McClancy ace lifts Crusaders to shutout victory

McClancy ace lifts Crusaders to shutout victory
McClancy ace Charlie Neuweiler tossed a complete-game shutout, lifting the Crusaders to a 2-0 victory over Xaverian in the CHSAA playoffs.
Community News Group / Laura Amato
By Laura Amato

Charlie Neuweiler is confident. And he’s having some fun.

The Monsignor McClancy senior ace was nothing short of dominant in an elimination game against Xaverian, lifting the Crusaders to a 2-0 victory in a complete-game effort Monday afternoon.

“I want to go out there and mow them down,” Neuweiler said. “Get every guy out with the least amount of pitches as possible. I got a couple of one-pitch outs and that was great. I just wanted to go out there and do my thing.”

It was the third time Neuweiler — who will head to LIU Brooklyn next year, and has drawn a fair share of MLB interest as well — shut out Xaverian this year and this time, his performance kept the Crusaders’ season alive.

He struck out seven, walked three and gave up just two hits.

“Incredible isn’t a big enough word,” McClancy coach Nick Melito said. “Throwing on short rest, only four days instead of five, he wasn’t overpowering today. But that seventh inning — he hits the guy and then boom, boom, boom and we win. This kid is the best pitcher in the city. I challenge anyone to tell me differently.”

Neuweiler got a bit of help from his offense early as Eric Luebcke drove in Javone Lluvera with an RBI single to right field. The run was more than enough for Neuweiler’s confidence to grow, as he kept McClancy in control.

“We know we’re not going to score a lot of runs, but with our guy, they’re not going to score a lot of runs either,” Melito said.

Xaverian did have a few chances early, but McClancy’s defense stepped up, recording a pair of double plays in the first and third innings to keep the Clippers off the board.

“Defense was good,” Melito said. “[Neuweiler] actually made a good defensive play and he’s usually shaky on that. Last time at Prep, he threw the ball into center field. He’s the best pitcher in the city. I think he’s the best pitcher in the state.”

The Clippers didn’t connect on a single hit in the final four innings and Neuweiler shut the door late, striking out the side in the top of the seventh.

“Everything [was working],” he said. “I was spotting up, fastball, four-seam, two-seam. My off-speed was working. I felt comfortable today.”

McClancy padded its lead in the bottom of the sixth as MLB prospect Quentin Holmes connected on an RBI single that just split first and second base. The speedy outfielder ran out the throw and the Crusaders were able to wrap up the victory on the strength of Neuweiler’s arm.

“I love it,” he said. “I hate being taken out and I love being able to finish a game with three strikeouts like that. It’s my favorite thing to do.”

There’s still more baseball to be played, but the Crusaders are just as confident as their ace and ready for whatever comes next.

“It’s tough, but it’s better than the alternative of not playing,” Melito said. “So we’ll give it a shot to play and we’ll give it our best.”

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