PEABODY — The Bishop Fenwick baseball team had to bring its best effort Saturday afternoon to take down Catholic Central League rival Austin Prep.
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, that wasn’t how things played out.
Austin Prep put runners on base in six of seven innings and collected 12 hits in a 10-4 win over the Crusaders at Fenwick. With the loss, the Crusaders dropped to 7-2. Both of their defeats have been to the Cougars.
“Austin Prep’s a very good team,” Fenwick coach Russ Steeves said. “They have a lot of good players. They pitched very well today. We didn’t pitch very well and we didn’t play good defense. That usually means we don’t win. Now we have to get back at it.”
Fenwick started on the right foot, plating two runs in the bottom of the first. From there, the Cougars took control and never looked back.
Alex Gonzales got the start on the mound and gave the Crusaders 1 1/3 innings. Gonzales allowed a single in the top of the first before bearing down to end the inning unscathed. Fenwick ran into trouble in the top of the second and Tyler Thompson came on in relief. Thompson pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed four earned runs on ninre hits and tallied three strikeouts.
“We didn’t support Tyler,” Steeves said. “I thought Tyler did a pretty good job today. We made a lot of errors. We need to clean up our pitching.”
The Crusaders loaded the bases to start the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Nick Fowler reached on an error, Angelo McCullough singled and Keegan O’Connor drew a walk. Ethan Belt brought Fowler home on a sacrifice fly for the game’s first run. With runners on first and third, O’Connor took off for second and McCullough ran home on an errant throw, giving Fenwick a quick 2-0 edge.
Down 2-0, Austin Prep took the lead for good in the top of the second. The Cougars made the most of a pair of walks and a Fenwick error to score three runs for a 3-2 lead.
The Crusaders didn’t score again until the bottom of seventh on a trio of singles. By then, however, the game was well out of Fenwick’s reach as Austin Prep held a comfortable 10-2 lead. Nik Pignone led the inning with a single. McCullough extended the rally with a single of his own. Belt brought Pignone and McCullough home with a 2-RBI single to cap the scoring.
Belt finished the game 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. McCollough laced a pair of singles and also finished 2-for-4 at the plate, while scoring a pair of runs.
Fenwick visits another CCL rival tonight (7) when the Crusaders battle St. Mary’s at Fraser Field. The Crusaders won the first battle between Fenwick and St. Mary’s with a 4-1 victory earlier this season.
“It’ll be another good game right out of the chute,” Steeves said. “St. Mary’s is a very good team and I have a lot of respect for them. I’m a Lynn kid so I respect the city of Lynn and the Lynn players. I played with (St. Mary’s) coach (Derek) Dana. It’ll be a great game. I expect it’ll be a tight one.”