Outfielder Nick Latham had two hits for St. John’s, including a fifth inning double that was the Eagles only extra base hit.
McLaughlin’s curveball was dipping throughout the afternoon. His success with the hook set up the rest of his pitches, and the Eagle hitters.
“Andrew doesn’t throw 95 miles per hour, but when he’s throwing breaking and offspeed strikes, it looks like he does,” said Bettencourt. “That’s how he beats very good hitters.”
McLaughlin’s counterpart, St. John’s Prep lefty Justin Snyder, allowed eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was very effective with runners on base, and only truly paid the price for Mike Petrosino’s infield single with two out in the first.
The Tanners followed with consecutive base hits by David Hoar and Ryan Collins for a 1-0 lead. Matt Gonick was hit by a pitch and Sean McGarth drove in a run as Peabody went on top 2-0.
“Jumping ahead early let us exhale on the bench,” said Bettencourt. “With the lead, the nerves dissipated.”
Peabody’s other run came courtesy of Petrosino’s RBI in the third. Second baseman Christian Morales singled and stole second and third before coming home.
“They’re a fast, active team. We knew it would be important not to let their leadoff guy get on-base, and that was the only inning it happened,” said Prep coach Dan Letarte, who was making his baseball head coaching debut.
Evan Roberts got four straight outs for the Prep, coming on with men on second and third with two down in the sixth and getting a strikeout to keep it a 3-0 game. Max Burt made some nice stabs in the hole at short and Latham, Missiti and Andrew Attar accounted for their team’s hits.
“Without the mistake (on Petrosino’s infield single) in the first, it’s a 1-0 game. That’s the one inning you wish you had back,” Letarte said. “All the credit goes right to Andrew McLaughlin. He kept us off balance and didn’t give us many opportunities.”