McDonald’s Raschilla given inaugural honor

McDonald’s Mike Raschilla is built like Dustin Pedroia. He models his game after Dustin Pedroia and even wears his eye black like Dustin Pedroia.

It’s not a surprise the Blue Devils senior is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. Oh, and his favorite player – Dustin Pedroia.

“He’s about as all-around as it comes,” McDonald coach Matt Vukovic said, not of a seasoned major leaguer like Pedroia, but of his shortstop, Raschilla.

“Mike is phenomenal,” fellow McDonald senior Christian Rusinowski said. “You put him in the field, at the plate on the mound – he’ll produce to the best of ability, which is high.”

It’s for his performance as a pitcher that Raschilla is named the Tribune Chronicle’s Player of the Week.

On April 22, he struck out 18 Lowellville batters in his first no-hitter. The Blue Devils blanked the Rockets, 6-0.

“It felt great,” Raschilla said. “My stuff was working well. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to come out and throw. I was prepared for it.

“I couldn’t have done it without some great plays in the field.”

McDonald scored five runs in the first inning of that game.

“It helped having momentum early,” Raschilla said. “It was more or less a team effort than a pitching performance.”

Raschilla is 3-0 on the year and has 40 strikeouts. He’s allowed just seven hits, two runs and walked only one in 19 innings pitched.

Not bad for a guy who has only pitched for two years.

“I like playing the field,” he said. “I really didn’t start pitching until my sophomore year. I kind of just went with it.”

Raschilla’s real talent is at the plate, where his skill has earned him a scholarship to play baseball at John Carroll.

He’s batting .670 with over 20 RBIs, 18 runs scored, nine doubles, two triples and a home run as of Wednesday.

“I’ve been seeing the ball real well this year,” Raschilla said. “I worked hard in the offseason and knew I had to be as ready as possible for my senior year.”

His dad, Tony, is his biggest critic, but one of his biggest fans. Along with his grandparents, Ray Raschilla and Frank Massuri, Raschilla has a cheering section at every game.

“Whether it’s raining or snowing, they’re always here,” he said. “Every single game.”

In eighth grade, Raschilla’s Babe Ruth team went to the World Series in Wisconsin. Since then, his dream has been a berth in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Championship. McDonald has been knocked out in the semifinals of the district tournament in two of the past three seasons.

“We have a little chip on our shoulder come tournament time,” Raschilla said. “We’re playing good baseball – it’s been a good year – but the real goal is to go very far in the tournament.”