PEABODY — In a scheduling twist, both the Peabody and St. John’s Prep baseball teams faced Xaverian in their season openers last week.
Since the Tanners won and the Eagles lost, you might have expected Saturday’s annual showdown between North Shore rivals to break Peabody’s way.
That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Perhaps fueled by the setback and the doubters, the Eagles pounded Peabody Saturday afternoon at Bezemes Diamond. St. John’s handed the hosts a humbling 14-1 defeat that told the entire Bay State that the Prep is a bona fide Division 1 championship contender.
“It was good to make a statement,” said St. John’s senior captain Brandon Bingel, who was in complete command in four innings of work and homered for good measure in the fifth.
Bingel, a Bryant University commit from Peabody, dominated the strike zone. He got out ahead of nearly every Peabody hitter, punching out the side in the first and collecting eight total strikeouts. The righty needed just 53 pitches to get through four innings, yielding only a double to Frank Lowry that his leftfielder lost in the sun, and left with a 12-0 lead.
“He looked pretty good,” said Eagles coach Pat Yanchus. “He had all three of his pitches going.”
As the Eagles offense poured on runs, Bingel got them back to the plate in a hurry. He retired the last nine men he faced, went to a three ball count just twice in 13 at-bats and was brutally efficient with his hard breaking ball.
“You don’t want to be hanging around against him with two strikes,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt. “Bingel is excellent and we had to avoid that breaking stuff by squaring up balls early in the count. We didn’t do that.”
Peabody (1-1) did not help itself, committing six errors and issuing a total of seven walks. The Prep (1-1) was happy to take advanatge, scoring runs in each of the first six innings.