DANVERS — The St. John’s Prep baseball team got off to a slow start offensively, but a three-run fifth inning helped push the Eagles past Catholic Memorial, 5-0, Tuesday afternoon at Pete Frates Field. The Eagles only had four hits entering the fifth inning and held a slim 1-0 lead before adding much-needed insurance runs.
“It was good to see the hits come with the wood bats,” said St. John’s coach Dan Letarte. “To get a couple hard hits there was good because we struggled to put the ball in play in the early innings. But eventually we were able to string a couple of hits together and get some runs across, which was good to see.”
The Eagles were led by Jake Miller, who went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI. while Alex Lane (2-for-3), Will Potdevin (2-for-3) and Zeke O’Connell (1-for-3) each drove in a run. Richie Williams (3-for-4, 2 stolen bases) led the team in hits.
On the mound, Prep once again employed a committee to get through the win. James Lamarca earned the win after getting the start, tossing four innings and allowing just two hits with four strikeouts. Kevin Dewing came in and tossed two no-hit innings with four strikeouts, then Zach Fortuna finished things up with a no-hit seventh inning, only allowing one walk and striking out three.
“We definitely planned on pitching at least three guys (Tuesday), and that was actually our lowest amount of pitchers we’ve used this season,” said Letarte. “James was cruising early so we stuck with him, and that allowed us to only use three pitchers instead of four. All of our guys threw well (Tuesday).”
The use of a committee — but not a large committee — on the mound was a conscious decision by Letarte, as the Eagles have just started a stretch of five games in seven days.
“We’re playing Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so we’ve got a lot of innings ahead of us in just a short time,” Letarte said. “We had Sean (Letarte) and Max (Gieg) in the bullpen today, but we didn’t use them so we can save the innings for (Wednesday).”
It was a slow start to the game, with no score until the bottom of the third. Williams and Jack Cairns opened the inning with singles to put runners on first and third for Miller, who brought home the game’s first run on a sac-fly to centerfield.
The score remained at 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when St. John’s pushed three runs across. The Eagles put two men on with two out for Miller, who once again came through with a RBI — this time a single to left field — to make it 2-0. Next up was O’Connell, who followed suit with a RBI single of his own to make it 3-0. Potdevin kept the streak alive with a RBI single of his own to make it 4-0 before Catholic Memorial escaped the inning.
The Prep added one more insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single from Lane to make it 5-0. From there, Fortuna closed out the top of the seventh and the Eagles earned their fourth win of the season.
It will be a quick turnaround for St. John’s (4-1), who hosts Malden Catholic Wednesday afternoon (4) back at Pete Frates Field.
“This is why we’re in such a good position with our pitching,” Letarte said. “These back-to-backs don’t hurt us as much because we have the arms we need to get through each game. We’ll just keep managing these guys and keep giving them their proper rest.”