DANVERS — Everything was working for the St. John’s Prep baseball team Thursday afternoon, as the Eagles rolled to a 14-0 win over Peabody in a non-conference battle between two strong Division 1 teams. The Prep, donning its red jerseys in honor of St. John’s alum Pete Frates, collected 15 hits in the slugfest.
“We came out hitting today, and we’ve really been hitting well overall lately,” said St. John’s coach Dan Letarte. “We had a few guys with three hits and a bunch of different RBI contributors, so we did a really nice job at the plate today.”
Leading the charge for the Eagles was Jacob Bolger, who went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI. Alex Lane (3-for-3) and Mike Yarin (3-for-4) contributed two RBI each, while Tyler MacGregor (1-for-4), Andrew Dembowski (0-for-3) and Max Freedman (0-for-3) had one RBI each.
Things also went well on the mound, as Kevin Dewing picked up the win after pitching three scoreless innings and allowing just two hits with one strikeout. Gavin Dauer, Eddie Hardiman, Sean Letarte and Chris Rassias combined to pitch the final four innings, combining to allow only one hit.
“Our last two games we had trouble pitching, so this was good to see,” Letarte said. “And if we can get the combination of the pitching and the hitting that we got today, we’re going to be in good shape going forward.”
Peabody was only able to scratch across three hits in the game, one each from Jake Gustin, Michael Martinez and Cole Cuzzi. Despite the struggles at the plate, the Tanners were able to get runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings.
“Early in the game, we hit balls hard right at guys, and they hit balls hard where we weren’t and it gave them a huge advantage,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt. “When we play a team of that caliber, we can’t have things go against us like that.”
The Eagles got things started right away in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Josh Cerretani opened the inning with a single and stole second before getting knocked home on an RBI single from Lane. Singles from Yarin and Bolger loaded the bases for Dembowski, who hit an RBI sacrifice fly to give St. John’s a 2-0 lead after one inning.
The Prep went on to tack on five more runs in the second inning, thanks in part to an RBI single from Yarin and the first of Bolger’s two two-run home runs.
The third inning saw three more runs come across for St. John’s. Cerretani led off with a single once again, then back-to-back RBI triples from MacGregor and Lane and an RBI double from Yarin pushed the score to 10-0 Eagles after three innings.
After scoring two more runs in the bottom of the fourth (one on a passed ball and one on an RBI groundout by Freedman), the Eagles capped off the scoring in the bottom of the fifth when Bolger hit his second two-run home run of the game.
The loss was certainly a wake-up call for Peabody (9-4), a team that has been playing well of late and is on the cusp of a state tournament berth.
“It’s a wake-up call for sure, it was a good look at a very good team,” Bettencourt said. “We came in here at 9-3 thinking we were pretty good, and then this happens and you see what kind of teams are actually out here. And to get this under our belt now is perfect timing with Beverly, Gloucester and Malden Catholic coming up next week. We have this under our belt and learn from it. This is why you schedule teams like this during the season.”
As for St. John’s (9-4), Letarte hopes that his Eagles can keep this momentum rolling as they also near a state tournament bid.
“I’ve always said that hitting is contagious, and I love the way we’re approaching things at the plate right now,” said Letarte. “I think if we can continue doing that, it will really bode well for us down the road.”
Peabody will take on Beverly Monday evening (6:30). St. John’s will host Hamilton-Wenham Saturday afternoon (4).