Sports 05-30-2017

June 3, 2017
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Nowicki is masterful in 16-strikeout performance

St. Mary’s High School senior pitcher Mia Nowicki was every bit as good as advertised in the John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament – and then some.

Nowicki struck out 16 batters and allowed only one hit as the Spartans defeated Swampscott, 3-0, in the championship game of the tournament Sunday at Grace Rogato Field in Lynn.

Nowicki ended the game by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh, retiring opposing pitcher Hannah Leahy (who had the only Big Blue hit on a changeup) on a rising fastball.

Nowicki was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. As a seventh grader, she was the recipient of the Ginny Dandreo Award as the most outstanding pitcher in the tournament.

On Tuesday, the Assumption College-bound right-hander was named the Most Valuable Player in the Catholic Central League. Nowicki struck out 242 batters in 112 innings this season. Her 27-strikeout/game-winning home run-in-extra-innings performance in a 1-0 win over Austin Prep was extraordinary.

Nowicki took the latest major honor in stride, humbly crediting her teammates.

“My focus is really just to give my team a chance to win,” said Nowicki. “I have all the confidence in the world with the defense behind me and the hitting. So on the mound I just worry about throwing strikes and I really don’t worry about giving up runs because I have confidence in my teammates.”

Coach Paige Licata said Nowicki has been phenomenal all season.

“Mia came in to the season ready to make a lasting impact on St. Mary’s. She has been here since seventh grade and every game she gives it everything she has and doesn’t leave anything out there. That’s why she’s been so exceptional – it’s not only her athletic ability but there’s her mentality and her heart – with all those things, there’s no way you can stop her.”

Lynn Classical edges St. Mary’s for Clancy tournament championship:Moccia, Luciano lead Rams to 3-2 victory

By Cary Shuman

The Lynn Classical had been enjoying a dream season: a perfect record in the Northeastern Conference, an NEC title, a high ranking, and consideration for the Super 8 Tournament.

But could coach Mike Zukowski’s Rams win the Clancy Tournament championship game against perennial Catholic Central League standout St. Mary’s of Lynn?

Thanks to a stellar performance by tournament MVP Andrew Moccia and a tone-setting defensive play by third baseman A.J. Luciano in the first inning, Classical edged St. Mary’s, 3-2, to claim the championship.

Moccia recorded the save by retiring the final batter of the game, taking the mound after reliever Brett Bucklin had pitched well for the Rams.

Starting pitcher Herbie Newton gave Classical five strong innings, helped by Luciano’s defensive gem with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning. After just missing out on a potential grand slam that went foul down the left field line, St. Mary’s Anthony Nikolakakis blazed a one-out line drive that Luciano was able to corral. Luciano then stepped on third for an inning-ending double play.

Luciano, had rocketed a double to deep left field in the top of first. He has been a key contributor for the Rams after moving up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup this season. He was a member of the Lynn Babe Ruth 15-year-old team that advanced to the World Series last summer.

Luciano talked about his “double play of the day.”

“I just reacted. He [Nikolakakis] hit it too hard for me to think about it. It’s one of the bigger plays of my career. We played hard the whole game and beat a good team over there. We want to go on from here and win it all for the seniors.”

Bobby Alcock, the Spartans’ sophomore ace who has an historic perfect game on his resume this season, was outstanding on the mound allowing five hits. Alcock was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Moccia said he was happy to win the Clancy and honored to be the MVP.

“We knew it was going to be a battle against a very good St. Mary’s team and we came out with the win,” said Moccia, who will attend Assumption College. “It’s been a great season – 19-1 going in to the State Tournament. We were coming off a tough season last year but everyone was hungry. Our main focus right now is the State Tournament and we’re ready to go for it.

Moccia has enjoyed his four years of baseball under coach Mike Zukowski.

“He’s been a great coach my four years and we’re happy to get the [first] Clancy for him.”

Director of Athletics Bill Devin credited the Rams for a superb year with more excitement to follow.

“It’s been an unbelievable season,” said Devin, whose son, Sean, had the game-winning hit in the Clancy semifinal. “We knew we had a good team coming back but to go undefeated in the Northeastern Conference is a remarkable accomplishment. We finished the regular season 19-1 and that’s a tremendous testament to Mike Zukowski and the entire team. We’ve been in some very close games and everyone has made a contribution to the success of the team.”

TV 15 Sports Awards Night has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 7

The TV 15 Sports Awards Night has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 7 at 6 p.m. at Lynn Classical High School.

Sports broadcaster John Hoffman and Taso Nikolakopoulos will lead the program that will honor student-athletes from English, Classical, Tech, and St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s boys hockey coach Mark Lee and Tech track coach John Hogan will receive “Coach of the Year” Awards.

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