Show New England’s Mercier arms up in big spot

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 28, 2022

Anthony Polichetti scores the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third for Show New England.

By Luis Torres

Jack Mercier walked back to the mound in the top of the fourth inning with just a handful of pitches left in the tank.

His teammates had just helped the lefty starting pitcher retake the lead in the bottom of the third by scoring three runs. Mercier was getting close to his pitch count limit and knew he had to be efficient. 

He was efficient all right, striking out the side as Mercier tossed four innings in Show New England’s 9-5 win over Locked In Expos Black in five innings on Wednesday in Super 13 World Series play at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Mercier ended his day with eight strikeouts, punching out the side in both the third and fourth innings and finding a better feel for his curveball as his outing went on.

“My coach told me I had (some) pitches left, so I wanted to get all three outs,” Mercier said. “Nothing really changed. I just went out with my curveball and before, I was spiking it, and (then) I started getting it over the plate.”

Coach Ralph Polichetti said he was happy for Mercier, who he said has battled through his share of ups and downs this year.

Mercier got off to an inauspicious start, allowing two runs in the opening frame as Locked In Expos Black’s Tommy Marchetti opened the scoring with an RBI double. Starting pitcher Brandon Strunck followed it up with an RBI fielder’s choice two batters later to put Show New England and Mercier into an early hole.

But Mercier got some run support of his own in the bottom half of the first inning as his teammates scored three runs, giving Show New England the advantage. Mercier gutted through the rest of his start, allowing two more runs in the top of the third inning before settling down for his final frame.

“He needed that confidence builder,” Polichetti said. “He’s had a tough year in that same situation in the past, but he persevered and got through it.”

Jack Mercier fires away during his strong performance for Show New England in the Super 13 World Series on Wednesday.

“It was really cool. It was good that they came back and stuff. It was really fun,” Mercier said of his offense picking him up. 

Show New England, which picked up its first win in Super 13 World Series play on Wednesday, took the lead for good in the bottom of the third, with Polichetti’s son, Anthony, scoring the go-ahead run after he walked, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then touched home after an error. 

Brandon Kaberski paced the offense by going 2-for-2 with three RBIs, including a two-run single in the bottom of the first. Polichetti said Kaberski had been going through a slump before getting help from a local high school in the New England area. Polichetti said he’s been the team’s MVP this week, consistently coming through with big hits. 

Jonathan Flaig had one of the highlights for Show New England by hitting an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning. Flaig hit the ball into the right-center field gap and raced around the bases. 

Overall, it was a performance Polichetti was happy with. 

“These boys deserved it and they worked their tails off,” Polichetti said. “They deserved to win.”

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