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McCarthy Mashers Open Title Defense With Offensive Show

Andrew Fernandez got it done at, and behind, the plate.

Anyone that has followed the historic run the Archbishop McCarthy Mavericks have been on over the better part of the past decade knows that the program has had some powerful offenses. On Monday in their season opener, the Mavericks sent a scary message to those looking to chase them down. The 2017 version of the Mavericks offense may just be the best yet.

Coming into the opener with a bulls-eye on their back for the sixth time in the past seven years, McCarthy was nearly flawless in a 12-1 message-sending victory over Martin County.

“This very well could be one of our most powerful and best hitting teams,” said Mavericks Manager Rich Bielski. “There’s a lot of experience coming back in this lineup from last year, and they have been through the fire. They are battle tested, and have gotten bigger and stronger from last year.”

One of those players that has made the biggest jump in 2017 may be catcher Andrew Fernandez. The McCarthy backstop wasted no time showing fans in attendance what this year’s squad was all about. Fernandez, batting second, hit a rocket line drive home run to left in the first inning.

“He had good stuff,” said Fernandez of Martin County starting pitcher Austin Temple. “I was just looking for a fastball, and was able to put a good swing on it.”

Good swings seemed to be the theme of the night. The Tigers came in with a game plan of throwing the entire staff at the Mavericks, with seven pitchers seeing action. No matter who went to the mound, the Mavericks had an answer. Six of the nine McCarthy starters had hits, with Fernandez and Ubaldo Lopez each hitting a home run and a double. Lopez ended the game in the bottom of the sixth with a walk-off grand slam to dead center.

“We knew we had the chance to be a real strong offensive team,” said Fernandez. “We have guys from 1-9 that can hit the ball out of the park. That takes a lot of pressure off knowing that anybody can get hot on any day.”

What may be even worse news for future opponents is that the Mavericks put up 12 runs without one of their top hitters in the lineup. Alex Toral is working his way back from injury, and was held out of the opener by the coaching staff.

Mavericks players enjoying their opener.

Although the score looked lopsided, Martin County actually did a lot of things right in the game. The pitching, for all the runs that were scored, did a decent job. A few costly errors changed what could have been a tight game into a game that got away.

“I have a lot of sophomores on this team, and we new what we were walking in to,” said Tigers Manager Brett Hawkins. “I told the guys after the game that they weren’t going to see a team that strong for the rest of the year. In the end, its one game, and we come back later this week and play another one.”

With all of the offense the Mavericks showed, Daniel Federman reminded fans what their championship teams were built on. Pitching. Federman threw three perfect innings, striking out seven of the nine batters he faced. The win on opening day was sweet for Federman, who missed most of last season with an injury.

“It just felt so great,” said Federman, of being back out on the mound. “When you cant pitch, you miss it, so being back out there and contributing to the team was great.”

Federman will be one of a stable of aces McCarthy can throw out there on any given night.

“Fed did what he does tonight,” said Bielski. “He located his pitches, and came out with an intensity and focus. It was a great performance.”

McCarthy again has one of the toughest schedules in the country. On top of their annual battle with district rival American Heritage, the Mavericks have Westminster Christian, Belen Jesuit, Gulliver Prep, and Trinity Christian, among others on their schedule.

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