D1 North softball: Central Catholic 11, Boston Latin 4

LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Central Catholic starting pitcher, Olivia Antczak was battling illness, so with its season on the line, Karoline Leavitt stepped up for the Raiders and helped her pitcher breathe a bit more easily.

No. 5 seed Boston Latin led No. 4 Central Catholic, 3-1, during the bottom of the third inning, but with the bases juiced, Leavitt did not miss jump-starting the Raiders to an 11-4 victory in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.

The sophomore third basemen connected and drove the ball deep into center field, clearing the bases.

“I thought we did a good job there because that was [right after Boston Latin] had come out and scored three runs,” Central Catholic head coach Stacey Ciccolo said. “Karoline [Leavitt] unloaded a nice double to clear the bases, and I think everyone relaxed a little bit after. It got a little bit contagious. Nobody had hit the ball hard up until that point really, and we were struggling to get a piece of ball. We were getting on base before that, but after that the girls really relaxed.”

Leavitt’s three-run double highlighted a seven-run inning. Olivia Ciccarelli and Leslie Moore also had RBI in the Raiders big inning.

“We were able to get that lead, but [Central] came right back and it the ball hard,” Boston Latin coach Tim Holland said. “They hit the ball hard where we weren’t, when they didn’t hit it hard it fell in, and they made us pay for a couple mistakes.”

Antczak got roughed up in the third inning, but she stayed in the game to pitch the fourth with no problems. She was battling several symptoms, including a queasy stomach.

“We didn’t think she was going to make it through [the fourth inning],” Ciccolo said. “I thought she showed some real toughness making it through that inning.”

Meg Sears was called from the bullpen to finish off the Wolfpack (17-5), and she did just that. Sears had little problems only allowing one run in her three innings of work.

“Our team has been so good these past couple games, so I was really just ready to go,” Sears said. “It felt great [to get the win].”

Krista Maloney helped add to the Raiders lead in the fifth inning by blasting a solo shot over the right-center field fence. Maloney was only playing in her second game after returning from a concussion.

“It’s very nice [to have her back],” Ciccolo said. “It’s just more comfortable to the rest of the girls [having her back] because she has been hitting leadoff for the past two years. She is very comfortable there, and she is a very smart player.”

Central Catholic (18-4) will face off against No. 1 Concord-Carlisle (21-1), Thursday in the Division 1 North semifinals. They will square off at 7:30 p.m. in Lowell at Martin Field.