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LUNENBURG — Justin Watt may be sporting a different uniform, but he’s still up to his old tricks on the mound.

Watt — a 2016 Groton-Dunstable Regional High School graduate and ace pitcher on the Crusaders’ state championship and undefeated 23-0 ballclub — has been virtually unhittable with the Lunenburg Phillies of the Central New England Baseball Association this summer.

As a rookie in the wooden-bat CNEBA, Watt ranks 15th in the league with a 2.15 ERA.

He has one win and two, tough-luck losses. In 26 innings pitched, Wall has fanned a team-high 35.

“I hope that Justin gets into a college program this coming year and that he continues to grow and improve,” Lunenburg Phillies manager Joe Ruth said. “I think he could be a draftable kid before long and I’d love to see another one of the Phillies get a shot at pro ball. He’s a very coachable and respectful young man. It’s been great having him with us this season, and hopefully he helps us win another league championship in August.”

Watt, along with teammates Kevin O’Connor, Steve Lajoie, Sean Maki and Mike Stamas recently played in the CNEBA/North Shore League annual All-Star Game at Fraser Field in Lynn.

“(Watt) pitched well and certainly didn’t look out of place with some very talented guys,” Ruth said.

Watt’s high school baseball coach at G-D, Matt LeBlanc, says he’s not shocked at all with his success in Lunenburg.

“He loves baseball and is a special talent,” LeBlanc said. “I just hope Justin works his tail off to get all he can out of this game because he can go far with it and provide himself with lifelong memories, friends and opportunities. ”

Ruth said he’s been really impressed with Watt s mentality on the mound at this level of baseball.

“For a young guy right out of high school, he’s actually is a pitcher, not just a big kid who happens to be able to throw the ball hard,” Ruth said. “He actually has a very good idea of what he’s doing, mixing pitches, changing speeds & not all that common for a guy that age. Then when I think about him facing high school kids only a year ago, it must not have been fair.”

The ability to dominate as a rookie really stands out to Ruth.

“I’ve always held the belief that you get better as you get older so the sky’s the limit with Justin,” Ruth said. “He’s struck out about one out of every three batters he’s faced. I’m not sure we’ve ever had anyone like him who was as effective as a first-year player without the benefit of any college experience.”

Watt is another great piece to an already talented pitching staff for the first-place Lunenburg Phillies. Ruth certainly doesn’t have to worry about sending anyone out on the mound in 2017 because he knows they will get the job done. The Phillies are confident with every pitcher on the staff.

“They work fast, throw strikes, and we have quite a few quick innings,” Ruth said. “It’s fun to play behind guys like that. When you think about having Justin, Jeff Swedberg, Matt Morissette, Kevin O’Connor, Matt Russell, Zach Merchant and even Doug Hartshorn on the same staff, this is probably the best, deepest staff we’ve ever had.”

As a high school senior, Watt really made a name for himself with precision-like pitching and a bulldog mentality every time he toed the rubber.

The numbers don’t lie.

He threw a team-high 66 1-3 innings, allowing only 24 hits, seven walks and struck out 109 batters. Watt was 10-0 with one save, including six shutouts.

His ERA was a mind-boggling 0.53. In 13 games, Watt had eight complete games.

“His senior year was something special, LeBlanc said. “He had issued only one walk over his first 53 innings pitched. He threw three no-hitters and one perfect game.”

Watt and teammate Joe Simeone (0.52 ERA, 8-0) — a 2017 G-D grad — formed one of the most feared 1-2 punches on the mound in the state.

“I believe his performance on game days and his easygoing, but hard-working attitude at practices had a tremendous effect on his teammates and coaches,” LeBlanc said. “We knew Justin was locked in. We had complete confidence in him. He probably had the greatest effect on Joe Simeone. Joe is another all-time great to graduate from G-D. But I believe Justin motivated Joe and improved Joe’s performance and helped him become a better all-around pitcher. ”

It was a dream season in 2016, capped off by a 5-4 win over North Reading in the Division 3 state final, for the Crusaders and coach LeBlanc.

Watt will go down as a legend at G-D, says LeBlanc.

“Justin is one of my favorite players I have ever coached,” LeBlanc said. “I love him. He is a very humble and kind person. He is arguably the best pitcher to graduate from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School.

As a junior, Watt was 7-1-1, with his lone loss coming to Auburn in the Central Mass. quarterfinals.

“Justin has tremendous command of his pitches, is able to locate both his fastball and his curve, he controls the pace of the game, fields his position extremely well, and if you are lucky to get on base off him, he is very hard to run off of because he is quick to the plate and has a great pickoff move,” LeBlanc said. “His dominance his junior and senior year was overwhelming. He made it look easy, almost as if he was born to pitch. Justin really started to emerge as a premier pitcher his junior year.”

Watt just keeps getting better with experience, too.

Follow Chad Garner on Twitter @CGARNER23.

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