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ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Jacob Bolger of St. John’s Prep slides safely into third base as St. Mary’s Jack Ward waits for the throw.
By STEVE KRAUSE
LYNN — Exclusionary games like the one the St. Mary’s baseball team played against St. John’s Prep on Tuesday night at Fraser Field have their purpose.
They may not count against the final rankings for MIAA state tournament-seeding purposes, but they do in the hearts and minds of the players and coaches. And, if you’re a Division 3 team playing against a school destined to go to the Super 8 — and currently ranked second in Eastern Mass. — they can be great indicators as to what you’ll be facing in the next couple of weeks.
“That’s what we told the kids,” said St. Mary’s coach Derek Dana, after the Eagles defeated them, 7-2. “We wanted to see who was ready and who was not. And some kids were and some weren’t.
“But I’ll say this,” said Dana. “As the game went on, I thought our kids were more competitive at the plate.”
St. John’s coach Danny Letarte concurred.
“They hit a lot of shots right at people,” said Letarte. “They competed with us. I thought they played a good game.”
Letarte also complimented St. Mary’s on its defense.
“They’re a real good team,” said Letarte. “I love playing them. (Assistant coach) Timmy Fila and I played together at Salem State. We’ll always play them.”
About the one area Dana expressed concern was on the mound.
“We walked six and hit three batters,” said Dana. “I don’t think we’ve hit three batters all year.”
Both teams used the game as if it was spring training, with St. Mary’s trotting out five pitchers and St. John’s Prep three. Combined, The Prep’s pitchers — Lynn’s Max Gieg, Kevin Dewing and Matt Relihan — gave up two hits. For St. Mary’s, Kordell Henriquez, Tom Cash, Louis Vidal, Colin Reddy and Jared Coppola allowed only six hits, but three of them occurred in a three-run Prep rally in the top of the first inning.
“We weren’t locating early,” said Dana.
Right out of the gate, the Eagles got a triple by Jacob Bolger and a single by Tyler MacGregor to score one run. Later in the inning, Dan Frey singled MacGregor to second and Andrew Selima knocked home the second run on a double. Frey scored on Chris Francoeur’s grounder to shortstop.
In the bottom of the first, Gieg hit Josh Mateo and Mike Luciano with back-to-back pitches. Lee Pacheco sacrificed the runners along and Ryan Turenne scored Mateo with a single.
The Eagles, 14-5, got two more in the second inning to go up 5-1 on a two-run single by MacGregor, knocking home Alex Lane and Bolger.
The Spartans got their second run in the third when Pacheco led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Turenne’s second RBI of the night — a grounder to first base.
From that point on, the Eagles retired 15 straight St. Mary’s batters.
St. John’s scored its final two runs in the fifth inning, one when pinch-hitter Jack Sorenson reached on an error and the other on MacGregor’s third RBI of the night — a sacrifice fly.