HADDONFIELD (N.J.) - It had been a long 12 years since Paul VI last played in the annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic. The Eagles last appearance came in 2011 when they received an at-large bid into the prestigious tournament.
Paul VI ended the drought with a 10-0 win over Ocean City in five innings in the play-in round of the Diamond Classic on Wednesday.
Tulane commit Mike Lucarelli went 2-for-4 at the plate with a three-run home run, a double and an RBI fielder's choice to activate the mercy rule.
Paul VI's Mike Lucarelli smacked a home run, a double and drove in four runs to propel Paul VI past Ocean City, 10-0, in the play-in round of the 49th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic at Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey on Wednesday May 3, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
The Eagles stormed out to a 6-0 lead after the first inning. Lucarelli homered and Dom Aversa followed up with a longball of his own in the following at-bat. Jack Petrillo and Joe Bruno each drove in a run during an explosive first inning.
Immaculata commit Nick Matteo dominated on the mound as he pitched to contact for the first 4.1 innings for the Eagles. Matteo allowed only four hits, two walks and fanned two while holding Ocean City scoreless.
Matt Morad, Mason Myers, and Ryan Fayette each batted in a run as Paul VI pulled away from the Red Raiders.
Pitching has been a strength for Paul VI so far in the 2023 season.
"We like to keep our pitchers on a strict pitching regimen," Paul VI coach DM Phillips said. "So far it's been working. I think if you just look at what we've done so far you can see that we're reaping the benefits of the hard work the kids have put in."
The Eagles have emphasized the team aspect of the game. Chemistry is flowing throughout all levels of the program, and it's being brought to life on the field.
"Coach DM has made sure that we focus on being a team since he's gotten here," Lucarelli said. "I think we are playing a lot better team ball and we're improving with every step along the way.
"I could go out and say that I had a big day at the plate today. It wouldn't be telling of the win today with how good (Nick) Matteo pitched, how well the lineup hit, and how well the defense was behind our pitcher. It was a team win from top to bottom."
The 15th-seeded Eagles will travel to face No. 2 seed Gloucester Catholic in the first round of the 49th annual Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic later this week.