By Phil Stacey
---- — PEABODY — Jhon Oliviera, like many of his Bishop Fenwick baseball teammates, wears a green rubber bracelet with the words ‘Prove People Wrong.’
It only makes sense, then, that anyone doubting the Crusaders with their season on the line yesterday afternoon should have known better.
A sophomore outfielder, Olivieri roped a two-run double to deep right field, scoring the game-tying and game-winning runs as Fenwick rallied for a 5-4 win over Stoneham in the Division 3 North quarterfinals.
“I was looking for the curve. I crushed the last fastball he gave me and got a triple out of it. So I just sat back ... and hit it,” said the 16-year-old Olivieri, Fenwick’s leadoff hitter, who finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and the two ribbies.
“Honestly, I thought (Stoneham hurler Mike Andrews) was going to keep it outside, but his curveball curved a little too inside so I just turned on it. I was really just trying to get it out of the infield.”
Up by a run (3-2) heading into the seventh and final inning, Fenwick (18-6) surrendered two runs to the visiting Spartans in the top of the frame before Olivieri got them back and won the game for the Peabody parochial school.
Now, the second-seeded Crusaders will be right back in action tonight at Fraser Field in Lynn (7 p.m.) when they meet their Catholic Central League rivals, St. Mary’s of Lynn (16-6), in the Division 3 North semifinals. Fenwick split a pair of one-run games with St. Mary’s this season, winning 8-7 and losing, 2-1, in eight innings.
Andrew Lessard was on his game for Fenwick; after surrendering two first inning runs, the senior righty settled down to just three hits over the next five-plus innings while fanning four. “He faced some very good teams this season, and it was all to get him ready for a game like this,” said head coach Kevin Canty.
But when Lessard gave up a one-out single to Stoneham’s No. 9 hitter, Erik Mooney, in the seventh, Canty went to his bullpen and brought in closer Brian Burke. Stoneham (14-8) didn’t flinch, drawing a walk, a single by Ben Allen, an RBI fielder’s choice by Andrew Cann to tie it up and an RBI single to center from Bobby Giordano to take a 4-3 lead.
Andrews, who went the distance for Stoneham, was charged with an error as pinch hitter Robbie Carrillo reached base to begin the bottom of the seventh. An infield single by speedster Eric Razney put two runners on before Oliviera’s booming shot to right ended the game.
“Coach was trying to keep us focused,” Olivieri said of his team’s mindset prior to the bottom of the seventh. “No one was down; he wanted to keep us all amped up.”
Razney, also a sophomore, had a huge part in Fenwick’s win simply by using his greatest gift: his feet. With the Crusaders down 2-1 in the fifth, he hit a slow roller to shortstop that he not only beat out for a hit, but caused a throwing error on the play that allowed teammate Mike Campatelli to score the tying run. Razney then stole third base, drawing another erroneous throw from the Stoneham catcher, and scampered home with the go-ahead run.
“Because he’s so fast, he can steal any base at any time. He has the green light at any time,” Canty said of Razney, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. “He’s not your typical No. 9 guy; he’s probably faster than any leadoff hitter around. That’s what he’s done all year for us; he’s had some struggles at the plate, but when he gets on base he’s very dangerous.
“He’s going to be on third base within a few pitches; that’s his goal.”
In addition to Olivieri’s three hits and two from Razney, Mike MacKenzie, Nick Bona, Joe Levasseur and Campatelli all had hits for the winners while catcher Gianni Esposito added an RBI on a first inning groundout.
“We have to stay focused,” Canty said of his team moving forward from this point. “There were times today we had bad at-bats; we get jumpy and sometimes get away from our approach. We know we have to put pressure on teams. We do that because of our speed, and it can make all the difference.”