fb-pixel Skip to main content
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

Ace pitcher Aidan O’Donnell and Abington are going to be tough to stop

Abington ace Aidan O'Donnell received a big lift from his catcher, Spencer Merrick, after he finished off his 2-0 no-hitter against visiting East Bridgewater Thursday afternoon, his second hitless game of the season.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Before each start, Abington’s Aidan O’Donnell is a walking contradiction. With AC/DC blasting in his earbuds, he keeps quiet and sequestered, equal parts anticipation and excitement. He’s preparing to be both a competitor and an enthusiast.

“I don’t remember the exact time I touched a baseball for the first time, but I’ve always just loved the game,” said the UMass Dartmouth commit. “I love this game more than anything. It’s my life.”

The fruits of this love are evident. As much as O’Donnell’s pregame routine has become rote to his teammates, so have the results. In 34 innings, the senior righthander has allowed just one earned run (0.26 ERA). He’s thrown two no-hitters — including Thursday when he outdueled Quinnipiac-bound Ray McNaught of East Bridgewater — a one-hitter, and another shutout.

Advertisement



“The kid is out of his mind,” said senior leadoff hitter Ryan Tobin, who has been playing with O’Donnell since they were in the fifth grade. “It’s been amazing to watch him grow. I wouldn’t rather play with anyone else. I’m so proud of him.”

The first Abington pitcher with multiple no-hitters in a season since CJ Hillyer 19 years ago didn’t come out of nowhere. O’Donnell started the Division 4 state championship game for the Green Wave last July, allowing four hits in 4⅔ innings, but ended up on the tough end of a 3-0 loss to Hopkins Academy, due in large part to his team’s four errors.

“It stung, but I think that could be the reason we all have the same goal this year,” O’Donnell said. “We want to get back there and win it. We’re all, collectively, trying to win it for Abington.”

The Green Wave’s last state championship came in 2009, when Stephen Perakslis Jr., son of the coach, was the ace. Perakslis Jr. went on to be selected in the 21st round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. He reached Triple A before returning to his home state and taking over the Cardinal Spellman program. He’s also been O’Donnell’s pitching coach the past three years.

Advertisement



“He’s helped me immensely,” O’Donnell said. “He gives me so much confidence. I wouldn’t be where I am today as a player, or even as a person, without him.”

O’Donnell has developed a five-pitch repertoire — four-seamer in the low 80s, two-seamer, slider, knuckle-curve, and a circle change. Against East Bridgewater, he regularly started batters with the changeup, inducing weak contact that led to 10 ground outs, just one ball hit out of the infield, and a complete game on just 74 pitches. He struck out 10, faced the minimum, and was a hit batsman from a perfect game.

“He can throw [his off-speed stuff] for a strike and he knows it,” the elder Perakslis said. “As a batter, you don’t know what’s coming. You have to set up for the fastball and when you can throw backwards, it’s such a huge advantage.”

The no-hitter was O’Donnell’s second in three starts, with a shutout of Mashpee in between. He’s thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings.

“He loves baseball and he’s worked extremely hard to get where he is and he deserves everything he’s got,” Perakslis Sr. said. “He’s a great kid. He’s a great student. Just a great human being.”

O’Donnell leads a staff otherwise made up of sophomores — Steve Madden, Jon Sellon, Henry Rogers — that has allowed just 27 runs in 14 games, the second-lowest total in Division 4.

Advertisement



“They’re all studs,” O’Donnell said. “I have just as much confidence in them as anybody. They all do their job. I try to share whatever knowledge I have with them, whether it be mechanics or a confidence thing.”

Abington (11-3) enters the weekend fourth in the Division 4 power ratings and second in the South Shore League’s Sullivan with a 7-3 division mark.

“The program has really taken off. Now we’re hoping to take it one step further,” Perakslis Sr. said. “I’m excited for the tournament and the rest of the season. I don’t want it to end. Let’s keep it going.”

With a five-pitch mix, Aidan O'Donnell has thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Extra bases

▪ With Westford, Tantasqua, East Boston, and Shawsheen falling from the unbeaten list, top-ranked Austin Prep (15-0) is the only undefeated team left in the state. The Cougars wrapped up a seventh consecutive Catholic Central League North title with an 11-2 win over Arlington Catholic last Saturday. Bishop Stang captured the CCL South crown this past week.

▪ Thursday was a day full of walkoffs as Lincoln-Sudbury, Weymouth, and Mashpee scored in the final inning to win. Shawsheen and Plymouth South also plated runs in the eighth to pull out extra-inning victories.

▪ The latest power rankings were released Friday. The top-ranked teams are Franklin (Division 1), Milton (Division 2), Austin Prep (Division 3), Amesbury (Division 4), and Mount Greylock (Division 5).

Advertisement



Games to watch

Monday, Arlington at No. 19 Reading, 4:15 p.m. First place in the Middlesex League Liberty is on the line. The Spy Ponders won the first matchup, 2-1, on a walkoff two-run homer by Max Garner.

Monday, No. 17 Mansfield at No. 4 Franklin, 3:45 p.m. The Hornets had won nine straight entering Friday, while Franklin enters on a 10-game winning streak for this Hockomock League showdown.

Wednesday, No. 6 North Andover at No. 12 Central Catholic, 3:45 p.m. — The Knights, winners of eight straight, can take control of the Merrimack Valley Conference with a win over the Raiders.

Wednesday, Catholic Central Cup Final, TBA The winners of Austin Prep/Bishop Feehan and Bishop Stang/St. Mary’s face off in the championship game.

Wednesday, No. 3 Medfield at Hopkinton, 4 p.m. — Medfield had not lost since its opener before falling Saturday to Nauset in nonleague play, but Hopkinton will look to pull the Tri-Valley upset. The Warriors won the first meeting, 3-0, at Fenway Park.

Globe correspondent Matt Doherty contributed to this report.