St. John's Prep's Andrew Dembowski tallied one RBI in the win. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

St. John’s baseball sneaks past Swampscott

DANVERS -- It only made sense that the senior-laden St. John's Prep baseball team would come out with a win on senior day. And it only made sense that a senior captain would be the one to give them that win.

That's exactly what happened at Brother Linus Field Thursday afternoon when Tyler MacGregor laced a walk-off, two-run single into left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Eagles a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Swampscott.

"We were way too aggressive early on today, so in that seventh inning we told our guys to be patient and take pitches, and it worked out well," said Prep coach Dan Letarte. "It was good to see Tyler come up with that big hit to the opposite field, because if he hits it right at the shortstop the game is over. So we got a little lucky in this one, but it was a good win."

MacGregor went 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead the way for the Eagles, who only mustered five hits in the game. Andrew Dembowski and Sean Lang, both seniors, each had an RBI in the win, while seniors Josh Cerretani and Jacob Bolger along with junior Alex Lane each had a hit. Senior Matt Relihan earned the win in relief after pitching a flawless top of the seventh.

For Swampscott, Maxx Cooper had a great game at the plate and in the field, going 1-for-3 with two RBI and making a couple of big catches in left field.

"It was a great game out there for Maxx," said Swampscott coach Jason Calichman. "We've been looking for someone to come up with that big two-out hit with men on all year, so it was good to see him do that. Unfortunately, after that our bats went pretty quiet as a team."

Zach Elwell went 1-for-2 with an RBI, while Ryan Graciale (1-for-3), Brett Benoit (1-for-2) and David Quill (1-for-3) each had a hit in the loss. Tyler Marshall took the loss on the mound, but he put forth a solid effort for the Big Blue. Marshall pitched six innings of shutout ball before things fell apart in the seventh.

"He did a great job today, he pitched with a lot of guts and threw strikes all day until the seventh," said Calichman. "This was his longest outing of the year, so maybe I should've taken him out a little earlier, but he had a really low pitch count and was rolling, so we stuck with him."

Swampscott jumped out to an early lead in this one and held it through the entire game. After getting sent down in order in the top of the first, the Big Blue came out hitting in the second. Elwell was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Quill followed with a single to put two men on. Benoit moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt before Tristan Reenstierna was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a pop-out, Cooper stepped in and lined a two-run single into left field to put Swampscott up 2-0. The Big Blue loaded the bases up again after that, but they couldn't push any more runs across.

The score remained there until the top of the fifth. Spencer Perkins reached on an error, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt to put the pressure on. After Graciale walked and stole second to put runners on second and third, Elwell stepped in and hit an RBI single into left-centerfield to make it 3-0.

Marshall cruised through the next two innings for Swampscott, putting the Prep batters down in order in the fifth and only facing four batters in the sixth. But, then came the seventh.

It started with a walk to Mike Yarin, then Marshall forced Bolger to fly out. But, he then walked the next two batters to load the bases before hitting Dembowski to bring in a run, making it 3-1 and ending his afternoon. Colin Frary came in to try and finish the game off, but he walked the first batter he faced, Lang, to make it 3-2 before forcing Cerretani to fly out. Next up was MacGregor, who came up with the walk-off two-run single to win it for the Eagles.

The loss puts a little bit more pressure on Swampscott (9-9), who needs either two wins in its final three games or a win over Georgetown to make it into the state tournament. Swampscott takes on Marblehead both Saturday and Wednesday before closing the season against Georgetown next Friday.

As for the Prep (14-4), Letarte hopes the Eagles can continue this momentum through the final few games of the regular season.

"We've had a couple close wins in a row now, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going," said Letarte. "We haven't exactly played our best ball over the past few games, but still coming out with wins when you don't play your best is huge, so hopefully we can continue that."

St. John's Prep will host Hamilton-Wenham Tuesday afternoon.

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