Lukasz Rondeau wrapped up his final exams at Central Catholic this week.
Armed with the knowledge that his junior year of school was finished, the 6-foot-3-inch lefthander aced one more test Thursday afternoon: a Chelmsford lineup that defeated the Raiders in the regular season.
Rondeau was in full command, striking out seven in a three-hit shutout as the fourth-seeded (21-3) got revenge on No. 13 Chelmsford, 8-0, in the second round of the Division 1 state tournament at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill.
“There’s nothing better than playing baseball after school’s out,” Rondeau said.
Central Catholic faces Merrimack Valley Conference foe No. 21 Methuen — winners of 12 of its last 14 — Sunday at noon in the state quarterfinals.
The Lions (15-7) loaded the bases against Rondeau in the first inning, but he escaped trouble with back-to-back strikeouts.
“I just had to make an adjustment,” Rondeau said. “I trust my defense behind me. I just made a few pitches and I knew we could get out of it.”
After that, he was locked in, sitting down nine in a row at one point. Just three Chelmsford runners reached base in the final six innings.
“We for sure dodged a bullet [in the first],” Central Catholic head coach John Sexton said. “Then he settled in, and he got stronger as he went. The last four innings he was lights-out . . . If you’re going to get him, you’ve got to get him early. Because otherwise, you won’t.”
Offensively, the Raiders scored all eight runs with two outs. The first five came in the fourth inning, when the bottom of the order caught fire. Senior Sean Mercuri walked to load the bases before junior Jake Bartlett drove home the game’s first run with a single. Senior Jeremy Delacruz followed him with a bases-clearing double that broke the game open.
“Two guys that really work hard, and I’m really happy to see them have some success,” Sexton said of Bartlett and Delacruz. “Jeremy has started for three years, mostly because of his prowess at shortstop. That’s the biggest hit he’s had in his career.”
Junior Josh Florence added an RBI triple in the fourth. In the sixth, senior Nathan Kearney delivered a three-run double to provide some extra cushion for Rondeau, who worked a 1-2-3 seventh to finish off the win.
Taunton 8, Springfield Central 0 — Dwayne Burgo and Ryan MacDougall each drove in three for the second-seeded Tigers (18-4) in a second-round victory over No. 18 Springfield Central (17-3). The defending champions will host No. 7 BC High (14-8) in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Division 2 State
Whitman-Hanson 3, Somerset Berkley 2 — The fifth-seeded Panthers (18-4) advanced on junior Daniel Joyce’s walkoff base hit in a comeback win over the 12th-seeded Blue Raiders (17-5) in the second round. Whitman-Hanson hosts 20th-seeded Westfield (13-7) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Division 3 State
Foxborough 4, Archbishop Williams 0 — Nolan Gordon tossed six innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts for the sixth-seeded Warriors (15-7) as he picked up his third win of the season in the second-round win over No. 22 Archbishop Williams (12-10). Mike Marcucella went 1 for 2 with a walk and sparked the offense in the fourth inning. Foxborough plays at No. 3 Bishop Stang (15-5) at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Medfield 2, Apponequet 1 — Scott Donahue’s walkoff home run led off the bottom of the seventh as the second-seeded Warriors (16-5) won a dramatic second-round battle with No. 18 Apponequet (11-11). Medfield hosts No. 23 Newburyport (16-7) in the quarterfinals at a time and date to be announced.
Taconic 12, Stoneham 0 — Nick Guachione crushed a first-inning grand slam and the top-seeded Thunder (19-2) added four more in the fifth to secure a second-round win over No. 17 Stoneham (13-9). Taconic hosts No. 8 Ashland (13-9) in the quarterfinals at a time and date to be announced.
Division 5 State
Bourne 5, Maynard 3 — Jack Ferreira’s three-run triple put the second-seeded Canalmen (15-7) ahead before Aidan Elmore homered, and Ryan Sullivan pitched 5⅓ shutout innings in relief in the second-round win over No. 18 Maynard (13-8). Bourne will host 26th-seeded Greenfield (12-11) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.