DANVERS– The combination of pitchers attacking the strike zone and batters producing with timely hits is one that results in a win more often than not. Tuesday afternoon at Pete Frates Diamond, the St. John’s Prep baseball team used that mix to blank visiting St. John’s of Shrewsbury 5-0 in a non-conference tilt.
Matt Remley got the start on the mound and tossed the first three innings. Remley allowed two hits and struck out one. Zach Fortuna, Ryan Bradley and Sean Letarte followed in relief. Fortuna worked his way around a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth, Bradley forced the Pioneers to strand runners on the corners in the sixth and Letarte made quick work of Shrewsbury in the seventh.
“It feels like everyone’s fresh and ready to go,” Eagles coach Dan Letarte said. “We threw four guys (Tuesday). Only two guys threw on Monday (against BC High). We played Billerica Sunday and four guys threw that day. We’ve had 10 of the 11 guys pitch in three games in a row. That’s three games in a row, three wins in a row so we’ll take it.
“Remley did a good job,” Letarte said. “The first three guys were juniors. They did very well. Bradley got out of a little jam. It was good to see the juniors, it’s their first year throwing with us. They’ve been very effective all year. When we bunch up three games in three days it’s good to have this type of pitching for the kids. They all get work.”
Offensively, it was the top of the order that did the heavy lifting for the Eagles. Leadoff hitter Richie Williams went 2-for-3 with a RBI and scored twice. Will Potdevin, in the No. 2 slot, went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.
“Williams and Potdevin have been hitting well and getting on base a lot,” Letarte said. “They’re playing good defense. It was just good to see those bats come against a very good pitcher, (Pioneers starter) Carson Hauben. He struck out the side in the first. That third inning was a big inning for us. Our pitchers held that lead. That’s our fifth shutout of the season.”
The Eagles went down in order in the bottom of the first and second innings. They turned things around in the bottom of the third, with their second look at Shrewsbury’s Hauben. Max Freedman led the inning with a walk and took second on Jack Cairns’ sac-bunt. After Rodney Nyborg walked, Williams sliced a RBI single to plate Freedman with the Eagles’ first run. Potdevin followed with a 2-RBI single, scoring Nyborg and Williams, to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
That’s how it stayed until the bottom of the fifth, when the top of the order, again, produced with crucial hits. Williams roped a one-out single, took second on an outfield error and advanced to third on a passed ball. Potdevin brought Williams home with a RBI single, making it a 4-0 Prep lead. Jake Miller (1-for-3, RBI) capped the scoring with a RBI single, scoring Potdevin for the game’s final run.
Shrewsbury threatened with runners on first and third in the top of the sixth but Bradley ended the inning with a strikeout, keeping the Pioneers scoreless. Letarte sealed the deal with a 1-2-3 seventh.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 8-1 on the season (4-0 in Catholic Conference play).
“We feel really good,” Letarte said. “That extra-inning loss to Chelmsford’s still a little bothersome but it’s extra innings. We had opportunities to score so it’s not like we didn’t compete. The last two days we’ve played our best baseball, against BC High and St. John’s Shrewsbury. We’ve played great defense, into the game, timely hitting when we needed it. We’re playing good baseball right now. It’s a good feeling.”
The Eagles host Hamilton-Wenham Sunday (noon).