DANVERS – A late rally by St. John’s Prep fell short as defending state champion Xaverian spoiled the Eagles’ opener, 6-5. The Hawks, coming off a tough loss to Peabody in their home opener a day earlier, shot out to an early lead and managed to hang onto it.
Prep starter Dustin Hunt gave up three unearned runs in the first inning when the Hawks sent eight men to the plate and capitalized on an infield error to get on the board. Another run came home on a ground out, and Xaverian’s starting pitcher Austin DeCarr helped himself with an RBI single.
“It always seems to be a one run game any time we face Xaverian,” said Prep coach Pat Yanchus. “We answered back in the late innings, but just didn’t get enough hits to win. We gave them a couple of runs early on that booted double play ball which hurt.”
DeCarr held the Eagles to two runs on a pair of hits and struck out five in four strong innings on the mound. Tommy Buonopane led off the bottom of the first by walking, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Brandon Bingel.
The Prep added another run in the second when sophomore Keith Leavitt, who had two of this team’s five hits, singled and later scored on a passed ball. DeCarr retired seven of the last eight batters he faced. He snared a wicked line shot by DH David Bornstein to end the fourth before leaving the game.
“Austin wanted to stay in the game, but he had thrown 66 pitches, and at this early stage in the season I keep a close range on all the guys,” said Hawks coach Gerry Lambert. “I’m not going to risk an injury now and lose him until June. Will Shaughnessy did a good job to give us three outs.