WOONSOCKET — For Lincoln High junior Mason Palmieri, it doesn’t get much better these days.
On Monday, Palmieri verbally committed to join the Bryant University ‘9’ beginning in the fall of 2015. On Wednesday, the pitcher with the towering mound presence tossed a complete-game five-hitter in Lincoln’s 4-2 victory over Woonsocket at Renaud Field.
Even though he was recruited by the Bulldogs as a pitcher, Palmieri is just as formidable with the bat. He clubbed a two-run single in the first inning as part of a four-run uprising for the Lions, who sent 10 the plate and banged out five hits in the frame.
On an unseasonably cold and gusty day, Palmieri’s job was simplified thanks to the cushion he was presented. Woonsocket chipped away with single runs in the second and fifth innings, but other than junior Josh Mosseau (two hits), sophomore Kyle Beaulieu (two hits) and senior Victor Hunt (three walks), the Novans had a hard time solving the newest addition to the Bulldogs’ baseball family.
Palmieri finished with seven strikeouts. Standing at 6-foot-4, he succeeded in stranding baserunners in each of the last three innings.
“We got some nice defensive plays from (catcher) Jake Petrin,” was the tip of the cap Palmieri offered regarding his batterymate. “Those four runs really allowed me to command my fastball and get outs when I needed them.”
As for joining Bryant, Palmieri admits that everything came together rather quickly. He first appeared on the radar of the Smithfield-based college in January at a showcase event at Northeastern University. He sent the Bulldogs an e-mail last Tuesday and on Thursday, a member of Bryant’s coaching staff attended Lincoln’s game at La Salle Academy.
The courtship continued over the weekend with Palmieri paying a visit to Bryant. After touring the campus with his parents, he took in Sunday’s game against Central Connecticut.
“I loved everything about Bryant. From the moment I stepped on the campus, I realized it was a great place,” Palmieri expressed. “I fell in love with head coach (Steve) Owens the first time I talked to him. He’s a great guy and I can’t say anything bad about him.”
Palmieri was also hearing from URI and Northeastern along with Division III schools Tufts University, Brandeis and WPI. In the end, Bryant presented him with an offer that was going to put the breaks on his recruiting.
“I got a great offer that I couldn’t turn down, so I made the choice,” said Palmieri, who can sign his letter of intent this coming November. “It’s relieving. I don’t have to worry this summer or next fall. I’m already set.”
Stated Lincoln head coach Andy Hallam, “He’s so mentally tough, which is rare for a player his age. Obviously he’s physically gifted, but I’m impressed with his mental toughness. He gave me the dirtiest look when I asked him if he wanted to go out for the seventh. I just laughed.”
Had the weather been little more forgiving, it’s quite possible that Palmieri would have been even tougher on Woonsocket.
“I think he can be better than what he showed today. He’s got good velocity and a nice little slide step,” noted Villa Novans mentor Ed Hunt. “He’s got the tools where he can throw very hard and throw the off-speed stuff down low.”
Lincoln received a boost from sophomore Trevor Marques, who had three hits and one RBI. Woonsocket starting pitcher Miguel Raymond rebounded from a shaky first inning to provide 6.1 innings while striking out two.
Now winners of two straight, Lincoln sits at 2-3 in Division I-North. Woonsocket falls to 2-3 in league play.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03