SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 11, 2014

Big innings drive St. John's Prep over Central (with photo slideshow)

DANVERS — Playing three games in four days can tax a high school pitching staff. But jamming so many innings into a short time frame also gives hitters enough at-bats to find their comfort zone.

The packed schedule has helped St. John’s Prep’s bats heat up and the Eagles finished their busy week with a 9-3 win over Central Catholic at home yesterday afternoon.

The Prep (3-1) scored 25 runs in three straight wins after being shutout in the season opener six days ago.

“Things are working. We’re seeing the ball and hitting it to right field; that’s what’s getting it done for us,” said senior captain Max Burt, who went 2-for-3, walked and scored three runs.

Junior Nick Latham went the opposite way for a leadoff homer in the first inning and St. John’s grabbed a 6-0 lead after two frames. Central (1-1) rallied to make it 6-3 and brought the tying run to the dish in the sixth before Prep reliever Frank Soucy escaped trouble.

Rich Riley doubled to start the home half of the sixth and Latham bunted him over to third. After Burt walked, Keith Leavitt drove Riley in to extend the Prep’s lead, and Sawyer Billings (2-for-4, 4 RBI) followed with a two-run single to open up another six-run advantage.

“At 6-3 I was getting a little nervous, so we were playing for one run in the sixth. It was a big run, and then Sawyer came up with the hit to really open up the game,” said St. John’s Prep coach Dan Letarte.

Soucy retired the side in order in the seventh. St. John’s senior Justin Snyder earned his first win of the year, striking out six in 42/3 innings. He allowed only one hit (an infield single), but walked eight and hit a couple of batters.

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