ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Tyler MacGregor drove in nine runs on three homers in the win.
By HAROLD RIVERA
SWAMPSCOTT — St. John’s Prep third baseman Tyler MacGregor won’t forget the performance he put together on Tuesday anytime soon.
MacGregor, a junior, launched three home runs, two of which were grand slams, en route to a 15-7 win over Swampscott at Swampscott Middle School. In total, MacGregor drove in nine of the Prep’s 15 runs.
“That’s the first time we’ve seen that type of performance,” Eagles coach Dan LeTarte said. “What I like about it was he was going with the good pitches on the outside part of the plate. I think those were good pieces of hitting, going the other way on two of them.”
Tuesday’s game between the Eagles and the Big Blue should’ve been a showcase between a strong Northeastern Conference team and a Catholic Conference contender. It turned out to be one of the more unconventional games either team has played in.
MacGregor hit a solo home run in the top of the first for the 1-0 Prep lead. Swampscott plated two runs, scored by Spencer Perkins and Ryan Graciale, to take a 2-1 lead after one inning.
Andrew Selima homered in the top of the second to even the game at 2-2.
Through the first two innings, Swampscott managed to keep pace with the Prep. In the top of third, however, things took a turn for the worse for the Big Blue.
The Eagles strung together an eight-run rally to open up a 10-2 lead after two and a half innings. Chris Francoeur hit a 2-run double to make it 4-2, and Alex Lane followed with a 2-run single to put the Eagles ahead 6-2. Three batters later, MacGregor hit his first of two grand slams, and his second home run, to put the Eagles up 10-2.
“It was good to see,” LeTarte said of his team’s power display. “A lot of home runs with guys on base. We haven’t been doing that this year. It was good to see us getting a lot guys involved.”
Swampscott, on the other hand, was buried by a few miscues that could’ve halted the Prep rally way before the Eagles scored eight runs.
“It was a 2-2 game through two innings,” Swampscott coach Jason Calichman said. “We had an error in left, our pitcher forgot to cover a bag and boom, it’s 10-2. You give the Prep a chance and that team will pounce on you.”
Despite digging itself into a tough deficit, Swampscott didn’t back down. The Big Blue took advantage of a pair of errant throws by Prep’s infield in the bottom of the third to slim the deficit to 10-5.
The Eagles added one in the fourth but Graciale rocketed a two-run home run in the bottom half of the frame to make it a game again at 11-7.
“We showed fight,” Calichman said. “It was 10-2, we come back with three runs. Then it was 11-5 and we make it 11-7. The second grand slam hurt us but we competed hard. I think we can play with those guys.”
MacGregor’s second grand slam of the evening made it a 15-7 game in the top of the sixth and put away any Swampscott hopes of rallying for a comeback.
Swampscott went down in order in the sixth and seventh innings and the Eagles walked away with their 11th win of the season.
The Prep (11-5) hosts Newton North on Friday.
“One day at a time,” LeTarte said. “It’s good to go back to practice and work on some things we need to work on.”
Swampscott (9-6) is back in action today at Danvers.