted the momentum St. Andrew’s came out with.

“That’s what we talked about in the locker room,” Tarczewski said of Lubick commanding him to play simple and slam the ball through the hoop -- hard. “If you come out strong when they’re down, they’re going to quit.”

St. Andrew's coach Mike Hart is not one to quit, as he yelled at his team to run the set offensive plays throughout the match, but he ceded after the game that he didn’t expect much to improve, even if they did execute his game plan.

“I don’t think the outcome of the game would have changed because St. Mark’s is a good club,” Hart said. “We’ve been struggling this year getting other guys in double figures except for Michael Carter-Williams (17 points, seven rebounds, three steals). He had to force some stuff today, but our guys have got to move. We’ve been working on it, but there comes a time and a point where we need to get a shot off and if guys are standing around, you’re not going to win.”